Preview: Chelsea vs. Everton
Seeking to continue their recent revival with a fourth win on the bounce in all tournaments, Chelsea host Everton in Saturday evening’s Premier League offering at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues ran out 3-1 winners versus Leicester City last weekend, while Sean Dyche’s own team in blue put Brentford to the sword 1-0.
Seemingly striking gold with his newfound three-at-the-back setup, Graham Potter has survived a large wave of calls from supporters to be given the boot as he continues to pull the West London giants out of their rut, overseeing a stellar win at struggling Leicester last time out.
Responding to fans’ jeers by firing home a sumptuous volley at the near post, Ben Chilwell drew first blood before a Patson Daka strike brought the Foxes level, but a cheeky Kai Havertz lob and Mateo Kovacic scissor-kick volley saw Chelsea travel back to base with all the spoils.
Despite now picking up two top-flight wins on the spin, Chelsea remain smack-bang in the middle of the standings in 10th place and are 11 points adrift of a Champions League berth, but qualification for Europe’s premier tournament via winning the 2022-23 edition is still a distinct possibility thanks to their beating of Borussia Dortmund in the last 16.
While they wait to learn the fate of their quarter-final opponents, with the draw taking place on Friday morning, Chelsea now set out to win three successive Premier League games for the first time since Potter’s earliest days in charge in September and October, and the Blues have shipped just one goal in their last 360 minutes of league football at Stamford Bridge.
A 29-year unbeaten home run against Everton – the longest in Chelsea’s history – is also Potter’s to protect on Saturday evening, with the Toffees failing to win in 27 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge and at risk of being dragged deeper into relegation trouble by making that 28 here.
There was barely time for the Goodison Park faithful to take their seats before Dwight McNeil decided Everton’s contest with Brentford, firing home into the bottom corner with just 35 seconds gone to ironically sting the Bees, whose efforts for the remaining 89 minutes proved futile.
McNeil was the hero at both ends on the day, also clearing an Ethan Pinnock effort off the line as the Toffees clambered above the dotted line once again, but as is the volatile nature of the relegation dogfight, it only takes one dissatisfactory result for Dyche’s side to drop into the bottom three again.
For now, Everton are sitting pretty in the safety of 15th place but are just one point better off than Leicester, West Ham United and Bournemouth – all of whom boast a game in hand – so Dyche’s job is not done by a long shot.
Furthermore, all three of the Toffees’ wins under the ex-Burnley boss have come at Goodison Park, and they travel to the capital having gone 11 away games without a win in all tournaments – losing six and drawing three of their last nine on the road in the top flight.
In all five of Everton’s away games in 2023, they have shipped at least two goals – conceding 13 in total while netting just three themselves – but only a penalty from the recently-departed Jorginho could separate the two sides when the Toffees hosted Chelsea at Goodison Park during the summer.
Chelsea Premier League form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Everton Premier League form:
We say: Chelsea 2-0 Everton
A spate of 1-0 wins at Goodison has done little to remedy Everton’s dismal record on the road, and Dyche’s side could very well be plunged back into the relegation places by the close of play this weekend.
With Potter’s abundance of talent now showcasing said talent domestically and continentally, the reinvigorated Blues can potentially leave the anonymity of 10th place behind with a straightforward success in the capital.