On Saturday night, two clubs with contrasting runs of form face of in a game that kicks off the festive period in the Premier League. Everton go head-to-head with Chelsea in a fixture largely dominated by the boys from London. Toffees coach, Carlo Ancelotti faces off with Frank Lampard in the dugout with the aim of winning one over his former midfield enforcer.
The two have a huge respect for each other and have both spoken highly of one another in their respective pre-match press conferences. Everton are gunning for a third consecutive home win against the Londoners with last season’s 3-1 home win the more memorable win of the previous two. Chelsea on the other hand are aiming to extend their unbeaten run and potentially cement their status as title contenders this year.
Everton boss Ancelotti announced that creative midfielder, James Rodriguez will miss this game due to a calf injury picked up last week. Seamus Coleman and Fabian Delph also miss out with hamstring injuries while Lucas Digne is a long-term absentee.
Chelsea will again be without the services of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech who both picked up hamstring injuries. Blues boss Lampard, said he expected both players to be out for two weeks after scans revealed no significant damage to both players. Christian Pulisic is available after being rested in the midweek Champions League game.
Everton have won just one of their last 5 league games and will need to be at their best to stifle Chelsea’s in form attackers and find gaps within the defence. Maintaining solidity and compactness across the pitch will be key to the toffees who will hope to arrest the downward spiral that has ensued since the last international break. Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be tasked with creating and scoring chances in a game that needs to be won to boost confidence within the ranks. Yerry Mina and Jordan Pickford will need to be in good form to stop the Blues attackers and in set-piece situations defenders too.
Chelsea come into this game in great form having won four of their last five league games conceding just once. Frank Lampard has his team playing to the strengths and this showed with a solid defensive showing against Spurs two weeks ago. Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud have all chipped in with goal contribution and will be a threat in the game on Saturday night on Merseyside. Kurt Zouma continues to impress defensively and in the opposition box, scoring four times already this season. With 5 games over the next 16 days, the Blues will look to pick up valuable points at Goodison Park to keep a strangle hold on the top three spot they currently hold.
Predicted Starting XIs
Everton: Pickford, Keane, Mina, Godfrey, Allan, Doucoure, Alex Iwobi, Bernard, Tom Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Chelsea: Mendy, Thiago Silva, Zouma, James, Chilwell, Kante, Kovacic, Mount, Havertz, Werner, Giroud
Venue: Goodison Park, Merseyside
Time: 20:00 GMT
Predicted Scoreline: Everton 1-4 Chelsea
- Timo Werner anytime scorer ( Odds – 2/11)
- Over 4.5 Goals ( Odds – 2/9)
- Full time Winner – Chelsea ( Odds – 4/6)