Five games into his second spell as Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink remains unbeaten. Less impressively, he's won just two of the five, with disappointing home draws against Watford and West Bromwich Albion bookending a great win at Crystal Palace, a lacklustre draw at Old Trafford and an easy win in the FA Cup.
Wednesday's result hit especially hard, almost as a final nail in the coffin of any designs we may have still had on a top four finish. The rest of the Premier League continues to falter as well, but the gap is quickly becoming even mathematically impossible to traverse. In fact, the gap we really should be worried about is the one behind us.
"It's a very realistic view when you see there is a 12 point gap to Tottenham in fourth. We all like to look forward and on the top, but we also can't be unrealistic when we are just six points from the line of relegation. That's a fact."
"We have to work, be concentrated and gather our points to step up. That's why it was a pity we conceded in the 86th minute and we got this draw against West Brom [on Wednesday], which would have helped us a lot in going up [the table]."
"I think [it's a wake up call]. It's a reality. When we started [after Mourinho was fired] Chelsea were one point off the relegation zone. Now we have more room to breathe."
"But we have two difficult games coming up — Everton, who have a very good away record, and Arsenal. If you don't gather points there, you don't know what the others will do. The Premier League can surprise you."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Evening Standard
Much like Chelsea, Everton haven't been able to find any consistency this season. Despite having a very promising squad on his hands, manager Roberto Martínez still hasn't figured out how to make the most out of the options he has at hand.
The unpredictable outcome of a meeting between two highly inconsistent sides — it's what makes the Premier League such a big seller. We could witness great entertainment. Or an incessant borefest. Or something in between.
Date/Time: Saturday, January 16, 2016, 15:00 GMT; 10:00am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Mike Jones, whose only Chelsea-refereed match this season was our 1-0 loss to Bournemouth at the Bridge in December. Jones' last match was the 3-3 Liverpool v. Arsenal goals-galore from last Wednesday.
Forecast: Dry and sunny - but don't forget to bring a coat.
On TV: none (UK); USA Network (USA); Star Sports 4 / HD4 (India); elsewhere.
Streaming Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Chelsea TV, talkSport (radio, int'l).
Chelsea team news: Striker Radamel Falcao and attacking midfielder Eden Hazard still find themselves out of contention. Other than these two, all of our first-team members are fit to take the pitch this weekend.
Chelsea remain unbeaten since sacking Jose Mourinho, but have more draws than wins in the Premier League in that time. While that's a bit better than what's come before, it's still not ideal. Not that we should expect any miracles in terms of vastly improved results or vastly adventurous starting line-ups.
Chelsea haven't lost back-to-back games against Everton since 1994. Let's not end that streak.
Everton team news: According to Everton manager Roberto Martínez, midfielder James McCarthy and right-back Seamus Coleman won't partake as they are recovering from injuries. A player that could feature is former Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, with a "50-50" chance of being involved.
"Chelsea are a team full of winning footballers. They have players that in one second can produce something magical and that demands a level of concentration and focus. But in the same way we want to be ourselves and go to Stamford Bridge and perform the way we've been doing away from home this season."
-Roberto Martínez; source: West London Sport
Everton have lost just once in 10 away league matches. A solid record, but one that hasn't propelled them too far up the table thanks to a league-leading 10 draws already on the season (from 21 played). In fact, they're just four points above Chelsea, despite being the fourth most prolific team in the league with 36 goals.
The Toffees have struggled mightily with finding balance on the pitch, with lots of success in attack but not much in defense. Their attack will be led by former
Kraken Didier Drogba heir Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who's found the net a Premier League-leading 15 times already, while also providing assists to 5 goals. Their defense will be led by greatest ever future English center back but currently just a young inconsistent center back John Stones. Be sure to check out more info on how Everton will play against Chelsea in our opposition analysis.
Previously: Something that could only happen to the 2015-16 version of Chelsea: a Steven Naismith hat-trick for Everton (only on because of a first-half injury-enforced substitution), alleviated to no effect by a wonderful strike by Nemanja Matic. Ugh.