Chelsea will travel to Goodison Park on Saturday to take on Everton. The match will kick off from Merseyside at 9:30 AM PST (12:30 PM EST).
With both squads unbeaten through two matches, this fixture will certainly prove to be vital in the early-goings of this Premier League season. The Blues currently boast six points, and sit tied atop England’s top flight, while Everton have drawn their opening two games.
Managers Roberto Martinez (Everton) and Jose Mourinho (Chelsea) will need to recognize the importance of this match, but at the same time remain cautious. Neither team will want to drop points, especially the Evertonians, who are already four points behind the league’s leaders.
Chelsea Team News
Saturday’s match against Everton will be Chelsea’s biggest test thus far in a young Premier League season. No disrespect to Burnley or Leicester City, but Everton pose a much bigger threat to the Blues in the long run.
Chelsea haven’t had any issues finding the back of the net, scoring five goals in their opening two fixtures. Two of those goals coming by way of offseason acquisition Diego Costa. The Spaniard looked very comfortable out there for Mourinho’s side, but unfortunately Chelsea will likely be without Costa for several weeks. Sky Sports News reported Thursday that the 25 year old is currently battling a “muscular issue”, but would not specify as to what the injury is.
This could prove to be a dilemma for the Londoners, who don’t have great depth at the striker position. Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba are currently the two other number nines in Chelsea’s team. Neither man lacks confidence or experience, but it’s clear that their best years are well in the past. If Costa’s injury proves to be nagging, don’t be surprised if Mourinho looks to the transfer market for assistance before Monday’s deadline.
Everton Team News
While Costa’s injury is a big blow to the Chelsea team, Everton are clearly receiving the brunt of the injuries woes at the moment. On Tuesday, Everton added Samuel Eto’o to bolster the attack. With forward Arouna Kone still battling injury, Eto’o will add experience and pace up top in the interim.
The Merseyside squad’s biggest loss though is undoubtedly midfielder Ross Barkley. The Englishman’s presence is being missed greatly at the moment, in an Everton midfield that lacks depth. It was originally reported that Barkley would miss five months with a knee injury, but speculations are that he may return in as soon as two months. Nonetheless, Martinez’ men will be missing key pieces of their team on Saturday afternoon.
(GK) Courtois, (RB) Ivanovic, (CB) Cahill, (CB) Terry, (LB) Azpilicueta, (CDM) Fabregas, (CDM) Matic, (CM) Oscar, (RM) Schurrle, (LM) Hazard, (ST) Drogba
(GK) Howard, (RB) Coleman, (CB) Jagielka, (CB) Distin, (LB) Baines, (CDM) McCarthy, (CDM) Barry, (CM) Naismith, (RM) Mirallas, (LM) Pienaar, (ST) Lukaku
Everton gave Arsenal everything that they could handle last weekend, but Chelsea look to be one of the best, if not the best squad in England at the moment. Costa’s absence could prove to be the decider in the fixture, but it’s hard to believe that Chelsea won’t be able to break down the Toffees’ back line. Everton do have the benefit of playing at home, in a Merseyside ground that can be very troublesome for away sides. In the end, I believe that this match will finish 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes.
This match will televised on NBC at 9:30 AM PST (12:30 PM EST).