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Preview: Chelsea vs Everton – prediction, team news, line-ups

Saturday’s Premier League action rounds off at Stamford Bridge as a resurgent Chelsea side and relegation-battling Everton go head-to-head in a high-stakes fixture. 

Not long ago, Graham Potter was on the verge of being sacked, but he turned the corner in March, winning over the west London faithful with three consecutive triumphs in all competitions.

His Toffees counterpart Sean Dyche has experienced mixed fortunes in his first seven league games in charge of Everton (W3, D1, L3) but has managed to steer them outside the relegation zone. 

With Chelsea’s pursuit of another European qualification hanging by a thread and the Merseyside strugglers fighting tooth and nail to secure top-flight survival, the stakes couldn’t be higher this weekend. 

Match Preview

After netting a single goal in five competitive matches in February (D2, L3), Chelsea have hit the ground running in March, winning all three outings by an aggregate score of 6-1.

In addition to reaching the Champions League quarter-finals courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate triumph over Borussia Dortmund, the Pensioners have won back-to-back league games for the first time since October. 

Last weekend’s impressive 3-1 victory at Leicester City marked arguably their best performance under Potter, yet a seven-point deficit on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur requires consistency. 

Everton’s visit to Stamford Bridge on Saturday seems a perfect opportunity for Chelsea to maintain their renaissance, as witnessed by the Blues’ stellar 27-game unbeaten home run in the Premier League (W15, D12). 

Seeking their first top-flight win in west London since 1994, the Toffees come into proceedings on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 defeat of Brentford last time out.

Dwight McNeil’s first-minute winner halted the Merseysiders’ underwhelming three-match winless league streak (D1, L2), catapulting them one point clear of 18th-placed Bournemouth.

However, Dyche’s bid to guide Everton to consecutive Premier League wins for the first time rests upon his ability to solve his side’s travel sickness that’s seen them win just twice on their last 30 road trips (D8, L20). 

Motivation shouldn’t be in short supply as far as the visiting side is concerned after suffering a gut-wrenching 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park on matchday one. 

Regardless of the outcome, entertainment may be relatively sparse, considering Chelsea’s last eight home league matches have featured under 2.5 goals, with seven seeing one or both teams fail to score. 

But that’s the kind of environment Everton tend to thrive in under Dyche, given that each of their three Premier League wins under the former Burnley boss has come by an identical 1-0 scoreline. 

Premier League form

Team News

Potter faces a substantial selection headache ahead of this game. Captain Cesar Azpilicueta is on the sidelines with a head injury sustained during a 1-0 home loss to Southampton in mid-February, along with first-choice centre-back Thiago Silva. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of Chelsea’s defensive concerns. Reece James has returned from illness, while long-term absentee N’Golo Kante remains unavailable for selection due to a hamstring problem. 

Second-string striker Armando Broja has yet to overcome a knee issue, while the question marks still hover above the heads of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling. 

But with Kai Havertz rediscovering his scoring touch and midfielders like Mateo Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez finding their feet following a troublesome period, Chelsea should be confident about breaking down Everton’s stubborn backline. 

As ever, Dyche will call upon his trustworthy centre-back pairing Michael Keane and James Tarkowski to hold the line, but the up-and-coming right-back Nathan Patterson may have to sit this game out due to a knee injury.

Underperforming frontman Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a doubt after picking up a thigh problem, while Andros Townsend won’t be in contention as he’s yet to heel his long-term hamstring issue. 

With a lack of firepower continuing to torment Everton, keeping Chelsea at bay will be crucial to securing a positive result at the Bridge, and Jordan Pickford is the best man to get them over the line.

The England international boasts a joint-high five career shut-outs against the Blues and he could be the Toffees’ headline performer on Saturday. 

Chelsea potential starting line-up:

(3-4-3): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Enzo Fernandez, Ben Chilwell; Mykhailo Mudryk, Kai Havertz, Joao Felix. 

Everton potential starting line-up:

(4-5-1): Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Tarkowski, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey; Alex Iwobi, Amadou Onana, Idrissa Gueye, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Dwight McNeil; Demarai Gray.

How to Watch?

Chelsea vs Everton, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.

We say: Chelsea 1-0 Everton

Chelsea’s return to form has brought the smiles back to fans’ faces, yet it’s up to Potter’s side to continue their resurgence and remedy a woeful start to the new calendar year.

Launching a substantial winning streak is the only way for the Blues to get out of mid-table lethargy, and the Bridge is arguably the best place to accommodate the realisation of that plan.

A run of two clean sheets in their last three competitive outings suggests the Londoners have found the right defensive formula, leaving it up to their improving frontline to do the rest. 

Scoring against Dyche’s sides has never been a straightforward task.

However, Everton’s disastrous showings on the road, resulting in an embarrassing 11-game winless run on hostile turf (D3, L8), could give Chelsea a helping hand.

We expect the Blues to acquire all three points in what promises to be a fiercely-contested battle, with a single goal likely to prove the difference at full-time. 

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