The first half consisted primarily of Chelsea possession and fouls. Five of a total eight yellow cards were handed out in the first 45 minutes, two of which came Cesar Azpilicueta and Seamus Coleman’s way after the captains tussled over a foul committed by Mason Mount, which also earned a booking.
It was Azpilicueta who, moments after the restart, surrendered possession by his own penalty area for the opening goal.
Demarai Gray slipped in Richarlison to bury the opener and send Goodison Park into raptures, matching the big-game atmosphere present all weekend on Merseyside as fireworks set off outside the Chelsea hotel overnight were followed by flares welcoming the home team bus into the stadium.
Vitalii Mykolenko squandered a great chance for 2-0 immediately afterwards, firing over from close range, before Jordan Pickford came to Everton’s rescue.
Mason Mount hit the post with a half-volley from outside the box, which rolled agonisingly along the goalline.
Azpilicueta arrived on the scene to have a rebound stunningly denied by the keeper, who got up to save Antonio Rudiger’s point-blank effort from the subsequent corner with his face.
With seven minutes of added time, Pickford again produced heroics to deny Mateo Kovacic after the midfielder wriggled free deep in the Everton box.
The win leaves the Toffees just two points off safety with a game in hand on Burnley and Leeds.