Everton welcome Chelsea to Goodison Park in what will be a crucial game for both teams. The home side slipped into the relegation zone during the week, which resulted in the sacking of Marco Silva. There were big hopes for the highly-rated Portuguese manager within the club, but it was impossible to ignore the consistent failings of the players on the pitch. They were blown away by a weakened Liverpool team on Wednesday and it seemed a matter of time that a change would be made. For the visitors, they need to show consistency over the Christmas period to secure their position in the top-four.
It would be a disaster if Everton were to get relegated. They should have too much to go down, but their current position is a reflection of their problems this season. They have struggled to find the right blend of players and they have been fallible at the back. The managerial change will be designed to improve the performances on the pitch, with rumours linking David Moyes with a return. It may be a safe appointment in the interim period, but it won’t be one that excites supporters.
Frank Lampard will be pleased that his team managed to bounce back from a disappointing result against West Ham United with a win against Aston Villa. It is crucial for teams in the top four to show that level of consistency to prevent falling off the pace and the Blues shown an impressive mental strength in the week. They are far better away from home and they will be confident of piling more misery on Everton. Chelsea have won five out of seven away from home, scoring 19 goals in the process. This underlines the threat that they will pose on Saturday.
Everton find themselves in the relegation zone after playing at least 15 matches for the first time since 1999.
Tammy Abraham has been involved in 14 (11 goals and 3 assists) goals this Premier League season. Only Jamie Vardy has had a hand in more.
The Brazilian is the key player in this Everton side and the club will be hoping they can build around him, following his decision to sign a new contract. Some will worry about his mental state after the sacking of Marco Silva. The pair had developed a good working relationship at two different clubs since both moved to England. At Watford, Richarlison’s form dropped off a cliff once Silva lost his job. Toffees’ supporters will be hoping that a similar decline can be avoided, as he seems to be their most dangerous player at this time. He took his goal in an impressive manner against Liverpool, despite the disappointing scoreline at the time. His movement and quality final product can make him a very difficult player to defend against. Chelsea have been unreliable at the back and there will be opportunities for the 22-year-old in the final third. Despite the team’s struggles, Richarlison has contributed five goals and two assists. This is very impressive considering the difficult atmosphere around the club.
The England international has had ups and downs during the season so far. However, there is no doubting that he is one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League. He is one of the players to benefit most from the transfer ban, as he has managed to break into the first team. Although he built a relationship with Frank Lampard at Derby County, he still had to prove himself at the highest level and he has managed to do that. Some supporters have criticised Mount at times, but he looks to be getting back to his best form. Against Aston Villa, he was used in a more advanced role off Tammy Abraham and that is where he is most dangerous, as he can provide a direct goal threat from midfield. During the game, he attempted five shots, which was more than any other player on the pitch and that showed that his confidence in front of goal remains sky high. His goal was an excellent strike and he will be wanting to follow that up with another this weekend.
There may be changes made following the managerial change, with Seamus Coleman pushing for a recall. Djibril Sibibe is a doubt after being taken off against Liverpool. Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin remain on the sidelines.
Antonio Rudiger is close to a return, but Lampard will be careful to manage his return. Ross Barkley is a doubt following a bout of illness. Tammy Abraham and Willian are both facing late fitness tests following knocks picked up during the week.
It is difficult to predict a team that has made a managerial change, as there is little to go on. However, Chelsea are very good away from home, as they are given more space to operate in. Everton will look to come out and attack the visitors, which could be a very poor decision. There is likely to be a reaction, but the away side should have the firepower to come out on top.
Everton 1-2 Chelsea