In the 12th match of the 38-game Premier League season — so about a third-way through — Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge. Everton have not collected all three points in this fixture since 1994, though they did record a win on penalties in an FA Cup fourth round replay back in 2011.
With a win, Chelsea would be on 30 points and sitting somewhere in the top three. The 30 points would be Chelsea’s best total since 2014-15 — but while title-bound Chelsea were six points clear of second place Southampton (!) at the time, this season’s top-heavy Premier League could see three teams finish the first third of the season unbeaten, lead by seemingly unstoppable Manchester City who enter the weekend with a two-point lead at the top of the table.
Unlike City, or even Liverpool, Chelsea remain very much a work in progress and outperforming everyone’s expectations in the standings. Taking things one match at a time however could lead to some further unexpected things as we enter the winter wonderland of wall-to-wall football.
Date / Time: Sunday, November 11, 2018, 14:15 GMT; 9:15 EST; 7:45pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Kevin Friend — Notmyfriend is back for his second Chelsea match of the season, and 25th of his career, after officiating Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the third round of the League Cup back in September.
Forecast: Breezy, wet, but not too cold morning could make way for a few rays of sunshine, even
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); Fubo (affiliate link — USA only)
Chelsea team news: Thanks in part to a fairly strict rotation policy between weekend and midweek matches, Chelsea have managed to complete the first three months of the season without too many major injuries. And with Eden Hazard overcoming his tweaked back after Ashley Young’s scissor tackle, the squad looks to be about as healthy as it’s been all season. All players should be available, though Sarri’s likely to stick with (most of his) usual first-choice lineup.
Thursday’s 1-0 win at BATE — the 17th match in a row unbeaten since the 2-0 loss to Manchester City in the Community Shield — wasn’t pretty or impressive, but it got the job done of guaranteeing Chelsea a spot in the Europa League knockout rounds with two group games to spare. So that takes some distractions away as we enter the classic holiday rush of Premier League fixtures.
Everton team news: The big news for the visitors is that Richarlison trained on Saturday and traveled with the team. Officially, he remains doubtful with the ankle injury he picked up last weekend, but it looks like he will take part in this game after all, at least as a substitute.
One player who definitely will not is Kurt Zouma. The Chelsea loanee established himself as a key player in Marco Silva’s defense alongside Michael Keane. He will likely be replaced by Yerry Mina, who’d be making his first start for the Toffees after his summer arrival from Barcelona.
Everton are in fine form as of late, winning four of five to rise to 9th in the table, just two points behind Manchester United in 8th.
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mersey
Previously: In one of the few straightforward, non-dramatic occasions last season, Chelsea won 2-0 last August at the Bridge.