Everton host Chelsea on Saturday evening, as Carlo Ancelotti comes up against his former club, his current side in dire need of a positive result after their form nosedived following their early-season promise
Here’s all you need to know about Saturday’s clash at Stamford Bridge:
The Toffees early season form seems a distant memory now, with them having picked up just one win since the Merseyside Derby draw back in October.
Their most recent meeting saw them held to a 1-1 draw away to Burnley at Turf Moor, with England international’s Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford both pulling off a number of fines saves at either end of the pitch to prevent either side claiming a victory.
Ancelotti and co will no doubt see that as two points dropped against a side who remain in the bottom three after a poor start to the season, though they are currently plagued by injuries in key areas, with the likes of Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman currently out of action.
The loss of such key defenders has forced the Italian to deploy a back three of late, although the absence of any genuine wing-back’s has been a real weakness and could be an area that Chelsea look to exploit at the weekend, particularly with full-back’s Ben Chilwell and Reece James often joining the attack.
Despite this formation switch and the club’s recent drop off in form, striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has continued to find the back of the net, with the former Sheffield United man currently ahead in the race for the golden boot after netting eleven goals so far this season, one ahead of in-form Tottenham man Heung-Min Son.
#PL Top Scorers 2020/21:
1️⃣1️⃣ – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
1️⃣0️⃣ – Son Heung-min
9️⃣ – Mohamed Salah & Jamie Vardy
8️⃣ – Patrick Bamford & Harry Kane pic.twitter.com/VRZzZvozt0
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 8, 2020
The Blues currently sit in third after a superb run of form over the last few months, with their most recent Premier League fixture seeing them put three past Leeds United to move them to just two points behind early leaders, Tottenham Hotspur.
That 3-1 home win saw both sides put in excellent attacking displays, with the 2,000 home supporters treated to a relentless game of football as the two teams went toe-to-toe.
Despite falling behind early on to a cool finish from former Blues youngster Patrick Bamford, Frank Lampard’s men showed their growing ruthless nature to claim all three points, as goals from Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic helped to continue their title charge.
Highest xG created in a single PL game this season:
4.89 – CHELSEA vs Leeds United 🔵
4.16 – Everton vs West Brom
3.77 – Liverpool vs Leicester City
3.30 – Tottenham vs Man United
3.19 – Tottenham vs Newcastle United
[data from understat] pic.twitter.com/c0zjAB75en
— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) December 5, 2020
The only real issue now for Lampard is deciding who to play, the Blues boss having a number of options in midfield and attack to choose from, with their midweek draw with Krasnodar illustrating their ability to make wholesale changes yet remain a quality outfit.
That draw ensured Chelsea remained unbeaten in their Champions League so far this season, the west London club finishing top of Group E, a point ahead of last season’s Europa League winners Sevilla.
That game also saw the return of young Billy Gilmour after his long injury lay-off, although both Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are likely to be out of action for the next couple of weeks.
Chelsea 4-0 Everton, 8 March 2020
The two sides last meeting came back in March, in what was the last round of fixtures before the enforced break due Covid-19.
The match itself saw young Billy Gilmour handed his first Premier League start, and the youngster thrived at the heart of the midfield as Chelsea romped to victory.
Goals from Mason Mount and Pedro gave the Blues a 2-0 lead after just 21 minutes, with a further two goals after half-time from Willian and Olivier Giroud making it an unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for Carlo Ancelotti.
Everton: Pickford; Godfrey, Mina, Keane; Davies, Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi; Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Chelsea: Mendy; James, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell; Kante, Kovacic, Mount; Werner, Giroud, Havertz.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on BT Sport 1.
What time is kick off?
Saturday 12 December, 20:00 GMT
Everton – 10/3
Chelsea – 3/4
Draw – 3/1