Chelsea will be looking to move to the top of the Premier League table when they lock horns with Everton at Goodison Park this weekend.
Chelsea will be aiming to make it fifteen games unbeaten in all competitions when they travel to Goodison Park to face off against Everton in matchweek 12 of the 2020/21 Premier League on Saturday night.
Everton, after a brilliant start to the new season, have somewhat tailed off in recent weeks. Indeed, the Toffees have won just one of their last seven matches in the league (D2 L4) and head into the weekend fixture on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Burnley last week, following which Carlo Ancelotti’s men are ninth in the standings.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have continued to go from strength to strength after a slightly dodgy start to the season. The Blues have been in fine form of late, beating Leeds United 3-1 last week in the Premier League, which was followed by 1-1 draw against Krasnodar in the UEFA Champions League, making it 14 unbeaten in a row.
Currently third in the league table, Chelsea can move to the top with a win against Everton, with leaders Tottenham and second-placed Liverpool both scheduled to play on Sunday. The corresponding fixture last season didn’t end too well for the Londoners though, as they lost 3-1 at Goodison. And, ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Ancelotti has a few key players out on the sidelines with both Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne unlikely to return for Saturday’s game while Fabian Delph and James Rodriguez also miss out. Jean-Philippe Gbamin is also unavailable for selection but backup goalkeeper Robin Olsen is expected to return after recovering from an injury.
Ancelotti has set his team up in a 3-4-3 setup in recent games but could switch to a 4-3-3 that they used after Delph’s injury against Burnley last week. In goal, Jordan Pickford is a certain starter for the Toffees, even though he has come in for some criticism this season.
The switch to 4-3-3 could lead to Ben Godfrey slotting in at left-back, having put up a fine performance in the makeshift position against Burnley after Delph came off injured. Yerry Mina and Michael Keane ought to be the two centre-backs with Mason Holgate coming in at right-back, given Ancelotti has hardly used Jonjoe Kenny this term.
The responsibility of keeping a watch on Chelsea’s midfield runners will fall onto the shoulders of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucore, while the latter will also look to push forward and support the forwards in attacking phases. Andre Gomes should slot in as the third central midfielder and look to act as the source of creativity.
With James ruled out of the contest, Alex Iwobi should return to his natural habitat in the final third, having played as a wing-back in recent games. The ex-Arsenal star should slot in on the right, while Richarlison features on the left, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin spearheading the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pickford; Holgate, Keane, Mina, Godfrey; Gomes, Allan, Doucoure; Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
The Blues will once again have to deal with the absence of Hakim Ziyech, who came off injured against Leeds last weekend. Callum Hudson-Odoi, who picked up an injury in training earlier this week, has also been ruled out for a couple of weeks.
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) December 8, 2020
Having made wholesale changes for the game against Krasnodar, Lampard should bring back his regulars to the lineup on Saturday. In goal, summer signing Edouard Mendy ought to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga, while the entire defence in front of him will bear a new look with Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva and Ben Chiwell returning.
N’Golo Kante made a substitute appearance in midweek but should start here, replacing Jorginho as the holding midfielder. Mason Mount should also return to the starting XI, having been one of the Blues’ most consistent players this term, while Kai Havertz should also start in midfield, meaning Billy Gilmour misses out after his starring display in midweek.
Timo Werner has gone six games without a goal in all competitions and will be aiming to end the mini-drought at Goodison Park. He should start on the left flank, while Christian Pulisic should get the nod on the right, with Olivier Giroud, who has been in fine form of late, starting as the centre-forward ahead of Tammy Abraham.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Havertz, Kante, Mount; Pulisic, Giroud, Werner
- Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.61
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score anytime @ 2.87
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight Premier League meetings with Everton, losing both the games in which they conceded (W4 D2).
- Everton have won their last two Premier League home games against Chelsea. They last won three in a row against the Blues between February 2010 – February 2012.
- Chelsea have won just of their last 15 away Premier League games against fellow ever-present sides in the competition (D5 L8), with those victories coming at Tottenham and Arsenal in December last year.
- Everton have lost their last two Premier League games (vs Manchester United and Leeds United). They have not lost three in a row at home since March 2016, while manager Carlo Ancelotti hasn’t lost three consecutive home league games since November 2006 with AC Milan.
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three away games in the Premier League, as many as they had in their previous 35 such games in the competition.
Player to Watch
Most non-penalty goals in the Premier League since Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton debut:
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Evolved into a top striker. ? pic.twitter.com/gpx7pQ2ctT
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 5, 2020
The frontrunner in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot this season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been in fine form, even though his team’s fortunes have dwindled recently. The 23-year-old has now scored 11 goals in 11 league games – just two less than what he managed in 36 games in the 2019/20 campaign. He also has three goals in two matches in the Carabao Cup.
However, the England international will be up against the second-best defence in the league on Saturday, with Chelsea conceding just 11 goals so far this term. Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva have been rock-solid at the back for the Blues and on Saturday, a lot will be riding on the duel between them and Calvert-Lewin, who will have support from Richarlison.
Everton 1-3 Chelsea
Everton are in a wretched run of form, having failed to win six of their last seven matches. The Toffees have shipped in 18 league goals already, with only three teams conceding more. Chelsea, on the other hand, are on a 9-game run without a defeat in the league, have scored the second-highest number of goals and let in the second-fewest.
On recent form, Chelsea go into the game as favourites and with Lampard restoring his best lineup for the game, they should be able to clinch all three points. But given Calvert-Lewin’s impressive run in front of goal, the Blues may not be able to secure a clean sheet. The Hard Tackle is predicting a 3-1 win for Lampard & co. which will take them to the top of the table.