Chelsea host Everton at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, in what will be the Toffees’ first match since the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
Antonio Conte’s men earned their first victory in all competitions since September last week, after they came back from going a goal down in the second half to win 4-2 against Watford. They will no hope to build on the victory and gain some momentum with another positive result against the Toffees.
Everton are currently in a terrible run of form. They are just coming off a 2-5 demolition at the hands of Arsenal at Goodison Park. To add to their woes, Ronald Koeman was sacked immediately afterwards and replaced with David Unsworth. They currently find themselves at 18th place in the Premier League table.
However, on a positive note, the only way from here seems to be up and they would undoubtedly love to start off David Unsworth’s reign as caretaker manager with a victory.
After a difficult and tiring victory on Saturday, it is likely that Antonio Conte will look to give a few of his fringe players some game time in order to allow some key men to take rest. The Italian however, is still expected miss out on the services of N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater, Victor Moses.
Willy Caballero is expected to start ahead of Thibaut Courtois, while Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta are expected to retain their places in the starting XI. David Luiz and Gary Cahill will likely be rested to allow Andreas Christensen and Davide Zappacosta to start tonight.
Kenedy could come into the squad in place of the extremely overworked Marcos Alonso, while Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas as expected to retain their places in the squad, due to a sheer lack of options.
Conte is expected to give Charly Musonda a start in order to rest Eden Hazard and Willian, who came out as a substitute last week, may also play from the very beginning ahead of Pedro, while Michy Batshuayi could be rewarded for his brace on Saturday with a place in the starting lineup
Probable Starting XI (3-4-3): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Zappacosta, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Kenedy; Willian, Batshuayi, Musonda
Idrissa Gueye will miss this match as he will have to serve his suspension for a red card he picked up against Arsenal. Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman are unavailable as they continue to remain sidelined due to injury.
The last time Everton took on the Blues, they deployed a three-man defence. That didn’t quite work out for them, so they may very well choose to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Jordan Pickford should retain his place in goal, while Cuco Martina is expected to come in for Ashley Williams.
Morgan Schneiderlin is now back in contention after sitting out in their loss against Arsenal and he will likely slot into midfield alongside Tom Davies, who should replace the suspended Idrissa Gueye. Neither player started in the loss to Arsenal.
Ademola Lookman is expected to come in at left wing, while Gylfi Sigurdsson should start behind the striker in the hole. Nikola Vlasic will likely take up a spot on the right wing and Wayne Rooney should start as a striker.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Martina, Jagielka, Keane, Baines; Davies, Schneiderlin; Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Lookman; Rooney
- In their last six meetings in all competitions, Chelsea have gotten the better of Everton three times, losing twice and drawing one.
- Including their Europa League Qualifiers, Everton have won only six of their 17 games this season in all competitions.
- Everton have lost to Chelsea the last 8 times they faced each other in this competition.
- Chelsea have faced Everton 12 times at Stamford Bridge in cup competitions, winning nine, losing two, drawing one.
- Chelsea have lost three of their 14 matches across all competitions this season.
Chelsea 2-1 Everton
It remains to be seen how the Everton players take to their new manager and how well they’ve coped with the sacking of Ronald Koeman. They are just coming off a massive thrashing at the hands of Arsenal at home, and will be desperate to try and end their horrid run of form.
While it will be difficult for David Unsworth to get his side to produce magic on the pitch in only 2 days, the Toffees will be aware that the pressure of being favourites can possibly weigh their opponents down and the the fact that Chelsea won’t be fielding a full strength starting XI is something that they could use to their advantage.
However, Conte’s men should come out of this tie victorious. Should they play to their potential, it should be an easy victory and they will be brimming with confidence after the comeback win against Watford last week. We predict that Chelsea will move on to the next round, albeit after a hard fought victory.