Match Preview | Chelsea (A)
Here we go again, a trilogy of away games in six days comes to an end at Stamford Bridge, home of the current Champions of England. Do you remember ‘the tunnel of death’ from your school days? It was when your fellow school friends would line up either side of you, creating a tunnel that you had to crawl through from one end to the other whilst they are booting you in the middle. Well that’s pretty much this week in a nutshell. But with a good 1-1 draw on Monday night at the Etihad against Manchester City and another 1-1 draw in Split on Thursday, which was enough the take Everton into the group stages of the Europa league, it seems the Toffees have coped pretty well so far.
Chelsea picked up a dramatic and morale-boosting 2-1 victory at Tottenham last week, after a dismal opening day home defeat to Burnley. Typical really as before that fixture it seemed as though everything was going wrong for Chelsea, which would make it a perfect time for Everton to play them. Still though, despite Chelsea’s win last week there’s still murmurs of problems behind the scenes at the home of the Champions. Rumours of unrest as Matic was seemingly sold to Manchester United without Conte’s permission. Their star striker (maybe soon to be ours?) is currently AWOL sipping cocktails on a beach in South America. The squad depth seems dangerously thin and Antonio Conte’s future at the bridge looks as uncertain as the hair on his head.
Still though, there are no doubts it will be another difficult fixture for the Toffees. Chelsea completed the double against Everton last season, with a combined score line of 8-0! Therefore, an improvement on the 5-0 drubbing last season at the Bridge is required. Chelsea will be missing some key players including captain Gary Cahill (suspended) and Eden Hazard who is still recovering from his broken ankle suffered in the summer.
Gueye missed Thursday’s win over Hajduk Split as a precaution with a hamstring problem, whilst neither striker Sandro (heel) nor midfielder Klaassen (foot) played either, the latter having already been ruled out of the Stamford Bridge clash. With Schneiderlin suspended it seems midfield options are already low. Apparently, Ireland footballer James McCarthy is still on Everton’s books but he is still recovering from a hamstring injury. With an international break around the corner, we can be sure the injury will clear up again just in time to feature for his country, before returning injured again thereafter.
Everton haven’t won at Chelsea since November 1994. Another great honour on the clubs ‘we don’t win at these places’ list. Despite a tough week of fixtures, the team are playing well and are catching Chelsea in a difficult period. Now is a better time than any to end the twenty three year wait to win at Stamford Bridge and in doing so heap more misery on the Champions. Come on you Blues!
– David (@DAHughes92)