Chelsea have only won four times at Goodison Park over the past decade, one of which was in the League Cup, and only twice in the last seven visits. But both of those wins came in title-winning seasons, and we might even remember them fondly. The last one was in 2016-17, when Pedro’s SCREAMAH put Conte’s Chelsea within touching distance of the trophy. The one before then was the 6-3 (not a typo) at the start of the 2014-15, which featured, amongst other things, a backheel assist from Mikel John Obi.
Unfortunately, besides those two memorable trips, our visits to Goodison have ended mostly in frustration, disappointment, and even anger. Our combined scoreline at Goodison since 2015 reads 6:12, and that’s including the 3-0 win from 2017. Mateo Kovacic’s goal last season was our first at Goodison in three tries.
Those are the sorts of omens we need to overcome against Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton this weekend.
Date / Time: Saturday, December 12, 2020, 20.00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Referee: Jonathan Moss (on pitch); Andre Marriner (VAR)
Forecast: Cold and damp
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA) — Peacock is NBC’s new streaming service, which they continue to push annoyingly hard though Xfinity customers get it for free (still counts against your data). Others have to pay $5/month or $50/year ($10 & $100 for the premium ad-free version). Comcast is the parent company of NBC and an investor in Vox/SB Nation. Here’s our affiliate link if you want to make our corporate overlords happy.
Everton team news: Carlo Ancelotti took over almost a year ago now, and was able to entice some very good talent to come over in the summer, including former Real Madrid superstar “Silent” James Rodriguez and Napoli midfield general Allan. Watford’s Aboulaye Doucoure joined as well, as did young defenders Niels Nkounkou from Marseille and Ben Godfrey from Norwich. They were also able to shift a lot of deadwood, including the likes of Cuco Martina, Oumar Niasse, Morgan Schneiderlin, Sandro Ramirez, and Theo Walcott, while promising but unsettled forward Moise Kean joined PSG on loan.
And the summer spree looked to have done wonders, with Ancelotti earning Premier League Manager of the Month awards in September. Everton were flying high at the top of the league for about a month, before a classic Ancelotti “bad moment” hit. They have now lost four of their last six Premier League matches, including their last two at home (to Leeds and Manchester United).
Everton were of course in terrible form this time last season as well, and were under interim management in fact. But while they won’t be all brute force and power like under Duncan Ferguson, Ancelotti’s teams are always dangerous in attack and that’s no different this time. Richarlison, Silent James, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have a combined 21 goals in all competitions already, with the latter leading the Premier League with 11 goals in 11 appearances, which accounts for more than half the 20 goals they’ve scored so far.
UPDATE: James has since been ruled out with a calf injury!
Everton confirm James Rodriguez part of triple injury blow before Chelsea #EFC https://t.co/Z4kqh4OrPB— Everton FC News (@LivEchoEFC) December 11, 2020
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mersey
Chelsea team news: Tuesday’s draw made it 17 unbeaten (save for a penalty shootout), and our next non-loss will equal our longest such run since Mourinho went 21 unbeaten at the start of 2014-15. All such runs eventually come to an end of course, and it will likely feel very frustrating when this one does as well.
To help us avoid that, Lampard will be hoping that the players and strategies that have gotten us to this point will continue performing up to par, or even above that. We will however have to make do without either Hakim Ziyech or Callum Hudson-Odoi, while Christian Pulisic’s hamstrings are on tornado watch.
With European matches done until the spring, it is now all eyes on the Premier League and the budding title and top-four/six fight. We’re right in the middle of that now; the minimum aim has to be to at least stay in there as we navigate the festive calendar. Titles cannot be won in the winter, but they sure can be lost.
(This game will follow the Manchester Derby, while all three of Spurs, Liverpool, and Leicester City only play on Sunday.)
Previously: Our last win here was a 3-0 by Conte’s Chelsea, in the spring of 2017.