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Match Day

CHELSEA v Everton: Preview

Date: Thursday 16th December 2021

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

Some clubs are more accustomed than us to Thursday night football but thankfully it’s a Premier League game for us tonight as our former interim pays us a visit, with his Everton side in tow. I say ‘in tow’ because you’d have to imagine they’re not exactly behind him in the usual sense, he won’t feel any more warmth from the Stamford Bridge crowd tonight either and I hope he has a rotten night.

We come into tonight’s game having got away with one last time out against Leeds, with a very fortunate and very late penalty call going in our favour and Jorginho stepping up to do what Jorginho (generally) does. A draw would probably have been a fairer reflection of the game because we weren’t great, in fact, we haven’t looked great since Juventus.

I keep saying it, because it’s a fact, having Ben Chilwell out has had a big impact but having Kante out at the same time has been majorly damaging for us defensively, a fact reflected in us failing to keep a clean sheet in our last four Premier League games.

We’ve had Kovacic out forever, Jorginho reportedly playing through the pain, and Trevoh Chalobah out as well, and its taught us (if we didn’t already know) just how important they’ve all been to our season so far. We’re not out of the woods yet either, Kante won’t be ready to start tonight, so there’s every chance our midfield could look like a colander from time to time again tonight.

After beating Arsenal, Everton found themselves up against Conor Gallagher in their last game and won’t be in any hurry to see him again as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace to make it seven defeats from their last nine Premier League games. They also arrive having lost four of the last five at Stamford Bridge and will probably dig deep to stop that getting to five, I just hope we don’t make it any easier for them than it needs to be. With 15 goals from our last five in the league, maybe our best form of defence needs to be attack?

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel says “Not so long ago it was the opposite position and Man City turned things around. At the moment, they have good form and they show it. They show their quality. There was never a doubt they have the quality because for years they’ve shown this consistency with Liverpool.  We knew before that if we wanted to compete with City and Liverpool for the title, we would face adversity and tough moments. So we can’t be surprised now and we can’t give up. We knew this before and enjoy being in the middle of difficult moments.  Maybe it’s what we need at the moment to overcome. We were lucky at the weekend but didn’t feel blessed with luck against West Ham. We didn’t have the luck against Burnley. So we should not start to say sorry for a late victory, we found a way to win the game. We cannot give in and not give up. This is simply impossible. We knew before, we committed before. We enjoy being in the middle of adversity and difficult moments. Maybe it is exactly what we need at the moment to overcome it.

Everton manager, Rafael Benitez, meanwhile, says “Be sure that we go there with the idea to win the game. When I say that, I don’t want people taking advantage of that and saying ‘on the front foot if you want to win’.  Sometimes you have to win in the counter-attack. Nobody can expect that we will go there and have 70% possession, it will be impossible. These 15 games have proven that it’s like that. We have to have a plan to get the best from our players and take advantage of the weaknesses of Chelsea, which are not too many.”

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, Ben Chilwell (ACL), Mateo Kovacic (Covid), remain out, whilst N’Golo Kante (knee) and Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring) will return to the squad.

For Everton, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Tom Davies (knee), Yerry Mina (hamstring), Andros Townsend (foot) are out and Richarlison (calf) may also be unavailable. Seamus Coleman (foot) and Allan (adductor) will be assessed.

TEAMS

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Rudiger; Christensen, James, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Mount; Lukaku, Werner

EVERTON (Possible line-up): Pickford, Godfrey, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Gordon, Delph, Doucoure, Gomes, Gray, Rondon

CURRENT FORM (PL)

CHELSEA: DWDWLW

EVERTON: DLLLWL

LAST SEASON

Chelsea 2-0 Everton (8th March 2021)

OTHER STUFF

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 26 Premier League home games against Everton.
  • Everton have won three of the last five Premier League meetings.
  • Chelsea have conceded nine goals in four games in all competitions.
  • Everton have had four consecutive away league defeats
  • Everton are without a win in their past six Premier League games.
  • Everton have taken five points out of a possible 30 home and away.

PREDICTION

BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 Everton

Sky Sports: Chelsea 2-0 Everton

Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Everton

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