Chelsea vs Everton

Saturday, 7 March, 2020 77comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

Lucas Digne is fit but will have to dislodge Leighton Baines who has been impressive over the last two games

Everton are back in London to face down another away-day demon when they play Chelsea in a Sunday afternoon kick-off.

Of the unwanted barren stretches without a win on the grounds of the so-called “big six”, the Blues' record at Stamford Bridge stands as the longest at 26 years. It was 1994 when Paul Rideout struck the winner for Joe Royle's team and since then, the closest an Everton side has come to beating Chelsea on their own turf was under Roberto Martinez when a controversial stoppage-time equaliser ensured the game ended 3-3.

Carlo Ancelotti remarked before the recent visit to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium that his new club's poor sequence of results in fixtures like this was enough to make him cry. He wasn't able to secure a win in that match despite Dominic Calvert-Lewin handing him a first-minute lead but he will be hoping for better when he returns to the scene of his Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010.

The Italian says that he is excited to return to a place that gave him some “fantastic memories” but becoming the first Everton manager to taste victory in this fixture for over two and a half decades will be uppermost in his mind.

He will be without Seamus Coleman who suffered a soft-tissue injury in the first half of last weekend's controversial 1-1 draw with Manchester United but has Djibril Sidibé ready to step in as a ready-made replacement.

On the opposite side of defence, Lucas Digne is available again after missing the last two games with a minor injury but the Frenchman would do well to dislodge Leighton Baines who has been excellent as his deputy.

At centre-half, Ancelotti has another decision to make given how well Michael Keane performed alongside Mason Holgate against Man Utd but he could see fit to add Yerry Mina's height and threat from corners back into the team.

It also remains to be seen whether he persists with the three-man central midfield unit that he used last Sunday, where Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson at times looked an awkward fit. The boss as shown great faith in the latter and, with Bernard most often used at home, it could be that the Icelander continues in the starting XI.

For Chelsea, Jorginho is suspended and Frank Lampard, who will be reunited with his former manager, has Mateo Kovacic ruled out with an Achilles tendon injury, Willian also doubtful with a similar foot problem, as well as fitness concerns over Tammy Abraham, Andreas Christensen, N'Golo Kanté and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek could pass fitness tests but there is speculation that fullback Marcos Alonso could start in midfield, with former Blue Ross Barkley and youth sensation Billy Gilmour also in the mix for selection.

Given how well Chelsea performed at home against Spurs two weeks ago and then against a strong Liverpool line-up in the FA Cup, this looks likely to be the stern test for Everton that it usually is.

Those injuries that Lampard is having to contend with might play into Ancelotti's hands as he seeks to pick up points after taking just one from the last six in Everton's quest for European qualification.

Kick-off: 2pm, Sunday, 8 March, 2020
Referee: Kevin Friend
VAR: Martin Atkinson
Last Time: Chelsea 0-0 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Sidibé, Mina, Holgate, Baines, Gomes, Delph, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin


Reader Comments (77)

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Mark Murphy
1 Posted 07/03/2020 at 07:12:03
Do you mean home against Tottenham?

Looking forward to this one – sooner or later we are going to enjoy an away day both inside and outside the pub!

Robert Tressell
2 Posted 07/03/2020 at 08:42:01
With Sidibé at right-back, I'd be very tempted to play Holgate in midfield. We'll be defending deeper at their place, which suits Keane in particular. Holgate can cover Sidibé and give us some speed against a very good Chelsea midfield. He will complement Davies and Gomes better.
Mike Kehoe
3 Posted 07/03/2020 at 08:58:15
Nothing to fear here. With a manager of Ancelotti's pedigree, it is only a matter of time until these poor returns are finished. I'm always weary of optimism but next season we will be a totally different proposition.
Kev Gibbs
4 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:06:02
The way Ancelotti has got the team playing, we have nothing to fear. We could easily get our first win there for years. The words VAR and Martin Atkinson, however, fill me with dread.
Ricky Oak
5 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:12:12
Hate to be pessimistic, but what Kev just said. That's what we're up against, and have been since the red shite got us kicked from Europe. I'm expecting exactly the same treatment today, although hope springs eternal.
Lenny Kingman
6 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:14:43
Ancelotti has won many games at the Bridge. Tomorrow would be a good time to win another.

I was there once when we won, first game of the 78-79 season. 1-0 if my memory is correct, Andy King. Spent most of the game repelling invaders of a Chelsea persuasion as they tried to pile in the open end. After the game, on the King's Road and then the tube station battle. Quite a day in London town that was.

Ancelotti's Blues to get something tomorrow. 1-1 or more preferably 2-1.

Rob Hooton
7 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:19:33
I had a vivid dream last night, Calvert-Lewin scored 2 and we then missed a penalty. It was 2-2 near the end and Kean scored a winner and we beat Chelsea 3-2.

Both teams are scoring and leaking goals, if I place a bet on the above it will be 0-0 so I'll keep my money in my pocket!

Brian Williams
8 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:23:20
Rob #7.

Jeez, I wish I could have dreams like that. I have to put up with a recurring one involving Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Anniston, and neither of 'em play for us in it!

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:27:09
If I had to choose between Davies and Sigurdsson, it would take about two seconds with Davies getting the shirt.

I'd leave Holgate at centre back and pair him with, after another two seconds of thought, Mina to see if he can start getting his act together.

It won't happen but I'd play both Digne and Baines, with one of them going into midfield alongside Davies and Gomes, with Delph on the bench, ready to come on.

Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:37:45
Chelsea will only play one up top, probably Giroud. Mina or Keane could cope with him, but it is the runs of Pedro, Willian, Barkley or Mount which will test our porous backline.

Sidibe is simply a fish out of water at right-back. I would play Davies there but, if Digne is fit, I would switch Baines to the right.

George Cumiskey
12 Posted 07/03/2020 at 09:44:07
Surely Sigurdsson can't be picked again... he's been woeful, especially away from home. He's not being selected because of his price tag, is he? Surely not.
Tony Everan
13 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:02:52
i agree with the comments about Sigurdsson and Davies. I also would put Mason into the defensive central midfielder role. If we win or match the midfield battle, we will win this game.

With Sigurdsson forced into the team, it is a square peg into a round hole. As a result, I think Cheslea will get too much of the ball in midfield and it will be like the first half against Man Utd last week.

I can see Carlo out-thinking Lampard for this game and we will get the win.

Prediction: Chelsea 1 Everton 3

James Hughes
14 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:10:52
Mark Burton
15 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:11:25
VAR and Martin Atkinson. Nearly as bad as VAR and Jon Moss, but then again Chelsea don't wear red so we might get lucky. 0-2 is what I predict with Richarlison getting the first on a counter-attack. COYB
Niall McIlhone
16 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:12:11
Lenny @6: Thanks for that anecdote. Yes, that sums up the experience of the time. I recall going to a midweek game at Stamford Bridge, a very cold night in which Bob Latchford was being kicked and elbowed off the park by their gargantuan centre half, Mickey Droy. Big Bob had the last laugh though, converting his only real chance of the night to give us a 0-1 victory. Happy days.

So, 26 years eh, Lyndon? That's embarrassing. That said, with a fair wind and a bit of luck, they are beatable, but we need to show desire from the "off". I would like us to go 4-4-2 with Kean up front with Calvert-Lewin but I think Carlo might go with a 4-5-1 set-up to stifle midfield.

Mike Allison
17 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:13:39
I like the call of playing Holgate in midfield, although I don't see it happening as it would mean snubbing players like Delph or Davies. Perhaps Holgate could be right back with a more defensive brief than Sidibé, who might even play in front of him.

In Carlo's early games, we played a strange hybrid of 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 depending on whether we were in possession or not. This would suit a right side of Holgate and Sidibé together.

Jay Wood

18 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:41:58
That's a really good piece in the Daily Mail in the build up to this game on the close relationship between the two managers, forged in their time together at Chelsea.

It highlights just how cute and astute a manager we have in Carlo Ancelotti. He looked at what was available to him, tweaked the formation which resulted in Lampard returning his best ever goal haul – 27, for a midfielder! – and a league and cup double.

Well worth a read.

Mick Conalty
19 Posted 07/03/2020 at 10:41:59
Could we have a nice comfy chair put in the 6-yard box, for Sigurdsson to watch the game? Instead of having to sit on the floor like last week against Man Utd.
Ajay Gopal
20 Posted 07/03/2020 at 11:06:26
Our midfield is the most unsettled part of the XI, and Ancellotti I think has been pulling out his hair to arrive at the right combination. With the players available, I would go with a midfield 4 of: Davies, Delph, Gomes and Bernard, to give a right balance of flair, energy, ball retention and creativity. With probably, Iwobi, Sigurdsson or Walcott coming on to help out a tiring Bernard or Gomes.

My starting XI and subs bench:

Sidibé Keane Holgate Digne
Davies Delph Gomes Bernard
Richarlison Calvert-Lewin

Subs: Virginia, Mina, Baines, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Walcott, Kean.

Kunal Desai
21 Posted 07/03/2020 at 11:34:12
On paper, we should win tomorrow. Our lineup against theirs (albeit injury-hit) is a no-brainer.

However, the mental side remains an issue, hopefully eradicated over the summer; I don't see us winning tomorrow.

Jerome Shields
22 Posted 07/03/2020 at 11:49:31
Holgate is a must in midfield. Sigurdsson out, Everton can't afford a passenger in this game. Walcott. . . because we appear to have nothing else.
Jim Bennings
23 Posted 07/03/2020 at 12:07:18
Regardless of what players we select, the simple fact everyone misses here is the following.

Usually in these types of away matches, we beat ourselves by throwing stupid goals away. You can't expect to win big games doing that – no matter what personnel is on the turf.

And second of all, mentally, can our players get over a hurdle of not beating Chelsea away since what seems like ancient times ago when greyhounds used to run around the Stamford Bridge pitch and Dennis Wise scuttled around in a Chelsea shirt like a petulant schoolyard wind-up merchant???

The mental hurdle of winning one of these matches is now so huge, it would take a mile-long pole vault to jump over.

Tony Everan
24 Posted 07/03/2020 at 12:07:26
Interview with André Gomes on Football Focus at 12-30 today if anyone is interested.
Mike Oates
25 Posted 07/03/2020 at 12:11:13
I don't see Ancelotti being the type to make drastic changes in playing players out of their normal positions. He hasn't played Holgate, Baines, or Digne in midfield ever from the start of a match and won't tomorrow; he hasn't played Holgate or Baines at right-back and won't tomorrow.

I'm not sure over the 90 mins last week that Davies did enough to cement his place, nor Sigurdsson, and clearly Bernard is not favoured away in big matches, so I reckon he'll only make 2 or 3 changes to last week's line-up. I suspect we'll see:

Sidibé, Keane, Holgate, Digne,
Walcott, Gomes, Delph, Iwobi,
Richarlison, Calvert- Lewin.

I can't see us not conceding again so I'll go for a 1-1 scoreline and, if luck is on our side, a sneaky 1-2 win.

Derek Knox
26 Posted 07/03/2020 at 12:18:34
Thanks, Tony @ 24, I will get on to that!
Jimmy Salt
27 Posted 07/03/2020 at 12:23:50
I don't think we will win tomorrow.

Which means I should have a bet on Chelsea.

Which means we will win


Jay Wood

28 Posted 07/03/2020 at 13:13:39
I agree with Mike's thinking @ 25.

I hope Everton hasve secured Mason Holgate on an extended contract to continue playing him in his default position: centre-back.

Yes, he has had spells at both full-back positions, a single appearance away to Man Utd as a defensive midfielder under Big Dunc due to an injury crisis, and was placed there again away to Watford for the final 20 minutes in a tactical reshuffle forced on Carlo following Delph's sending-off.

I don't understand the calls to give him a starting berth in midfield. We have players who can do that job. Play Mason in his best position.

I think any selection including Bernard away is also likely to be wrong. On the Brazilian ESPN site, there was an article on the wee man in which Carlo was quoted with the following:

"I know my players very well, I know their qualities and also their defects. Perhaps because, at home, we are more able to control the ball, Bernard is really good with the ball and did his part very well against Crystal Palace when he scored the first goal.

"When we are not able to dominate the game, it is more difficult for him to prove his quality. When we have control, everything is easier for him. Maybe for that reason I play him at home, but not away.

"He doesn't have to convince me, I already know that he is a good player and important for us."

Kevin Prytherch
29 Posted 07/03/2020 at 13:21:44
I agree with Jay. I think our best centre-back should be played at centre-back.
Rob Hooton
30 Posted 07/03/2020 at 14:10:21
I agree with the calls to keep Holgate at centre-back – he is calm, composed and getting better. The fact he is a better midfielder than some of our midfielders shows where we need to improve!
Jay Evans
31 Posted 07/03/2020 at 14:16:09
What our man in Brazil 🇧🇷 said.

Don't move Holgate.

Our deficiencies in midfield are obvious but don't move our best centre-half. All that does is weaken an already suspect part of our team even further.

Sorry for repeating what others have said but, similar to the Arsenal game a few weeks back, our biggest problem is ourselves.

We should be fresher than them tomorrow but I still don't think we'll win. Score draw for me, possibly 2-2 but I'd love to be wrong.

Onward Evertonians. Full support. 💙

Jim Bennings
32 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:18:15
If results remain the same, we are going into two tough games in 12th place, which is hugely disappointing yet again.

It's okay talking players up and saying "We are heading in the right direction" but it's another season of no real change so far, and I think what we as fans need, and what Ancelotti needs, is a really big result against one of the top sides.

We need to start putting some of the talk on the pitch and start producing better results. After the derby, we then face a long three week break off due to Norwich being in the FA Cup quarterfinals.

If we go into April rooted in the bottom 7, then it's not going to be very positive feeling.

Patrick McFarlane
33 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:24:30
I'm certain that some posters on here are fully paid up "The End is Nigh" placard carriers. It's of little use getting worked up about things we can't control.

One day, we might once again be challenging at the top but we all knew before Christmas it probably wouldn't be this current season.

Life is short but it's even shorter if you dwell on what it should be, rather than what it is.

Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:36:12
James #14, that's a great article in the Mail, thanks for posting the link.

I'm enjoying watching a similar matchup right now, Arteta vs. Moyes. These meetings of old friends are always interesting.

And a correct VAR decision probably decides the outcome. Who woulda thunk it.

Mike Oates
35 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:55:23
Too many teams (Arsenal, Sheffield Utd, Wolves, Man Utd) above us, winning and drawing when it matters.

I think this season quickly needs to move from one where we are not in the running for Europe, but also completely safe. Then give game time to Gordon, Kean, more time to Iwobi, Bernard and mess about with different other midfield combinations.

All about getting a better feel for who and what for next season. But, if we beat Chelsea and Liverpool, then things might change!

Michael Lynch
36 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:04:18
Arsenal are enjoying a very lucky streak at the moment, so I would expect them to finish above us. I think we're looking at mid-table, but it's all about the transfer window and next season now.

I really hope we don't lose Richarlison, either in the short term to the Olympics or the long term to a "bigger" club, and we pick up some reinforcements in midfield and defence.

I hope we win tomorrow, and we're more than capable of it based on recent displays, but I've seen enough now to get excited about next season – whatever happens during the remainder of this season.

Bill Gall
37 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:09:48
Even Ancelotti saw these 4 games, starting with Arsenal and ending with Liverpool, were pivotal to their European chances. With only 1 point from 6 up to now, we need at least 3 pts from the next 6 to make the top 7.
Kieran Kinsella
38 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:13:18
Bill Gall @38,

We won't make top 7 and don't deserve it. 10 teams have lost fewer games than us, 8 teams have scored more, 11 teams have conceded fewer. We had a nice little boost under Dunc and Carlo has been steady but, over the course of the season, the team doesn't deserve Europe.

Paul Birmingham
39 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:14:53
All runs come to an end and tomorrow, with some luck, clinical finishing and game management, Everton can win.

I see plenty of chances, and we must stop Pedro and Ross from shooting and close the space in midfield.

For me, it's vital to win in order to have an outside chance of Europa League qualification. Considering the Arsenal and Man Utd games, both were decided on fine margins and United by rank poxy officials and VAR.

Tomorrow, Everton will get even. Chelsea, like ourselves, are predictable but now Everton have so much more about them under Carlo.

A win but I see us getting a few chances and converting so 1-3 to Everton and keep the hopes going for Liverpool next week.

Tony Twist
40 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:18:22
We are a poor side, partly due to using Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson time and time again. I will be surprised if we finish in the top half of the table, which is a disgrace. There is no excuse being where we are.

I hope I am wrong but, as soon as Europe is mentioned, this team just crumbles under the slightest pressure of expectation. I expect the same thing tomorrow – us losing many times to them in the past is no excuse. Stay tight and take your chances and bring home three points, please, Everton.

Tony Hill
41 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:34:50
If we were to win tomorrow, we'd be 5 points off 4th again. Tony Twist is right: we usually fail when there is any hint of us making a significant step up.

It's in our hands tomorrow and it's in our minds.

Michael O'Malley
42 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:42:11
Home or away, Bernard is more use than Sigurdsson, he has been woeful. Our away record was in the Echo the other day and teams like Palace and West Ham have a better record at the Sky 6.

Surely we're due a win there. The last time was '95 with Rideout scoring. I'm also hoping Pickford redeems himself this week: no clean sheet for ages.

Michael O'Malley
43 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:46:24
Burnley beating Tottenham. If we don't win tomorrow, forget Europe – and we've still got a negative goal difference. COYB
Jim Bennings
44 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:47:50
We don't work hard enough when we don't have the ball – that's why we don't keep any clean sheets away from home.

You look at teams that are limited in playing terms, like Burnley, they can regularly keep clean sheets and put all hands to the pump when they come under pressure.

Every team will come under some pressure during a match; it's how you deal with it, and Everton for far too long have been a real soft touch defensively. (I speak defensively but that's as a whole team when possession is relinquished.)

This will be a big task for Carlo Ancelotti over the coming months because you've almost got to go back to the Moyes era of Distin and Jagielka when this club had the art of defending.

Brian Wilkinson
45 Posted 07/03/2020 at 17:54:26
I get where everyone is coming from in various positions.

What I would like to ask is what has Leighton Baines done wrong in the two games he has played, to warrant Digne a sure starter at left-back?

Take away his penalty miss in the cup game and I would say, on the games this season, Baines has been the better left-back.

We know Digne on his day is quality... but, for me, I would certainly give Baines another run out; I think the guy has earned it.

Michael O'Malley
46 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:07:53
Jim, spot-on – there is always a mistake in us. If it's not Pickford letting soft shots in or getting beat from outside the area, the defence will fall asleep at some stage.

It really is pitiful that Sheffield United, who were a Championship team last season, have a well better defence – with the same players from the Championship.

Joe McMahon
47 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:17:23
Michael @44, sorry, Dude – we ain't making Europe anyway. Too many teams to catch.
Michael O'Malley
48 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:32:11
Joe @48, I know... we all got a bit excited but the last two games and results going against us has put paid to that dream.
Bill Gall
49 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:35:16

I was just talking about Ancelotti's comments about Europe. With the comment "we don't deserve it", if we finish in the top 7, then we deserve it. What we don't deserve is some of the referees' decisions and VAR that as lost us games and points.

The Premier League is so unpredictable that 3 wins may get you to 5th, or 3 losses may put you back into relegation. My opinion is we will finish 8th to 10th but I will be a lot happier if we finish 7th to 5th.

Winston Williamson
50 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:51:06
There is a serial loser mentality at our club. Do we expect any different when we buy serial losers?

Players like Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Keane, Pickford, Coleman, Baines (although I've liked These full backs), Niasse, Bolasie and Sandro have never had what it takes to win big. That's most of our senior players.

The young guys have won at junior level, with Everton and some with England. However, I worry that the senior players' loser mentality will invade the youngsters' minds...

In my opinion, it's a problem starting with Moyes's plucky Blues, which was actively encouraged by the Bestest Evertonian ever!

Solution? I don't think we buy ‘winners' on a downward trajectory. We buy up-and-coming, hungry-as-fuck players and we offer them a platform to play with our other quality young players.

We have the winner as a manager but, until he can escape the senior serial losers in the squad, we'll always get to the cusp of doing something then fall on our own swords.

Brian Wilkinson
51 Posted 07/03/2020 at 19:12:33
Although I agree with some of the things you are saying, to label Coleman and Baines with the others who quite rightly have been known to bottle it.

In another few seasons, we will have lost the lot: Coleman, Baines and Jagielka. Three players who have given everything they had for the club.

Sadly time caught up with Coleman through a horrible injury, and Jagielka; Baines for me still has a season or so left in the tank. So, although I get where you are coming from, Winston, I could not include those three players as bottlers.

Winston Williamson
52 Posted 07/03/2020 at 19:17:11
I hear you, Brian, and I gave a bit of thought to including them in that list. I agree, they've given everything. I liked them, like I said.

However, the main reason I included them is they are from the Moyes era, and in the recent past, when we've needed to win and haven't, they were there.

I agree, they gave it everything, it's just never been enough... when it mattered.

Martin Mason
53 Posted 07/03/2020 at 19:23:43
Michael @47,

The quality of the Championship is not significantly below that of the Premier League below the rich 4 or 5. Sheffield Utd are doing well because they play a limited but well-organised game with all players knowing their roles and they're well coached to do this.

Chances are they'll go down in a couple of years because they don't have the resources to maintain and improve on this. Our aims are massively above theirs; they will fail if they get relegated again, we'll fail if we don't get into the Champions League positions.

Brian @46, He's done nothing but good and is one of the best servants the club has ever had. We're not weakened by his presence but, out of respect to him, Digne must take the load off him now and let him have his wonderful cameos only when needed.

Michael O'Malley
54 Posted 07/03/2020 at 19:45:44

I'm a fan of the Championship. It's just that all our defenders are internationals and we've got England's Number 1 and sometimes the lapses in concentration and stupid mistakes we make are unbelievable.

Sheffield Utd are well drilled and used to playing with each other. I just find it hard to believe that thier defending puts ours to shame.

Jamie Crowley
55 Posted 07/03/2020 at 19:51:57
I think we've got this one.

2-1 Blues. Race for 4th-5th-6th will need a shoehorn.

Martin Mason
56 Posted 07/03/2020 at 20:10:35
Michael, I agree, I believe Sheffield Utd do well because they have a system and players that fit into it perfectly. We don't yet.
Derek Knox
57 Posted 07/03/2020 at 20:25:20
Jamie C, is a 'shoehorn another word for a miracle in Florida mate'? That is what it will take, look at the points we have BLOWN, and that is just while Carlo has been at the helm.

Right, hear me out: I do not hold Carlo in any way responsible, because there is no-one in the first team squad that he has been signed by him. Basically he has inherited a squad, some bad, some good, and some downright ugly!

With all due deference to Carlo, he recognises (I think and hope so anyway) that there is a nucleus of decent players, but because of previous incumbents, he is also lumbered with much deadwood.

As they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day", but we are led to believe these sayings were built on true accounts!

Paul Birmingham
58 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:32:24
Derek, acute, astute and is right in your summary... but I reckon tomorrow Chelsea will get the comeuppance of the Arsenal and Man Utd games from Everton.

Carlo knows the score and will have a plan to take Chelsea out. We can't afford a defeat, simple as, but we deserve and have earned some luck the past few weeks, with the rank officials and our own rank basic mistakes.

Tomorrow, it's got to be ruthless and clinical, and it can be done. But no fuck-ups self-inflicted by the team.

Jay Harris
59 Posted 07/03/2020 at 23:40:32
My only concern, and it has been for a long time, is midfield. We really need a strong presence in there and it's not Tom Davies, Sigurdsson or Gomes.... and it's certainly not Iwobi or Bernard.

I am with Dave Abrahams, given the paucity of our midfield options I would consider putting Bainesy in there.

The rest of the team picks itself except I would leave Keane (lack of concentration) on the bench and play Mina alongside Holgate.

It will be a tough game but we are due some luck and they are not in great shape at the moment.

Minik Hansen
60 Posted 08/03/2020 at 01:02:43
No mention of Carlo magnifico is gonna sit in the stands? I hope he's as good there as he is near the touchline. Always a pleasure (hard fight) against Chelsea, gonna enjoy the game. COYB!
Derek Knox
61 Posted 08/03/2020 at 01:09:18
Minik @ 60, he paid the fine so he will be able to sit in the dug-out as per normal, mate, no bans or anything to accompany it!
Jamie Crowley
62 Posted 08/03/2020 at 04:10:58

We win, we're on 40 points.

We win, we're only 5 points back from 4th place.

Tomorrow defines whether we can indeed go to Europe, or if another year of a Floridian not being able to play hooky from work mid-week afternoons is the norm.

If we win, it's on. We lose, it's next season.

Steve Shave
63 Posted 08/03/2020 at 07:19:06
I think Davies deserves to start again after last week's 2nd-half performance;. What message will the lad get if he plays well and is then dropped?

For me, Sigurdsson has to bow out. I like Sigi, I don't want to keep knocking him, but he has been so poor this season, he has to go in the summer (Brands's most difficult task) but we simply can't pick him anymore.

My team: Pickford, Sidibé, Mina, Holgate, Digne, Walcott, Davies, Gomes, Bernard, Calvert-Lewi, Richarlison.

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 08/03/2020 at 07:50:32
I'd play Bernard on that very tight Stamford Bridge pitch, with Davies, Gomes, and Richarlison being the other midfield players.

Stay in the game, slowly win the battle, and then go for the jugular, against the most hot-&-cold team in the league, who are down to the bare bones, which surely means we couldn't have picked a better time to play them.

Posting this now, I am gutted I'm not going, but hope that everyone who does go, gets one of those special days on the road and the train. Go and fight, Everton, go and win the game!

Robert Tressell
65 Posted 08/03/2020 at 07:58:03
If Iwobi is fit, I'd go for him ahead of Bernard. Bernard is very quiet away from home and Chelsea are an athletic side.

Or possibly even Schneiderlin in there along with Davies and Gomes and move to something closer to a 4-3-3?

Hopefully midfield won't be such a dreary prospect next season.

Steve Shave
66 Posted 08/03/2020 at 08:19:45
Hey, Robert, I usually find myself agreeing with you but I can't on Iwobi, I just can't see what he has done in an Everton shirt to merit a start.

Bernard has certainly been patchy away from home but I think he has been a real bright spark for us generally lately, even some of his substitute appearances in away matches.

Schneiderlin is out for 2 months isn't he? I agree, though, our midfield selection doesn't draw inspiration really, does it? I have long felt this season that our defence's woes are actually midfield woes and a couple of quality additions will solve both areas next season. COYB.

Paul Smith
67 Posted 08/03/2020 at 08:37:27
Chelsea are better than Arsenal and I think this is the toughest of the 4 fixtures. William is absolute quality and Mount is exactly what we need in our midfield.

Great game coming up again and these days the difference is we can compete, that is gold dust compared to recent times. I think we will all be frustrated again with Chelsea just having too much for us at Stampford Bridge.

Joe McMahon
68 Posted 08/03/2020 at 08:45:41
Paul @67, you think the Chelsea game is easier than our lovely neighbours? History shows with Pickford in goal, there is always a gift to Liverpool for a start.
Christopher Timmins
69 Posted 08/03/2020 at 08:47:59
Another great test as to where we stand again today and we have every reason to be optimistic that we can get something from the game.
Jerome Shields
70 Posted 08/03/2020 at 09:07:49
Jay #28,

Thank you for the Ancelotti incite on Bernard, explains a lot.

Robert Williams
71 Posted 08/03/2020 at 09:14:16
Incite – to stir up or provoke to action.

Let's hope he manages to 'incite' the whole team – not just Bernard, eh!

Derek Thomas
73 Posted 08/03/2020 at 09:46:37
I think Lampard will be mentioning how we bested them before Christmas and have them wound up not to get caught cold again... Up to us to deal with it, soak it up, shut the crowd up – then beat them again.
Jerome Shields
74 Posted 08/03/2020 at 10:18:31
Robert #71,

Thanks for the definition of incite, I thought it had something to do with inner thoughts and behind the scenes. Can it be used as a noun or verb? Everton are going to need your 'incite' today.

Nigel Munford
75 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:00:29
Jerome I think your thinking of insight, the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.
Dave Williams
76 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:04:20
We can't get swamped in midfield, like we did in the first half last week. Baines is better than Digne at the moment and Keane did well last week.

Sidibé Keane Holgate Baines
Gomes Davies Delph
Walcott Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Playing as 4-5-1 initially and morphing into 4-3-3 once the game has settled down.

I would like to see Baningime play in centre-midfield but can't see it happening.

What has happened to Gordon? He seems to have fallen off the face of the earth?

Mike Corcoran
77 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:18:14
I can see a 3-5-2 today with Holgate fluctuating in transition between centre-back and centre-defensive midfield. Gomes, Davies & Sigurdsson in the middle, Baines and Sidibé on the wings, and Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison up-front.
John Reynolds
78 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:20:14
There's still 30 points to play for. I don't know how anyone can make definitive statements that we can't/won't qualify for Europe at this stage.

I'll leave team selection to Carlo, but I would like to see Tom Davies get a run of games alongside Gomes to give him the chance to prove he can be an important player for us in the same way Holgate has. If he doesn't seize the opportunity, then at least we know where we stand. Odd appearances every few weeks don't help him or the team.

Tony Everan
79 Posted 08/03/2020 at 13:05:54
I also think the key to his game is keeping it tight and shutting their initial energy down. The crowd will become quiet and we have the players who can go for the jugular in he second half. We will have to fight like hell in midfield closing down the space 1st half. I think Richie will be the difference between the two teams today and his contribution will net us the three points.

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