Everton v Chelsea Preview
We`re certainly clocking up the miles this December. Leeds, Yokohoma City (Japan), Norwich and now Goodison Park is our next stop. Many suspected Chelsea to be showing signs of tiredness but that hasn`t been the case. Chelsea battled to a narrow win against Norwich, on Boxing Day, and will be hoping to do something similar against David Moyes side, in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Can we do it? We`ll soon see!
Our recent record, at Goodison Park, is far from exemplary, however, following the Boxing Day games, Petr Cech has recognised the need to keep things more than just ticking over when he remarked ahead of the game
"You need to get a run of games where you get three points. That is the only way to close the gap and take advantage when the other teams slip."
"We have closed the gap on City and hopefully have opened the gap on the teams behind. City losing was another positive thing. Getting more points against Everton would be a really big win."
Everton Team News:
David Moyes has a few concerns with regards to his squad ahead of the game. The reputed Chelsea target Marouane Fellaini is suspended, serving the last of a three game ban whilst Tony Hibbert and Kevin Mirallas are out injured.
On a positive note, Seamus Coleman could return from injury whilst Darron Gibson, who went off with a thigh injury on Boxing Day, could also be in consideration.
Player to watch: Leon Osman
Gate-crashed the England squad at a late age but a more than decent player who, like our own Frank Lampard, has an eye for a goal.
Chelsea Team News:
Rafa Benitez takes his side to Goodision with relatively few injury concerns. John Terry remains on the injured list whilst Danny Sturridge appears to have been wrapped up in cotton-wool ahead of his proposed move to Anfield.
Last time out, Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard were rested against Norwich City, both may come back into the starting eleven as Rafa continues to rotate his squad over the festive season.
Player to watch: Juan Mata
Having the season of his young life and has pleaded with Rafa Benitez to not rest him. Let`s hope the boss takes heed as Mata is not only our chief playmaker but also riding high in the scoring charts with 13 this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Goodison Park, in recent times, hasn`t been a happy hunting ground for Chelsea. Our last four visits have seen us lose three times and draw once. In fact delving further into the history books, we find that we`ve only registered one win in the last eight meetings with Everton.
However, statistics also show that in December Premier league meetings between the two clubs, Everton haven`t registered a win in seven attempts, drawing five and losing two.
Our officials for the fixture up at Goodison Park are:- Referee - Howard Webb Assistant - M. Mullarky Assistant - D. Cann Fourth Official - P. Dowd
This really is a titanic clash. Everton are flying and we appear to have been rejuvenated with Rafa Benitez in charge. Can Rafa keep the side ticking over or will Goodison Park be a trip to far? I`m going for the latter with Chelsea nicking it by the odd goal in three although I have this feeling we may need to come from behind.
Our next fixture, on 2nd January 2012, is against some ramshackle mob from down the road managed by Harry Redknapp, for the moment their name escapes me!