Sunday 11th November 2018
The toughest task so far this campaign awaits Everton on Sunday, as they travel to the Bridge to take on Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten Chelsea. Last Saturday saw the Toffees run out comfortable 3-1 winners over Brighton, in a contest the Blues dominated. Marco’s men will now be looking to build on that performance with a positive result at Chelsea to head into the international break. Sundays hosts have so far been nothing short of superb. Sarri has brought the feel good factor back to South West London and confidence is clearly at a high. They will be hopeful of maintaining their flawless start and keeping pace at the top of the table.
Last Saturday was a joy to watch for the Toffees. The fitness of the squad is looking better than it has for a long, long time, the high press and will to win possession back is a refreshing reminder into what Marco Silva has added to his ever improving outfit. Right from the off, the Blues were on the front foot, full backs Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman were constantly joining the attack and looking to give another outlet out wide. Everything going forward was fantastic, with star man Richarlison taking the headlines once again as the Brazilian notched a brace with two fantastically taken goals. Seamus Coleman also found himself on the score sheet, after a superb driven strike from outside the area. Overall, the performance was brilliant and displayed this newly moulded squads capabilities. The electric pace and movement going forward is something that has been longed for at Goodison and its hugely encouraging to think this side is still gaining fitness and adapting to new routines. Aswell as his goals, Richarlison is displaying exactly why he was invested in so heavily. His goals are obviously the main talking points but what has also been hugely impressive is how the winger constantly looks to get himself into space and create. His movement and composure have also been immense so far and hes certainly proving his early doubters wrong.
There are thought to be a few slight injury worries heading into Sunday. Leighton Baines missed the midweek friendly with Gor Mahia through illness and will be tracked up until kick off. Richarlison suffered an ankle injury in the second half of last week against Brighton and is thought to also be being assessed, although its likely the Brazilian will feature. Jonjoe Kenny could miss the squad, as the defender recovers from a knock. Long term absentee, James McCarthy made an appearance off the bench in Tuesday nights friendly and could find his name back in the match day squad. Kurt Zouma is ineligible for the game as the team faces his Parent club.
Chelsea’s season goes from strength to strength, still unbeaten and showing no signs of switching off, Sarri’s Blues have been majorly impressive. The football Chelsea have played has been electric and a far cry from what was experienced last season under Antonio Conte. Last time out, the Londoners were 3-1 winners as they saw off a defiant Palace side.
The first half saw Chelsea far from their best with star man, Eden Hazard, watching from the bench. The Blues struggled to create much going forward and were tested off a Palace side constantly looking to counter, with Zaha and Townsend causing Sarri’s defence problems with their pace. Despite an underwhelming first half, Chelsea went into the break one to the good after an Alvaro Morata strike from close range. The game was quickly back on level terms after the interval, as the Blues back-line failed to deal with a through ball from James McArthur, which found Andros Townsend who slotted home. Chelsea reacted superbly and began to create, as they searched to regain the lead. Substitute, Eden Hazard made an immediate impact as he clipped a free kick into the area where Alvaro Morata got his and Chelsea’s second. Five minutes later and it was game over, Marcos Alonso played a low ball into the danger area which found Pedro, who confidently finished to give Chelsea another routine three points.
Sarri’s side also progressed in the Europa League on Thursday evening as they saw off BATE Borisov, winning 1-0.
Chelsea have the comforts of a full squad at their disposal. The only slight worry for them is Cesc Fabregas, who has recently struggled with illness.
Heading into Sunday, its sure to be a huge test for the Toffees, the fantastic form of Chelsea aswell as the awful record Everton have at Stamford Bridge does not hold for pleasant reading, with Everton’s last victory at the Bridge coming all the way back in 1994 in a 1-0 win. However, Silva has shown that his side will go to these places and look to play their own game and search for the points, without showing the opposition too much respect. Chelsea will be hopeful of extending their fantastic run and keeping pace at the top of the table.
Can Everton upset the apple cart or will Chelsea find the win once more?
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Morata, Hazard.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison.
Chelsea 2-1 Everton.