Chelsea return to Premier League football this Saturday after a gap of 19 days. Their last fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford, one of the most high profile fixtures of the nascent Premier League, turned out to be a pensive 0-0 draw. Chelsea loyalists will however, take heart from the inimitable spirit displayed by the players against the Champions League and eventual Super Cup winners, Bayern Munich over the course of 120 minutes. David Moyes’ former club Everton will host Chelsea this weekend as the Toffees look to avoid their fourth consecutive draw in their opening four. Chelsea were the only club last season to defeat Everton at Goodison Park when two Frank Lampard strikes secured a victory.
The fixture presents an opportunity for Jose Mourinho to come face to face with new Everton boss Roberto Martinez, against whom “The Happy One” boasts of an impressive record.
So lets take a look at the information we need, shall we?
DATE & TIME: September 14, 2013 at 12:30 EDT; September 14, 2013 at 18:30 GMT; September 14, 2013 at 17:30 BST; September 14, 2013 at 17:30 WAT; September 14, 2013 at18:30 CAT; September 14, 2013 at 19:30 EAT; September 14, 2013 at 22:00 IST.
VENUE: Goodison Park, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
TV/STREAMING NEWS: The match will be telecast live on Fox Sports 1 in Australia, TSN & NBC in Canada, Al Jazeera Sport HD1 & HD6 in Egypt, Canal + Sport in France, Sky Sport 1 in Germany, Star Sports & ESPN HD in India, beIN Sport 1 HD in Indonesia, J Sports 4 in Japan, Talksport Radio in South Africa, C+ Liga de Campeones in Spain, Al Jazeera Sport HD6 in UAE, Sky Sports 1 in UK and NBC in USA. It is also available online on Chelsea TV.
CHELSEA FC SQUAD NEWS: Chelsea have a full squad to choose from, except for Tomas Kalas who is still out with injury for an indefinite amount of time. Eden Hazard suffered an Achilles’ scare on international duty but has since been cleared to play. Oscar & new signing Samuel Eto’o also picked up minor knocks but have recovered to be in contention for a starting spot. Juan Mata is expected to play a role after being rested by the manager during the first few gameweeks. Predicted Starting XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Essien, Lampard, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Torres.
EVERTON FC SQUAD NEWS: Darren Gibson(knee) and Antolin Alcaraz(hernia) are unlikely to take part although they have recently returned to training. Romelu Lukaku will be ineligible to play against his parent club. Gareth Barry, who joined from Manchester City and James McCarthy, who followed his manager from Wigan, are expected to make their debuts this weekend. Predicted Starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Distin, Baines, Jagielka, Barry, Barkley, Osman, Mirallas, Pienaar, Jelavic.
REFEREE: Howard Webb
TACTICAL OVERVIEW: Everton, who have traditionally been a counter-attacking side with a direct approach, have adopted a possession-based football under Roberto Martinez. Although the team is yet to settle down, they already have the highest average possession in 2013-14 Premier League season at a staggering 64.2%. Everton’s frontmen, particularly Jelavic were misfiring in the last two matches, which have resulted in Everton taking just 3 points off 3 games in two consecutive 0-0 draws after they had a hard-fought 2-2 draw in their season opener against Noriwch. New arrivals Gareth Barry & James McCarthy would look to fill up the vacuum left behind by Manchester United bound Marouanne Fellaini. Young talent Ross Barkley has had a promising start to the season & will try to continue his excellent run in the middle of the park. The Everton full-back always pose a threat down the flanks and the Chelsea defense will do well to keep Pienaar in check, who was a strong point of Everton’s outstanding league finish last season. Tim Howard is an experienced keeper and the likes of Hazard & Mata need to take their chances.
IN A NUTSHELL: Chelsea have had a promising start to the season and will look to gain three points in order to mount a challenge for the title. Everton, who are lagging behind at 15th, will put in an effort to justify their quality football with points in the bag. The game will present an interesting tactical battle. However, Chelsea is expected to come home from Goodison Park with full three points. Provided the players put in a decent performance, there might not be too many hiccups on the road.