After just one win in five matches in all competitions, including back-to-back losses in the Premier League, Chelsea got back on track with Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Next up is an all-too-quick turnaround to a long trip back up north to Merseyside for Saturday’s early kick-off, wherein Everton will be looking to do the same after a terrible run of results has seen them drop into the relegation zone and sack manager Marco Silva after just 18 months in charge.
Trips to Goodison have a tendency to chart very high on the annoying scale and Chelsea haven’t even scored a goal, let alone won here since the end of the 2016-17 season. In fact, we’ve won just twice in the last seven trips in all competitions — two memorable results, 3-0 and 6-3, in our last two title-winning seasons — and left without scoring a goal four times.
Basically, Everton may be a mess at the moment, but this fixture is no fun.
Date / Time: Saturday, December 7, 2019, 12:30 GMT; 7:30am EST: 6pm IST
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Referee: Craig Pawson — few names produce such a negative visceral reaction as Pawson’s but we’ve actually won our last six games with him in charge (before that we had won just 5 of 11), including all five last season.
Forecast: Not terribly cold, but damp and breezy
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); Canal+ Sport 2, SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); HotStar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Everton team news: The appropriately nicknamed Duncan Disorderly takes charge of the disorder that is Everton after 15 games and just 14 points — but if there is one man at the club who should be able to motivate a bit of fan-service out of this under-performing bunch is the club legend. Or at least a symphonic poem. As we know, appointing a club legend is a fantastic way to get fans back onside and back in support, though if Chelsea can score early enough, the goodwill may go goodbye quickly at Goodison.
Given his ties to the youth team, Ferguson may pull a few surprising names out of the hat for his first lineup, but he won’t be able to count on Seamus Coleman, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Andre Gomes, or Cuco Martina, all of whom are out injured, and some for quite a while. Kurt Zouma-replacement Yerry Mina is doubtful with some sort of a knock.
Everton have lost three on the bounce and were absolutely embarrassed in Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss in the Merseyside Derby at Anfield. The only way for them is up, probably.
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mersey
Chelsea team news: Frank Lampard says Tammy Abraham is “good” to go, even if he “didn’t do much” during the 60 or so hours between Wednesday’s final whistle and Saturday’s kick-off. Let’s hope he’s right, as Chelsea are a very different team when the Premier League’s second leading scorer isn’t able to play.
Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Ross Barkley continue to be out. Rudiger is close, Ruben isn’t, and Barkley has moved completely into the doghouse, which was then moved to the bottom level of the Cobham basement, and then locked away in the Pandorica.
With Wednesday’s win, Chelsea maintained our six-point advantage over fifth place (Wolves, currently), kept pace with the rest of the top four, and increased our advantage over both Spurs and Arsenal, ostensibly our two closest rivals for the top four. We’re still conceding at mid-table rates and not scoring consistently, but we’re trying and having fun at least.
Previously: The 6-3 from 2014 remains as one of the more extraordinary results in living memory, especially when you factor in the Mikel back-heel assist.