Everton 3 Chelsea 6
Diego Costa took his tally to four goals in three matches as Chelsea won an astonishing game.
Costa netted from a cute Cesc Fabregas pass and Branislav Ivanovic’s strike doubled the lead only for Everton to reply just before the break when Kevin Mirallas headed home.
A Seamus Coleman own goal put Chelsea two ahead again and Nemanja Matic’s fine low shot made it 4-2 after Steven Naismith netted.
Former Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o came off the bench to head in the home side’s third and make it 4-3.
But a stunning Ramires strike and Costa’s composed finish – the sixth goal in 23 crazy minutes – ensured Jose Mourinho’s side won a third consecutive Premier League match to go top of the table.
Despite the victory, Mourinho looked furious with his team’s defending and inability to kill off the game as they failed to build on their early goal blitz.
Everton looked sharper in the tackle and brighter in possession before the break.
But the breathtaking beginning was befitting of the memory of Richard Attenborough, with the away side wearing black armbands to honour the club’s life president who died last Sunday.
And ultimately it proved the difference between the sides.
Costa showed no signs of the hamstring strain that had threatened to rule him out as he ran on to a Fabregas pass and hit the ball through the legs of keeper Tim Howard after 35 seconds.
The goal came at the end of a wonderful team move that began from kick-off and that quality surfaced again just over two minutes later to make it 2-0.
Some slick build-up play ended with Costa finding Ramires, and the Brazilian’s pass was fired low into the net by Ivanovic for his second goal of the campaign.
The Serbian looked fractionally offside and the hosts complained, but they were lucky to avoid going down to 10 men when Howard handled the ball outside his area soon after.
Everton made the most of the reprieve and as they settled they rattled Chelsea and began to dominate possession and create chances.
Former Blues striker Romelu Lukaku hit the bar with a towering header and Sylvain Distin’s follow-up effort was correctly ruled out for offside.
But just as the visitors looked like holding on to the lead at the break, the persistent home pressure was rewarded when Mirallas headed in a fine Seamus Coleman cross.
Everton continued to press high up the pitch and commit men forward in the second period, but their back four’s inability to defend as a unit left gaps behind their defence.
Costa was denied a second when Howard diverted his low placed effort away for a corner.
But Howard was helpless to prevent the third goal when Hazard beat James McCarthy on the left and his cross was unluckily deflected in by Coleman.
Once again Everton battled back, and a sweet Aiden McGeady pass enabled Naismith to finish with the outside of his foot to make it 3-2.
Matic’s strike from just outside the area finally seemed to have killed off the home side but Eto’o came on for his debut and netted with a superb header from a Leighton Baines free-kick.
But Chelsea’s attacking power was relentless and the busy Ramires did end realistic hopes of a home comeback with a classy finish after a one-two with Matic.
And substitute John Mikel Obi teed up Costa with a clever backheel, allowing the Spaniard to run through to fire in Chelsea’s sixth to the sound of the away fans sarcastically chanting “Boring, boring Chelsea”.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas (Drogba 89), Matic; Ramires, Willian (Mikel 75), Hazard (Luis 83); Costa.
Subs not used: Cech, Luis, Zouma, Schurrle, Salah.