Everton v Chelsea : The Preview

Tonight is another massive game for Chelsea and huge night in the Premier League. Tonight's games could have a real major effect on the ...

Tonight is another massive game for Chelsea and huge night in the Premier League. Tonight's games could have a real major effect on the run in with Arsenal entertaining Liverpool and United away at Villa. Chelsea tonight need to ensure they remained focused on the job at hand as we take on Everton.

Recent Form.

Chelsea go into the game tonight on a 13 match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Everton come into the game after a decent run of form came to an end at Anfield last Saturday. Before that their last defeat in the league came to Liverpool at the end of November. Sandwhiched between those games they had held Spurs, Chelsea, Birmingham, Sunderland and Arsenal to draws and beaten Burnley, Man City, Sunderland and Wigan.

Most Recent Game.

Chelsea are unbeaten against Everton in the League since November 2000. The most recent game between the two was the 3-3 draw at the Bridge. Before that was the victory in the FA Cup Final.

Managers Views.

David Moyes:
"We are playing well. We have nothing to fear but we respect Chelsea because they have good players. We have had some good games against them. It is a big game at Goodison, it doesn't matter what game came before it. It's an interesting Premier League this season in many ways. We have to try and get ourselves into being one of those clubs who are battling at the top.".

Carlo Ancelotti:
(Referring to the 3-3 at the Bridge in December)
'It was a strange game because we conceded three on set pieces. In that game we played very well, scored three goals, tomorrow will be a different game I think. We need to win because we need to maintain the top of the list, it will not be easy because against Everton now is very difficult, they are playing well, lost against Liverpool in the last game but did fantastic before.

We want to win the league and have to win away. Tomorrow we have to do our best to win. We didn't change our philosophy away, you have to know that away sometimes you play against teams that have more strength at home, they have the support of their fans and they can do better.'

Team News:


Everton have been dealt a blow with the loss of Marouane Fellaini. Steven Pienaar is suspended after his red card against Liverpool at the weekend. Moyes has to make a decision as to who replaces both of them with Pienaar's replacement being the more straightforward decision. Mikel Arteta is available after coming on for Fellaini at the weekend, Jack Rodwell, Heitinga and Phil Neville are other options to fill the void.

Moyes will select from: Howard, Nash, Neville, Coleman, Heitinga, Senderos, Distin, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Donovan, Gosling, Cahill, Saha, Yakubu, Vaughan, Anichebe, Duffy, Baxter, Forshaw.

Chelsea have John Terry available after suffering a dead leg at the weekend and have no new injury concerns from the Arsenal game at the weekend. Belletti, Bosingwa and Essien are long term injuries. Deco has a slight knock but is expected to shake it off to make the bench. Chelsea are expected to make only one or two changes at most to the side that took to the field against Arsenal.

Ancelotti will select from: Cech, Hilario, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Alex, Carvalho, Terry, Zhirkov, Cole, J Cole, Malouda, Lampard, Ballack, Deco, Mikel, Kalou, Drogba, Anelka, Sturridge.

My view: 

Like I have said already tonight is massive and another must win game but we all know it will never be easy against a well-discliplined and hard-working Everton side. You always know you are going to get a good battle with Everton and apart from the two players that are missing will still pose us threats going forward. Louis Saha, recently rewarded with a new deal, will be looking to expose the Chelsea defence as he did in the Cup Final and always seems to play well against us.

Their is the obvious threat that Tim Cahill poses in the air and Moyes will no doubt have noted the problems that Hull caused us last week with Set-Pieces and being their strong point they will look to capitalise tonight. Added to that Landon Donovan has given Everton a natural balance out wide and he poses just as much of a threat so it will be interesting to see how he does up against Ashley Cole who in my opinion is in the form of his life at the moment.

I am expecting maybe Alex to come in for Carvalho is Carlo decides to make any changes as Riccy was bloody everywhere on Sunday. As my man of the match he was outstanding and in my view the best Centre Half in World Football for his all round game. Up against the threat of Cahill in the air Carlo may bring Alex in tonight, but if he doesn't I feel we have the players to cope. Ivanovic will be as solid as ever and its important that JT plays as he looks to get another performance on the pitch under his belt. No doubt he will receive stick from the fans but he will be expecting that.

Ancelotti has to make a decision tonight about the formation first of all as its no secret that Everton will start in their customary 4-4-1-1 formation with Saha up front and Cahill playing in behind and around him. So will Carlo revert to the 4-Diamond-2 formation or stick with the 4-3-3 formation. People have claimed that last week it was more like the 4-3-2-1 formation against Arsenal but for me it was the 4-3-3 as Malouda provides the right balance.

The problem lies on the right hand side if we play a 3 up front. Anelka does a job there and that's about it and is nowhere near as effective as when he plays through the middle. He doesn't have a problem playing there but for me you have to go with Joe Cole if you play 3 up there. With Joe on the right and Malouda on the left its a perfect balance to get wide and get the crosses into Drogba. Our performances with that formation (with Anelka) through the middle were outstanding and we were scoring goals for fun. But Drogba has come back into the side with 3 goals in 2 games. Before that Anelka has been playing well and scoring and is a constant threat so what does Ancelotti do?.

Of course the formation deployed tonight will have an effect on our midfield but once again this is where our strength in depth is. Everton will look to cover their loses in the middle tonight but you have to say without Fellaini and Pienaar they are weaker. I expect no changes to the Mikel, Lampard and Ballack trio that did a fantastic job defensively on Sunday and we will be the same again. Its whether Mikel is given the job of covering Cahill or Cahill being asked to get on and around Mikel that could prove just as important as anything in the game.

The balance to the team we have when Lampard and Ballack play next to each other is fantastic and Ballack hasn't really been given the credit he deserves in recent weeks. His work ethic for the team is undervalued and once more these two will need to work hard with the ball and without it tonight. Like I have said already, its then down to how we play tonight which will determine if its just those three through the middle tonight wtih Lampard and Ballack looking to get forward or if it will be playing a more narrow compact midfield to combat Everton's five-man midfield.

All in all and this will come as no surprise (especially if you are an Everton fan) I can see us being really up for the game tonight after dropping two points at home in the 3-3 earlier in the season. Ancelotti and JT will be revving the team up to make up for that disappointment and look to make our strength in all areas of the pitch count. It will be a battle tonight and a game in which it could be a single goal in it. But when you have Didier Drogba on form and scoring goals he could be the difference in what I expect to be a tight game.

So I am going for a game with not many clear cut chances for either side but Drogba to nick a goal to win it. 1-0 Chelsea.


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