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Everton beats struggling Chelsea 2-0 to move 4 points clear of Premier League's relegation zone

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Everton moved four points clear of the Premier League's relegation zone by beating Chelsea 2-0 on Sunday for a third straight win.

The latest victory may not have had the flourish of Thursday's 3-0 triumph over Newcastle at Goodison Park when the hosts scored all of their goals in the last 11 minutes, but the manner of victory would have been no less pleasing to Everton manager Sean Dyche.

Having kept Chelsea at bay relatively comfortably, Everton struck through Abdoulaye Doucoure in the 54th minute and substitute Lewis Dobbin drilled home his first Premier League goal in stoppage time as Dyche's team continued its recovery from a 10-point deduction for financial mismanagement.

Chelsea had 71% possession but familiar failings up front cost the visitors, who have now won just twice in eight league games.

One downside to the afternoon for Everton was fifth bookings of the season for defender Jarrad Branthwaite and midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who will be suspended for the trip to second-to-last Burnley next weekend.

Since being plunged into the bottom three following the punishment by an independent commission, Everton has taken nine points from a possible 12. Its extended run is 13 points from six game with just one defeat. Without the sanction, Everton would be in 10th place — above Chelsea.

The first half was significant only for injuries to both teams’ starting right backs — Reece James and Ashley Young — as well as a booking for Chelsea playmaker Cole Palmer for diving and Jordan Pickford saving the only shot on target, which was Palmer’s 20-yard curler.

Everton started the second half well and after winger Dwight McNeil had a low shot tipped around the post by Robert Sanchez, he threaded a pass through to Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Although the England international’s shot was charged down by Sanchez, who clattered into the striker in the process and later left the field with an injury, the loose ball rolled to Doucoure and he drilled home his fifth goal of the season.

Chelsea sent on Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson to boost its attacking options but Pickford continued to be under-employed.

That was in part due to the increasing resilience of the defense in front of him, with bodies being thrown in all directions to keep out the threat.

Dobbin, a 20-year-old forward who came on in the 86th, wrapped up victory in the second minute of stoppage time with a low shot in a crowded area.

Pressure is mounting on Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino with the Blues down to 12th place. Chelsea hosts Sheffield United next.

Frustration boiled over after the final whistle when Jackson and Everton's Nathan Patterson got involved in an argument that ended in a melee involving many other players.

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The Associated Press