The misery for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea continues. In a match they absolutely had to win, Chelsea put in another shoddy defensive performance, with Steven Naismith tearing the champion apart as Everton ran away 3-1 winners in the English Premier League.
Naismith wasn't even in the starting lineup for Everton, but an early injury to Muhamed Besic brought the Scotland international in and boy did he make full use of that good fortune, netting the perfect hat-trick in some style.
Three splendid goals, two in the first half and one late on, left Chelsea, who got a consolation goal via Nemanja Matic, with three losses already this season and a mere four points from five matches.
The first Everton goal, in the 17th minute, was a thing of beauty, and that forced substitution proved to be a blessing in disguise. Naismith pulled off a wonderful turn to wriggle away from Chelsea attention in that space between midfield and defence, before placing the ball out to left-back Brendan Galloway, who returned the favour, picking out Naismith, who had continued his run into the box to perfection, with the Everton forward thumping a header in from six yards.
It was that space in between the lines again that caused problems for Chelsea for the second goal on 22 minutes, with Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel not able to provide cover, while the back-four was too deep.
Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone played a wonderful one-two to get out of a tight spot down the Everton right, and then Lukaku squared the ball to Ross Barkley, who had enough space to take a shot. Barkley, though, shifted the ball to Naismith, and with an invitation to shoot, he did not hesitate, drilling a left-footed drive low and sweet past the left of Begovic, who had absolutely no chance.
Everton continued to play brightly, with Lukaku, desperate for a goal against his former team, coming close, and you felt Chelsea needed something special to come back into this game.
So, step up Eden Hazard then? Nope. So Cesc Fabregas? No again. So Diego Costa surely?
Negative again. That moment of inspiration was provided by their defensive midfielder Matic, who, again given an opportunity to shoot, bulleted one past Tim Howard into the top corner from nearly 30 yards nine minutes before halftime.
Chelsea started to grow in confidence after that Matic screamer, with Hazard and then John Terry, back in the lineup, threatening the Everton goal, and it was the home side, in the end, relieved to go into halftime with their lead intact.
Everton's defence under Roberto Martinez has always been a bit suspect, and you knew it would be tested in the second half by Chelsea, even if John Stones, who put in a transfer request for a move to Stamford Bridge during the summer transfer window, had a pretty good outing.
Jose Mourinho made a pretty positive change ten minutes into the second 45 as well, bringing on the pacy Kenedy for that extra screener who had been drafted in – Mikel.
However, the more Chelsea poured forward, the more opportunities Everton had on the counter with Begovic forced into a few more solid saves.
The game started to get a little stretched as time wore on, and Diego costa had a glorious chance to level the match, off a Chelsea counter, but a brilliant tackle from Phil Jagielka put paid to those hopes.
Chelsea kept probing in the final 20 minutes, with Radamel Falcao and Willian thrown in by Mourinho for Pedro Rodriguez and Fabregas respectively, but it was Everton and that man Naismith again who ended the match.
A brilliant through ball from Barkley found Naismith in space in the left channel, and despite a not-so-great first touch, the Everton forward had the confidence to drive the ball through Begovic's legs from an acute angle.