The English Premier League returns this weekend after the international break and the biggest clash of the round sees Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea travel to Goodison Park to face Everton, in an effort to keep the pressure on log leaders Liverpool. Everton haven’t had as good a start as their opponents have had in the league and will be out to prove that last year’s relative success under Moyes can be replicated under new coach Martinez.
Chelsea have had the better of Everton in recent seasons, beating the Toffees in four of their last five encounters. Everton pulled off a single win during this period, beating Chelsea 2-0 at the end of the 2011-12 Premier League season.Chelsea’s results against Everton have included two wins at Goodison Park, and the last time the Blues played Everton at home they snatched a 2-1 win courtesy of a brace of goals from Frank Lampard.
Everton have endured a poor start to their season, and look the worse for the departure of David Moyes as coach. The club have won just one of its last five fixtures (beating League One outfit Stevenage in extra time in the League Cup), drawn three games and suffered a single loss.The Toffees are winless in the Premier League this season, with three consecutive draws.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have had a decent enough start to their season, starting with two home wins in the Premiership before travelling to Old Trafford for a goalless draw against Manchester United. Recent fixtures have also included defeats to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in European fixtures.
What to expect from the Match
A defensively-oriented match…
The Toffees are winless in the Premier League this season, with three consecutive draws. They’re looking toothless up front, with just 4 goals scored in five matches, and the only bright spot for Everton has been a relatively strong defensive performance with 4 goals conceded and 2 clean sheets maintained.Many fans are growing increasingly concerned about the effectiveness of Roberto Martínez’s passing game. Evertonians who are accustomed to a power-based, high-tempo approach under David Moyes, are starting to believe the familiar criticism against his successor – that his charges pass for the sake of it, getting nowhere.
That was the problem when they were held 0-0 at home to West Brom and again in their last match, which was a barren stalemate at newly promoted Cardiff. Everton enjoyed two-thirds of the possession but to no avail. There seems to be no Plan B for Martinez after their pass, pass game doesn’t yield goals. They have lost star midfielder MarouaneFellaini to Manchester United but did manage some good deadline day signings in RomeluLukaku from Chelsea, Gareth Barry from Manchester City and James McCarthy from Wigan.
Chelsea have put away 7 goals in their last five matches, and aren’t quite as fluent up front as they should be. Defence is also causing Jose Mourinho headaches, with 6 goals conceded by the Blues in five games.They sit second on the log with two home wins against Aston Villa and Hull and a draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United. They also drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich after extra-time in their most recent match in the UEFA Super Cup, eventually losing out on silverware in penalty-shootouts.
Manchester United rejected two bids from Chelsea for Rooney in the summer transfer window, but the Stamford Bridge club was able to bring in Samuel Eto’o from Anzhi Makhachkala on a one-year deal. Although the Blues are unbeaten in the Premier League, they have relied on goals from defense and midfield so far to push them to their two wins. Eto’o’s experience will be vital upfront.
Everton will be targeting this match for a win. Chelsea have looked assured at home, but less convincing on the road, and will be vulnerable to an upset in this match.Chelsea’s two wins over Villa and Hull were far from convincing and their draw against United was very dull. They have defended well, as Mourinho’s sides tend to do but Everton have also been solid and are tipped to be buzzing at home to get their first win after three draws.This looks like it could be a defensively oriented match, with Everton battening down the hatches and scrounging for a winning goal.
Players to watch out for
Gareth Barry(Everton):The Englishman had a disappointing campaign last season, and eventually found himself out of the England squad as a result. A move to Goodison may well breathe a new lease into his England career. His performance against Chelsea will go a long way to deciding the outcome of the fixture, as him keeping the likes of Oscar, Hazard and Schurrle quiet may well decide the fate of this fixture.
Andre Schurrle(Chelsea):The German has been one of the best performers for the London club, and he will be key to unlocking a stubborn Everton defense which will look to stifle the Chelsea attacking quartet. If Schurle can build on his already growing understanding with fellow attackers Oscar and Hazard, he may just clinch this for Chelsea.
Predicted Starting line ups
Everton: Everton got in some reinforcements on deadline-day, and some of them are expected to feature against Chelsea. The experience Barry may start, with McCarthy sitting on the bench. RomeluLukaku will be ineligible to play against his parent club, and the Everton faithful will have to wait to see him in action.
Chelsea:Chelsea may name an unchanged starting eleven, with veteran striker Samuel Eto’o expected to play some part in the fixture following his arrival from Anzhi. Eden Hazard is a slight doubt, and in case he is not fit enough to start, Spaniard Juan Mata may get his first start of the season.
Everton 1-0 Chelsea