CHELSEA v Everton: Preview

Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Wednesday, 11 February
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

Tonight’s game sees us at home to Everton, in a fixture we needed a late Frank Lampard goal to edge last season. We might have battered them at the start of this season but their defence has sorted itself sufficiently now to have gone 277 hours without conceding, so this won’t be the walkover that was.
The visitors have several returns from injury that’ll give them more spring in their step and we’ll have to put on a bit more of a show than we did in a narrow and lacklustre win against Villa at the weekend.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into tonight’s game, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho plays down our current position, saying “We are speaking about 42 points, that’s a lot of points. But we know that we have seven points more than the second, ten to the third and 14 to the fourth. We depend upon ourselves, we don’t have to be under pressure every weekend trying to know the results of Southampton or Manchester City or Manchester United or Liverpool. We simply don’t care about it, we do our work and we try to win our matches. And in this moment every match we win, every point we get, we get a little bit closer, but it’s still too far.
I try to read and to anticipate the game and the opponent. I try to read the condition of our players. I try to share information with my staff, with the medical staff, to try to feel if some players are in a risky situation, if some players need a rest, if some players need more minutes on the pitch, and it try to keep a little balance. As you know, at the moment our squad is a squad of 16 players and five very young players. Five kids that are under 19 and come from the academy and these kids are in a learning process. We have a very short squad, we don’t have a squad like other teams in the Premier League with options. options, options. We rely a lot on this group of players which we have.
The players that stay in the team from season to season give us the stability and the spine, the structure of what we want. In my opinion we did good work by bringing in a couple of players to improve the team and with more maturity, a little bit more solutions, the team had a revolution, not just in the results, because in the results I think we have a few more points than we had last season, but last season we had a good Premier League too. More than that is the identity of our game, the quality of our game, the beauty of our game. And this is a very important step, because as you know a winning team will be always a winning team, but the winning team with very good quality in its game is something more.”

Everton boss Roberto Martinez meanwhile, says “Going to Chelsea, I think you need to be outstanding in everything you do. We have to defend well, stop them from playing and having a threat, we have to get on the ball and control the game, we can’t give them the ball cheaply, and we have to find a way to break them down and score goals. They are really dangerous, but we are going there with a clear mentality of wanting to be ourselves and build on what we have produced in the last three performances, and our intention is to try to win.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, John Obi Mikel (knee) misses out through injury, whilst Costa sees out the last game of a three match ban. Filipe Luis (calf) and Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) are available again.
For Everton, Aiden McGeady (knee),Tony Hibbert (unspecified), Leon Osman (foot) and Steven Pienaar (knee) are all out and Christian Atsu is ineligible to play against us. Leighton Baines (knee) and James McCarthy (hamstring) face late tests But Tim Howard (calf) returns.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Remy
EVERTON (Possible line-up): Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Coleman, Besic, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Lennon, Lukaku

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 1-0 Everton (22nd February 2014)

OTHER STUFF
■Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 19 at home to Everton in the league
■Everton’s last win at Stamford Bridge in the league was 1994
■Chelsea have won six of their last 16 against Everton in the league
■Chelsea have won 32 and lost just one of their last 39 at Stamford Bridge in the league.
■Chelsea have kept 15 clean sheets in their last 19 Premier League home games
■Everton ended a run of five consecutive away defeats in the league with victory at Crystal Palace in their last game on the road.
■Everton have drawn five of their last six games in all competitions

PREDICTION
The reverse fixture was a bit of a breeze earlier in the season but we had Diego Costa available then and Everton’s defence had more holes than a tramps vest. Neither of those seem to be the case now and the worry is they’ll drag at least a point out of us.

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