The Premier League is considered the best and the most competitive league in the world, and there is a reason for that. Everton, the high-flyers of last year, gave Arsenal a run for their money for the last Champions League spot in the previous season. With the addition of the record signing Romelu Lukaku, Roberto Martinez’s side was expected to take the league by storm this season, at least in the theory they were!
Currently sitting in the bottom half of the table, just 7 points above the relegation battle, the Toffees are all but out from the fight of Champions League spots. Finishing the season in the top half of the table would be their main priority now, disappointing as it is! So much for the hype!
So, with the hope to salvage at least a point from the league leaders in their own backyard, Roberto Martinez’s men are all set to visit Stamford Bridge in a midweek Premier League clash with Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho’s men managed to break the curse by beating Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park. Also, with the return of Cesc Fabregas tomorrow, they would be full of confidence going into this fixture, although Diego Costa is still “suspended”.
Everton has always been a sort of a bogey team for the Blues in the past. And in no way is this fixture going to be a walk in the park for the Blues with the Toffees having plenty of players capable of producing a “magical moment”.
If the reverse fixture (6-3) is anything to go by, this certainly guarantees to be an entertaining game that brings us to the key player battles. There will be plenty of battles going on all over the pitch but the important ones that are most likely to influence the outcome of this game and certainly more exciting to watch out than others are given below:
EDEN HAZARD Vs SEAMUS COLEMAN
In the absence of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa in the last two fixtures, most of the creative burden had come on the shoulders of Eden hazard. The little Belgian has thus been rendered ineffective as opposed to his previous performances.
Now, with Cesc Fabregas back to the side, Eden Hazard will have the opportunity to be more natural and carefree in his role when he starts at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. This could be a very, very bad news for Seamus Coleman on the Right Back.
Seamus Coleman has been a regular member of Roberto Martinez’s side this season. Although he is not as adventurous as his counter-part Leighton Baines, the Irishman is still pretty solid in defense, something the visitors would need, when coming up against one of the best in the world.
Everyone knows Eden Hazard’s ability to dribble with speed and cut inside from the flanks with exorbitant pace. His deadly skills are second to none in the league, and the only way to stop the Belgian on his run is to foul him, probably why he is the most fouled player in the PL.
When in top form, Hazard can combine really well with Fabregas, as we have seen all season long. It could be one tough task, nearly impossible if I may say for Seamus Coleman to stop him if the Belgian does come out all cylinders firing. The anticipation of watching Hazard’s play is simply hair-raising and this could be one battle you just have to keep your eye on as it will most likely influence the outcome of this game!
LOIC REMY Vs PHIL JAGIELKA
When Phil Jagielka is the best Centre-back of your side, there’s got to be something wrong with your squad! With no disrespect to Jagielka, he is a fine defender but I would have loved to see him come up against Diego Costa after the Spaniard left him for dead on several occasions at Goodison Park in August.
But no worries, we might not have the Spaniard at our disposal but we certainly have a perfect backup replacement in the shape of Loic Remy. The Frenchman started from the bench against Villa on the weekend and gave the defenders a run for their money when he came on as a substitute, something we expect him to do again when he starts tomorrow against Jagielka and Co.
Loic Remy, with his pace, is perfect for running behind defenders and going through on goal when given a little space at the backline. With Everton, expected to play a more open game than Aston Villa, the Striker will have plenty of opportunities to get in behind Jagielka and Stones and have a sight on goal making this battle an important one and certainly exciting to look out for at the Bridge tomorrow.
ROMELU LUKAKU vs JOHN TERRY
The homecoming for the big Belgian?
A good ovation from the Stamford Bridge’s faithful?
Oh, who am I kidding anyway! The guy left us for another Premier League club leaving some sour taste in the mouth among us. He ain’t a legend like Lampard or a fan favorite like Mata either! He would be just another opposition player when he sets foot in the arena tomorrow and John Terry, of all people, would know that.
Romelu Lukaku, the self-proclaimed “complete Striker”, has managed just 7 goals so far this season in the Everton shirt which isn’t acceptable by any means considering what he cost to the club, but given that he will be up against his old club, the Belgian would certainly be extra motivated to perform for Roberto Martinez and his side.
Coming up against John Terry would surely be a tough ask for the young Striker who would certainly look to use his strength and pace when he comes up against the English veteran at the back. John Terry might not have the age on his side, but the Englishman is still going strong week after week. Coming up against Romelu Lukaku wouldn’t be something he would lose his night’s sleep for and the defender is expected to keep the big man quite at the Bridge tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be an exciting battle to watch out for! Lukaku at Stamford Bridge against Terry and Co. wouldn’t be something you wanna miss! So do watch out for it!
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Edited By: Vikram