Premier League Preview: Everton vs. Chelsea

By Lou Flavius
Premier League: Romelu Lukaku to Lead Everton Against Chelsea
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The Blues will travel to Goodison Park in good spirits; their first two games of the season have seen them register two wins, scoring five goals in the process. Everton, on the other hand, have not yet been able to secure a victory this term.

The Toffees come into this match looking for their first win of the season. They squandered two one-goal leads against Leicester City during the first game of the season and a two-goal lead against Arsenal last weekend. This is a bit worrying for Roberto Martinez, as his team has shown that they can be broken down late in games and that they cannot close up shop after going ahead.

Everton won this fixture last season through a solitary Steven Naismith goal; the Scotsman has been in fine form for the club, scoring a goal in each of his last outings. Martinez has done a good job during the transfer window. He signed Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea FC, and this week he recruited free agent Samuel Eto’o.

There is no love lost between Lukaku and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. The Belgian striker will be out to embarrass his former boss and prove that he is good enough to lead a Premier League club. He suffered a foot injury against Arsenal, but he is still expected to start.

Eto’o — if selected — will also have it in for Mourinho. The Cameroonian took offense to certain comments made by the manager about his age last season, and that may have led to him not renewing his contract with Chelsea. After signing for Everton this week, he claimed that there is no rift with Mourinho and that he is moving forward, but we all know better.

The Toffees have four players on the injured list coming into this match, so they will be hoping that their depth will be able to see them through

Whilst Chelsea may be on a high from two good performances, they are also ruing the loss of Brazilian forward Diego Costa who limped off during training due to a pulled hamstring. Costa has a history with this injury; he was forced to sit out the last three games of Atletico Madrid‘s La Liga season as well as the Champions League final. Although the injury isn’t as bad as first feared, he is likely to miss tomorrow’s match.

“In this moment I can’t say much,” said Mourinho according to the Chelsea website. “We are trying everything for him to play tomorrow. He didn’t train for the last two days, but today is the last day and we must make a decision to select him or not.”

The manager added: “He has to try a light training session to see if the reaction is positive. If it is we take him to Everton to play or be on the bench; if the reaction is not positive today then obviously we don’t select him.”

Everyone else is available for selection, and Didier Drogba should be handed his first start of the season. The Blues will not be too worried about tomorrow’s match, as they have other players who could strongly impact the outcome. Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar Emboaba will be expected to step their game up during Costa’s likely absence.

Key Stats

-Everton have won four of their last five Barclays Premier League home games against Chelsea.

-If games had ended at halftime this season, Everton would be top, Chelsea fifth.

-If games just encompassed the second half then Everton would be bottom with zero points.

-Chelsea have conceded just nine goals in 2014, fewer than any other ever-present PL side.

My Prediction

Trips to Goodison have not been easy for Chelsea — or any other club for that matter — but I expect things to swing in the Blues’ favor this time around. I predict a 2-1 victory for Mourinho’s men.

My Possible Team Lineups

Chelsea (Predicted, 4-2-3-1): Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fábregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Drogba.

May play: Diego Costa (Hamstring)

Everton (Predicted 4-2-3-1): Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, McGeady, Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku.

Out: Ross Barkley (knee ligament), Bryan Oviedo (double leg break) and Arouna Kone (knee), Steven Peinaar (groin strain)

Lou Flavius is a soccer writer for Follow him on Twitter @LouFlavius , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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