Match Preview: Everton vs Chelsea

Chelsea face the first real test of the season as they travel to Goodison Park to take on Roberto Martinez’s Toffees on Saturday. This was the fixture in which Jose Mourinho’s men had to endure their first defeat of the 2013-2014 season.

Having negotiated their first two matches of the season with ease, Chelsea will be looking towards a tougher battle against Everton. The form of the new signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas has been integral to the success of the last two matches but Filipe Luis is yet to make his Premier League debut. Costa has two goals in two matches while Fabregas has been running the show for Chelsea from midfield with his accurate passing and work rate. However Costa has suffered a hamstring injury during training and is not expected to feature in the starting line-up. There has been no information on how long Costa will take to return to full fitness, but reputed daily Metro suggests it could be as long as six weeks. This could be a big blow for Chelsea as a striker crisis emerges. Fernando Torres has been heavily linked to a move to Milan, and if he is busy preparing for his transfer, he may yet again be left out of the team. This leaves Jose Mourinho with Didier Drogba, who may not be at his legendary best at 36. Andre Schurrle has earlier played as a forward for his former team and may be needed to do the same again as a cover for Drogba.

Eden Hazard is starting to show that he still is a vital cog in the attacking machinery and he proved it with a goal last weekend. Oscar or Willian will be making up the trio along with Hazard and Schurrle. In the centre of the pitch, Matic has been incredible with his interceptions and tackles. His capability of winning the ball back is immensely impressive. While Fabregas beside him has been the ‘hand on the joystick’ for Chelsea. The back four comprising Gary Cahill, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta are in no mood to give up their place in the starting line-up, with consistent performances. Thibaut Courtois kept a clean sheet in his home debut, with a vital one-on-one save against Nugent when the match was scoreless and looks to be the future for Chelsea.

Samuel Eto’o and Romelu Lukaku, former Chelsea strikers, both of whom are believed to be aggrieved with their former employers, will be eager to prove a point. Lukaku especially, who feels he was never really given a fair chance at Chelsea after impressive loan spells at Everton and West Brom will be a tough test for the Chelsea defence. Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu will be ineligible to face his parent club while talented Ross Barkley, Bryan Oviedo, Steven Pienaar amd Arouna Kone are injured.

Expected Starting Line-Up: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Schurrle, Willian; Drogba.

Date/time: Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 17:30 pm BST, 10:00 pm IST.

Venue: Goodison Park, England. Capacity 40,221.

Prediction: Everton 1-2 Chelsea

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