Chelsea faces Everton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. The Blues have won three matches in a row, two of those in the league, and are slowly looking like an improved side. They face a Toffees team that sits just a point above the drop zone. Sean Dyche has taken just one point from three away matches since taking over.
Graham Potter’s sit may finally have put a disastrous run of form behind them. Going into the Leeds match, they had one win in 11 fixtures, six of those ending in defeat. As worrying was that they had failed to score in seven of those fixtures. A 1-0 win against Leeds was far from convincing but it stopped the rot.
A 2-0 home win against Dortmund followed, to progress 2-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League. The Blues only had 40% of the ball in the match but produced 2.00 xG albeit just 0.76 xG was from open play. Last week, Potter’s side won 3-1 at Leicester despite 0.95 xG more for the Foxes, who put up 2.52 Expected Goals and were unfortunate to lose on the day.
Chelsea Team News
Both Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante could return to the bench after long injuries. Thiago Silva remains absent and Raheem Sterling is expected to miss out once again. Reece James should be fit to return at right wingback.
In the attack, Mykhailo Mudryk was used as the number nine at Leicester and made little impact. Other options include Christian Pulisic or Conor Gallagher with Kai Havertz playing more centrally. Joao Felix should keep his place despite some iffy recent outings.
Nothing less than a win is expected from this match. Four wins on the bounce would increase confidence and morale, even if it won’t see the Blues end the weekend any higher than ninth.
Chelsea have been pragmatic of late and have struggled to control games by keeping possession. They may not enjoy Everton ceding the ball to them.
Frank Lampard was sacked after a run of nine losses in 12 fixtures. Sean Dyche’s arrival has certainly made a difference with 10 points accrued in seven matches. He oversaw a 1-0 win at home against Arsenal in his first match and has since added 1-0 wins at Goodison vs Leeds United and Brentford last weekend.
On the road, Everton have lost 2-0 at Everton and 4-0 at Arsenal in one-sided affairs. Their last away fixture saw a 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest. Everton’s last match was the 1-0 home win against Brentford, ending a six-match unbeaten run for the Bees.
Everton Team News
Everton are without Dominic Calvert-Lewin after a setback in training. Dyche has tried Ellis Simms and Neil Maupay in his place without any success. Demarai Gray has led the line in the last couple of matches and is set to reprise that role.
Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson are both absent on the right flank. The same XI which beat Brentford is expected for this match, meaning Ben Godfrey at left back in preference to Vitali Mykolenko.
Everton would take a draw in this match for sure. Dyche’s side are going to defend in a tight 4-5-1 block and double up on Chelsea’s wide players.
The first goal is key as neither side scores freely. If the Toffees can nick a 1-0 lead, they will make life very frustrating for Chelsea.
Chelsea have won their last 3 matches (all competitions)
CFC have failed to score in 10 of their last 18 matches (all comps)
CFC have scored 2 goals in a match just 3 times in their last 18 fixtures
Chelsea have netted just 27 goals in 26 league matches (Everton: 20 in 27)
Everton have just 1 win in their last 15 away EPL matches
Everton have failed to score in 7 of their last 9 away matches (EPL)
This looks likely to be a tight match. Everton are the lowest scorer in the league but Dyche knows how to organise a side to defend. Chelsea have had three wins in a row without looking convincing. They may have just enough to nick a 1-0 home win.