Everton take on the struggling champions Chelsea this Saturday at Goodison Park. Everton – just one point ahead of Chelsea – cannot really be termed as the “better” team this season.
The Toffees started this season with a 2-2 draw against a newly-promoted Watford team, and then pulled off a 3-0 walkover of Southampton in their second game. After that, they encountered top team Manchester City and lost 0-2 at home. Everton’s last game was a goalless draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have had a rather dismal season so far. After an unsatisfying 2-2 start to the season against Swansea City, the Blues were thrashed by Manchester City, 0-3, in their next game. They got a break during week three with a 3-2 win over West Brom, but still Mourinho was furious about his team’s lack of defence. In their last game against Crystal Palace, Chelsea lost again, 1-2, to fall eight points behind City in the overall standings.
Newbie Funes Mori is expected to make his debut in the big game against Chelsea. Tom Cleverley is slated to be out for “6-8 weeks” due to an ankle injury sustained on a tackle by Eric Dier. The rest of the injuries remain more or less the same; Leighton Baines is said to be out for 12 weeks or more, and that can only spell trouble for everybody who has him in their fantasy teams.
Oscar’s muscle injury is expected to subside and he will probably play on Saturday. Courtois’ knee injury looks pretty bad, and no return date has been made yet. Mourinho is expected to go into play retaining the same starting XI, and not make too many changes in this one.
- Everton enjoy the upper hand over Chelsea at home as they have lost only twice in their last seven league matches against the Blues. Although, the two defeats came in the last three clashes at Goodison Park.
- The Toffees have triumphed in just one of their last six Premier League games against Chelsea, losing each of the other five.
- Last season’s meeting between two teams at Goodison Park resulted in a 6-3 victory for the Blues – only six other games in the Premier League history have produced more goals.
- Chelsea have won just twice in their last seven league games, drawing two and losing three.
League Head to Head
2014/2015 11th Feb: Everton 0 – 1 Chelsea
2014/2015 30th Aug: Chelsea 6 – 3 Everton
2013/2014 22nd Feb: Everton 0 – 1 Chelsea
2013/2014 14th Sep: Chelsea 0 – 1 Everton
2012/2013 19th May: Everton 1 – 2 Chelsea
2012/2013 30th Dec: Everton 2 – 1 Chelsea
Everton: John Stones
This is his first Premier League game since the transfer window shut, against the club who were so desperate to sign him. It is a huge game for both Everton and Chelsea, who have had an easily forgettable season, and the subplot surrounding Stones has added to the intensity, but Martinez has no concerns about how he will handle the situation. Stones is known for his composure, and Mourinho’s men will be looking to get a few early goals in, and that is where Stones will hold the key: whether he’ll succumb to the pressure put-on by a team that was eager to sign him, or whether he’ll take the challenge and defend his team as required.
Chelsea: Eden Hazard
Hazard is known for his killer moves as he can change the entire game. He can dribble at pace and is also extremely fleet-footed that helps him to breeze past the opposition. Although Tim Howard is a strong goalkeeper, Hazard’s magic might just end up winning the game for Chelsea, and Martinez’s men need to ensure they put up a strong defence.
My prediction is a tight 2-1 victory for Chelsea over Everton. Chelsea need to win desperately and will be going into this game with all they have, and Mourinho would obviously be unhappy with anything lesser than a victory.