The US sports scene is currently gripped by the opening weekend of the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, a.k.a. March Madness, a time defined by momentum, shock results and upsets. It’s the best (sports) time of the year on this side of the Pond, in part because of the unpredictability — these guys aren’t professionals, they’re by and large just university students.
Many of Chelsea’s current stars wouldn’t look out of place in a college-age crowd either, but hopefully we can keep our current focus and mentality going. Three wins on the bounce and yet another relegation-threatened team coming up next (there are quite a few of them in this year’s Premier League!).
Top-four may be out of reach, but top-six could still be a possibility. Above all, winning is a habit and good habits (and good vibes) must be maintained.
Date / Time: Saturday, March 18, 2023, 17.30 GMT; 1:30pm EDT; 11pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Darren England (on pitch); Chris Kavanagh (VAR)
Forecast: the rain might let up by then
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); USA, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: The big news is that N’Golo Kante might be ready to feature in a competitive match for the first time since late August. Obviously (hopefully) we’re not going to rush him back so we’re talking a
substitute impacter appearance at most — we’ve taken our time throughout this long journey, so let’s not ruin it now — but clearly we need him to be fit and firing on all cylinders in a month’s time when we take on Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals. Everything else until then is preparation.
Thiago Silva (knee), Cesar Azpilicueta (concussion), Mason Mount (pubis), Raheem Sterling (hamstring), and Armando Broja (ACL) remain out as well. Everyone else should be available, which still means an embarrassment of riches in many positions for the head coach given our bloated squad.
Everton team news: We started the season with a narrow 1-0 win over Everton. Safe to say that things haven’t gone the way either team would’ve wanted since then. It was Thomas Tuchel vs. Frank Lampard then, now it’s Graham Potter vs. Sean Dyche. Brand new ballgame — certainly for the Toffees.
Dyche has won 3 of this 7 games in charge — including wins over Arsenal, Leeds United, and Brentford last weekend — a significant improvement on what had come before, and in fact a better win percentage (small sample size aside) than Dyche had with either Watford or Burnley. This has seen Everton climb out of the relegation zone, though they’re only safe by a point at the moment, and with most of the teams below them having a match in-hand as well. While they won’t be expecting to get anything out of this game, anything they do get out of it is pure gravy.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the only major absentee for the visitors, but considering he’s hardly been available all season, that’s not a significant setback. Demarai Gray leads the team in scoring with 4 — Everton are tied with Southampton and Wolves for the lowest-scoring sides in the league.
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mersey
Previously: Good vibes all around