Everton sent Chelsea crashing to their third Premier League defeat of the season yesterday, striker Steven Naismith scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 win after coming on as a first-half substitute at Goodison Park.
The result left the champions with four points from their opening five matches after their worse start to a season since 1988.
Everton moved up to third on the table before the later matches.
Naismith replaced the injured Mo Besic and headed Everton in front in the 17th minute to complete a 19-pass move that cut Chelsea to ribbons.
The Scotland forward doubled Everton’s lead five minutes later before Nemanja Matic brought Chelsea back into the game with a superb strike.
However, Chelsea failed to build on that goal and Naismith wrapped up the points for the home side with another well-worked goal after 83 minutes, shooting wide of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who replaced the injured Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois tore the meniscus of his right knee in training and is likely to be out until December following the operation, which is reported to have taken place in Spain.
“Thibaut Courtois underwent surgery yesterday [Thursday] on an avulsion of the posterior corner and medial part of the internal meniscus of his right knee,” a Chelsea statement read. “The successful surgery consisted of a reattachment of the meniscus by suturing.”
Courtois was in good spirits despite the injury and vowed to return to action as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone for the support and the good wishes! I will work hard to recover as soon as I can!” Courtois tweeted, alongside a picture of himself smiling in a hospital bed.
Separately, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who came within minutes of joining Real Madrid last week, signed a new four-year contract with the English Premier League club on Friday.
The announcement caps a remarkable turn of events after the Spain international was on the verge of signing for the Spanish giants only for the transfer to collapse because of paperwork arriving past the permitted deadline.
“David de Gea has signed a new four-year contract at #mufc with an option to extend for a further year,” United announced on Twitter.
“I am delighted to be starting this new chapter in my United career,” De Gea said. “I have always enjoyed playing with these great players in front of our fantastic fans. Manchester United is a special club and Old Trafford is an ideal place for me to continue to develop my career.”
“I’m looking forward to putting a difficult summer behind me and concentrating on working hard to improve and help my teammates to be successful,” he said.
The news of an extension was understandably well-received by United manager Louis van Gaal, who said: “I am absolutely delighted David has signed a new contract.”
“He is one of the best goalkeepers in world football. I am very pleased that he will be part of the team for many years to come,” he said. “David made a very important contribution to our performance last season and he has been the club’s Player of the Year for the last two seasons.”
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