Chelsea will be hoping to close down the gap to third-placed Manchester City when they clash against a struggling Everton side at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Chelsea will take a trip to Goodison Park this weekend as they gear up to take on relegation-threatened Everton in matchweek 16 of the 2019-20 Premier League.

Everton find themselves in troubled waters as they sit in the 18th place in the table with only 14 points from 15 games. The Toffees have lost their previous three matches and following this week’s 5-2 thrashing at the hands of rivals Liverpool, Marco Silva was sacked from the managerial position, with club legend Duncan Ferguson being placed in temporary charge.

Amid reports of former manager David Moyes taking over the reins at Goodison Park again, Ferguson will be hoping to arrest the downslide for the time he remains in charge. But, his task will not be made easy by a confident Chelsea side, who come into the game after ending their three-game winless run in all competitions with a 2-1 triumph against Aston Villa.

Frank Lampard’s side are currently fourth in the Premier League table, three points below Manchester City in the third place. And the Blues’ legend will want to guide his team to a victory at Goodison Park and put the reigning champions under pressure ahead of the Manchester derby later in the day.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Duncan Ferguson (R) will take charge of Everton against Chelsea (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Duncan Ferguson (R) will take charge of Everton against Chelsea (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Everton will be without the services of Andre Gomes, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Cuco Martina and Fabian Delph when Chelsea come visiting, while Seamus Coleman is also ruled out. Yerry Mina is a minor doubt with an injury, but is expected to be fit. The Toffees fielded a five-man backline against Liverpool but Ferguson is expected to set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Chelsea.

There is no looking past England international Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal, while Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne should all keep their places in defence. Djibril Sidibe had a stinker against Liverpool, but with Coleman’s involvement being a doubt, he is likely to be retained at right-back again.

Morgan Schneiderlin is likely to come into the starting XI to add more security in the middle of the park. He should be partnered by Tom Davies in the midfield double pivot for Everton. Gylfi Sigurdsson was pretty ineffective in the last game, but is likely to be given another go on Saturday as the Toffees’ No. 10.

Theo Walcott was on the bench for the last game, but could get the nod on the right flank against Chelsea while Richarlison will carry the Toffees’ chief goal threat from the left wing. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is likely to lead the line for the home team ahead of Moise Kean and Cenk Tosun once again.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne; Davies, Schneiderlin; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin

Chelsea

Tammy Abraham is fit and available for the game after coming off with a knock against Aston Villa, while Ross Barkley, who hasn’t played since October, is also back in the reckoning for Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger has stepped up his recovery, but Saturday’s game comes to soon for the German. Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains a long-term absentee.

Barkley is fit again ahead of Everton return (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Barkley is fit again ahead of Everton return (Photo by Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images)

Lampard will have an eye on the all-important Champions League clash against Lille next week, and with Everton struggling at the moment, the weekend game should give the Blues’ manager a chance to rotate his troops and give some of his players a well-deserved rest.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is a certainty to feature in goal, but there could be a couple of changes in defence. Fikayo Tomori should be recalled to the side at Andreas Christensen’s expense, while Reece James could be given a breather as well, which could see Cesar Azpilicueta move to right-back, with Emerson Palmieri returning at left-back.

Lampard will definitely rotate his midfielders, with Jorginho set to return to the lineup after being benched against Aston Villa. The Italian will start alongside N’Golo Kante in the double pivot, with Mateo Kovacic getting a rest. Mason Mount ought to slot in as the No. 10 for the Blues at Goodison Park.

Willian should hold on to his spot on the right flank, while Lampard could consider resting Christian Pulisic ahead of the Lille game, which would see Callum Hudson-Odoi getting the nod on Saturday afternoon. With Abraham fit, he should continue as Chelsea’s striker ahead of Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi; Abraham

Key Stats

  • Everton won this exact fixture 2-0 back in March, and are looking to secure consecutive league wins against Chelsea for the first time since November 1994.
  • Chelsea have failed to score in their last three Premier League games against Everton (D2 L1) – they’ve never gone four consecutive games without a goal against an opponent in the competition, last doing so in the top-flight against Bolton (1958-1960).
  • Everton have won six of their last 10 home league games against Chelsea (D1 L3) – more than they had in their previous 24 against them at Goodison Park in the top-flight (W5 D10 L9).
  • Chelsea have scored 19 goals in their seven away league games this season – they have never scored more after seven games on the road in a single league campaign (level with 1966-67 and 2008-09). The Blues are averaging 6.7 shots on target per away game this season, their highest in a Premier League campaign since at least 2003-04.
  • Against no side has Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored more Premier League goals than he has against Chelsea (5).

Player to Watch

Tammy Abraham

Chelsea's man in form (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea’s man in form (Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

The 22-year-old Chelsea academy graduate has made a scintillating start to the 2019-20 campaign, as he finds himself in the upper echelons of the Premier League goalscoring charts, with 11 strikes to his name. Abraham has been a vital cog for Frank Lampard’s side this season and his absence was felt last weekend, when the Blues succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United.

Back in the midweek clash against Aston Villa, Abraham played a critical role in Chelsea’s win as he scored and assisted a goal apiece. He will once again be integral to Lampard’s plans as the West Londoners look to come away with all the three points from Goodison Park on Saturday.

Prediction

Everton 1-2 Chelsea

Despite Everton being down in the dumps, Goodison Park will be buzzing on Saturday as club legend Duncan Ferguson takes charge of the team after the sacking of Marco Silva. The crowd will be completely behind their team, which should be a big motivating factor, as the Toffees look to get things back on track.

Chelsea, on the other hand, will be hoping to make the most of Everton’s dismal run of form as they look to strengthen their place in the Premier League top four. The win against Aston Villa ended a three-match run without a victory for Frank Lampard’s side, which should fill them with confidence ahead of the trip to Goodison Park.

Chelsea have had problems defensively, especially away from home, which Everton can definitely exploit. However, the Blues’ attack is loaded with quality and moreover, Tammy Abraham’s superlative form should give them an advantage, which is why we at The Hard Tackle predict Chelsea to return with three points from Merseyside.

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