Here we go again. Chelsea are back in action following one of the biggest victories of the season on Thursday night, as the Blues host former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton at Stamford Bridge. The London side fought tooth and nail to defeat Liverpool, and now face their Merseyside neighbours in a pivotal encounter for both sides. Both Chelsea and Everton have their sights set on top four, and a win for either side could provide an all important boost to assist them in doing so. It’s a battle between 4th and 5th in South West London this evening.
The season so far:
Both sides have enjoyed a strong season thus far, and their league positions reinforce this. Chelsea’s win over Liverpool now means they are unbeaten in 11 games, 10 of those coming under Thomas Tuchel’s reign. Not only is the 11 game unbeaten run impressive on its own, but Chelsea have only conceded twice in those games. Twice. Thomas Tuchel has reignited a fire inside this Chelsea squad, and the Blues have shown no signs of slowing down.
As for their opponents, the Toffees are also in good form, securing three wins in their last three. Everton have also failed to lose an away game since November 1st, which could benefit Ancelotti’s side tonight. This doesn’t mean Chelsea are in trouble, however, as the Blues are on a six game unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge.
Some would argue that the blue half of Merseyside are more venomous this season, and Chelsea can validate this, after the Blues lost 1-0 at Goodison Park earlier in the season, thanks to a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty. That being said, Chelsea have picked off some big names under Tuchel so far, and the German will hope this can continue tonight.
Player updates and news:
Thomas Tuchel has revealed that N’Golo Kante is still being preserved since returning from injury, and although he may start, he is unlikely to play 90 minutes. This could be a blow to Chelsea, as the Frenchman has been terrific as of late.
Thiago Silva could also be in contention to start his first game in over a month, after the Brazilian has been back in training recently. This would provide Chelsea a strong chance this evening, however, if the 36-year-old is not fully fit, the back three of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are more than up to the challenge, and the three have been reinvigorated under Tuchel.
Callum Hudson Odoi could also be in with a chance of starting, as the youngster missed out on any action against Liverpool on Thursday. Hudson Odoi has a point to prove as Thomas Tuchel has implemented a ruthless approach to his tactics, and the Englishman will hope he can show the boss what he can do.
Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Kante, Mount, Chilwell, Hudson Odoi, Werner, Giroud.
As I said in the Liverpool preview, I would love for Havertz to start, but given the importance of the fixture in putting a gap between Chelsea and Everton, I don’t think it’s the perfect time to take the risk. Hopefully we will see a Havertz cameo later in the game.
I also struggled to leave Jorginho out of the side, as the Italian played his best game in a Chelsea shirt against Liverpool. The reason he didn’t make my XI is just because of the importance of N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, who grabbed our all important match winner at Anfield. That being said, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Jorginho start this evening.
Tammy Abraham could also be in for a shout ahead of Olivier Giroud, but I’m unsure on whether he can provide the same impact as Oli against Everton’s strong, deep backline.
Players to watch:
Timo Werner: It is no secret that Timo hasn’t hit the heights that Chelsea fans expected, but nevertheless, the German has not had a bad season at all. With 19 goals/assists in all competitions, the 25-year-old has looked bright under Thomas Tuchel. Werner had a terrific performance against Liverpool, and also scored in our last game on a Monday against Newcastle. Werner could very well impress tonight, coming off the back of a solid performance at Anfield.
Richarlison: The Everton star has netted in each of the Toffees’ last four games, which makes him the player to watch for the away side this evening. Not only that, but Richarlison can change a game at any given time, The prolific forward has a darting pace that Azpilicueta may struggle to counter. Whether it is Reece James or Callum Hudson Odoi on that right flank, Azpi will need as much help as possible to keep the Brazilian at bay.
This fixture happens to be a year on from our last game inside a full Stamford Bridge. That game’s opponents? Everton. For the fans now watching from their living rooms, lets give them another win to cheer.
Written by @mashgreaves
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