Chelsea host Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, February 22nd (4:45 AM Pacific, 12:45 GMT). The last time these two teams faced, Everton came away with the win, scoring just before the end of the first half. Chelsea, who are at the top of the table, cannot afford to give up any points in the second half of the season. Everton are still in contention for a European spot.
Chelsea are coming off of what was an expected loss against powerhouses Manchester City. Having defeated City in the league two weeks ago, they were not going to easily get away with another victory. Despite the loss, they have shown consistent form and are not used to losing this season. The Toffees are coming off of a tough loss against Tottenham. This game could have gone either way, so confidence will not be an issue.
The key player for Chelsea will be Oscar. Having rested for the game against Manchester City, he would love to pick up where he left off. His importance at the beginning of the season led to goals and phenomenal playmaking. His return behind Fernando Torres will determine how effective Chelsea will be able to penetrate the Everton defense.
The key player for Everton is Seamus Coleman. One of the star players of the season so far, the defender has capabilities of bursting forward with extreme pace and is particularly dangerous from distance. He will surely give Eden Hazard and Azpilicueta a hard day at work.
Jose Mourinho, manager for Chelsea, will be excited to match up against Roberto Martinez, Everton’s manager. Both mutually respect each other, so mind games and drama would be a definite surprise.
Chelsea will not hold back with their fully fit squad. Everton on the other hand, have injuries, particularly in the offensive department. Key players like Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone will be missing do to concussion and knee injuries respectively. Chelsea loanee and possible future star is ineligible to play in this game, but is injured regardless.
Chelsea vs Everton Prediction
The game is going to be fought in the midfield. Both teams have young, quick, and dynamic midfielders who will put up an honest fight against each other. I predict a Chelsea win, 2-0. It will not be a blowout, but Everton will eventually give in to the pressure of the world class Chelsea midfield. Everton simply do not have the firepower in front of goal to produce goals.
Chelsea vs Everton Television
The match will be televised NBC Sports Network (US), and BT Sports 1 (UK).