The previous matchday brought not just a 2-1 win at Villa Park for the Blues, but also an upset for Manchester City in a 1-1 draw against Hull City. Chelsea, hence went on to extend their lead to 7 points over the Citizens.
As we prepare to face Everton in the 25th round of Premier League fixtures, let us have a look at our opponents in our Opposition Scouting Report:
THE TEAM AND THE RECENT FORM
Everton F.C is an English professional football club based in Liverpool, England, who play in the English Premier League. Founded in 1878, they were the founding members of Football League Cup in 1888. The Merseyside club has played in English top flight for a record 110 seasons, playing only four seasons in the second tier, and have been the English champions nine times.
Their most successful period came in mid 1980s when they went on to win 2 League Championships, an FA Cup and the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1985. The last major trophy in their cabinet, came in the 1995 FA Cup.
As far as this season is concerned, The Toffees are placed at 9th position in the league table with 27 points in 24 games played, including 6 wins, 9 draws and 9 losses. In their last 5 games, they have only managed to win 1 game, losing 1 and playing a draw in 3. Their last game, the Merseyside Derby against Liverpool, also ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY
It can be a clash of two 4-2-3-1 systems when we go up against Everton tonight. In 20 of their league games this season, Roberto Martinez has squared up his team in this system. Two defensive midfielders guard the back four, with the left back Leighton Baines making electric runs down the left and being involved in the attack for a large part of the game. Baines being their leading assist maker and second top assist maker in the league goes to show how much the team prefers attacking down the left.
Play-wise, they like to play possession dominating football and needless to say, it includes some extra work in the midfield. Making short passes, their game is non-aggressive. But their opponents often lose their tempo and are forced to play aggressively against them.
STRENGTH- KEY PLAYERS
1. Romelu Lukaku- The Belgian striker hasn’t really defined what he costs to the club with just 7 goals scored this season. But as the stats will tell you, he is their leading goalscorer and the only reliable striker in Martinez’s squad. The Big Belgian seems to have rediscovered his footings in the last few games, in a largely inconsistent season for the Toffees. Terrorising defences with his physicality, he can be the player to watch out for against Chelsea.
2. Kevin Mirallas- The 27-year-old midfielder may have a lot to offer when his side faces the league leaders Chelsea tonight. With a passing accuracy of 87 percent, he has created 14 successful chances and made 1 assist this season. Another one of his strength lies in taking free-kicks and long shots, with 3 out of his 5 goals coming from outside the box. Defensively, he has made 12 tackles and completed 92 percent successfully. The influential forward, if he can overcome his injury problems, can be the key to breaking Chelsea’s defence and provide much-needed fuel to Everton’s machinery.
All of the major problems that the Roberto Martinez’s team is facing at present are because their poor defending. According to whoscored.com, Everton have weaknesses in defending against the skillful players and stopping opponents from creating chances. The bigger problem is in avoiding individual errors, which may result in Everton ending up in giving away a foolish chance to their opponents.
Also, the absence of their leading assist maker Leighton Baines can affect their style of play to a great extent tonight, by making them less effective down the left and putting extra pressure on their 5 midfielders.
HEAD TO HEAD
Throughout their history, the two sides have met 163 times. Chelsea have been victorious on 63 occasions and Everton on 49. On 51 occasions, both have settled for a draw. The last five games have witnessed a clear domination by Chelsea with 4 wins and 1 game ending in the favour of Everton.
This is expected to be an interesting one to watch, just like the corresponding fixture earlier this season that ended with a scoreline of 3-6 with Jose’s team grabbing all the three points. However, we can expect our team to comfortably register yet another win at home. We predict 3-1 to Chelsea. KTBFFH!