Chelsea are quickly emerging as title contenders and they have the opportunity to prove their credentials against a manager that once won them a league title. Frank Lampard takes his in-form Blues team to Goodison Park to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton team. After an eye-catching start for the Toffees, results have started to get worse and a tricky run of games suggests that things may get worse before they get better. They will take confidence from their victory in this fixture last season, when they ran out 3-1 winners under Duncan Ferguson.
Ancelotti will know that he needs to guide his team back to winning ways sooner rather than later. They improved as the match went on against Burnley and they had chances to win it late on. However, they didn’t dominate proceedings and there remain some issues for the coaching staff to resolve. The inconsistency of James Rodriguez is one concern, as he isn’t influencing matches as he was in the early stages of the season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains a monster in the final third and he scored twice in this fixture last season. His form will be crucial over the coming weeks. The defensive issues mean that Everton need to score goals in order to win matches.
Chelsea are currently on the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League, as they have managed to avoid defeat in their last nine matches in the competition. Their recent upturn has seen them win four of their last five. The improvements in defence have allowed them to turn draws into wins and they will have ambitions of challenging for the title. There remain doubts about Lampard and his coaching ability, but he is proving many of the doubters wrong. It was thought that he would struggle to motivate the new additions and build a coherent team. With 22 points on the board, it is becoming harder and harder to be a critic.
- Jordan Pickford has conceded five goals from outside the box this season. This is the most of any Premier League goalkeeper.
- Chelsea have won ten penalties in all competitions this season. This is more than any other Premier League side.
Despite the club’s patchy form, Calvert Lewin is having his breakout season. It can be argued that the start of his upturn in form happened in this fixture last season. It was his performances under Ferguson that alerted Ancelotti to the quality that he does possess. He has developed a lot under the Italian coach and there have been comparisons made to Pippo Inzaghi, due to his movement in the final third. The majority of his goals have come from positions between the goal posts, which shows that he is being asked to focus on getting into these areas. In addition to his intelligent movement, the England international is a huge aerial threat and that could come into play on Saturday. Chelsea have been much better at the back and the aerial prowess of Kurt Zouma should help curb this threat, but there is no doubting that Calvert Lewin is the danger man.
It has been a slow adaptation to Premier League football for Timo Werner. He hasn’t exploded on to the scene, but he has been dangerous and he will cause problems for a leaky Everton defence. At the time of writing, he has four goals and three assists. The German will have ambitions to reach ten for both and that would represent an excellent first season in England. The recall of Olivier Giroud into the starting eleven should help Werner become even more threatening in the final third. The Frenchman has been praised by the likes of Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann for what he offers on the pitch. Due to his pace and attacking intelligence, Werner should thrive when playing alongside Giroud, like he did at RB Leipzig when partnered with Yussuf Poulsen. This weekend could be an occasion for the German to deliver his performance in a Chelsea shirt to date.
Seamus Coleman and Robin Olsen are both doubts for the weekend. Fabian Delph won’t be available after suffering a thigh injury against Burnley. Lucas Digne is a long term absentee.
Frank Lampard has confirmed that Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi will be missing, as both have suffered hamstring injuries. Christian Pulisic is a doubt, but he is expected to feature. Chelsea will need to manage the American carefully, as he has struggled for fitness so far this season.
This could be one of the matches of the weekend. Everton don’t have the defensive quality to sit deep and try to contain Chelsea. They haven’t kept a clean sheet for several matches and the inconsistency of Jordan Pickford has caused problems for them. The visitors will be aware of the leaky defence they are coming up against. In the last two months, Chelsea have arguably been the best team in the country. Many believe they have the strongest squad in the country and they should be able to maintain their good form over this busy period. They should have enough to pick up three points on Saturday.
Everton 0-2 Chelsea