Chelsea ended their Champions League group unbeaten, one point above Sevilla and will go into Monday’s last-16 draw as Group E winners after their 1-1 draw with Krasnodar. Frank Lampard made multiple changes to the side that overcame an early deficit to beat Leeds three days prior, but is expected to make more ahead of their tricky Merseyside trip this weekend.
Everton vs Chelsea: Toffees entertain title-chasing Blues
Kick-off time: 8pm BST
Everton huffed and puffed to a frustrating 1-1 draw away at Burnley last week but Carlo Ancelotti will be plotting revenge after his Toffees side were thumped 4-0 in this meeting last season.
Can they stun the Blues again and send them back to west London empty-handed?
Jorginho’s first-half penalty – his seventh from the spot in 2020 – was enough for a rotated Chelsea side to share the points with Russian side Krasnodar on Tuesday.
The story of the night surrounded their left-hand side: Emerson impressed, as did Billy Gilmour and Faustino Anjorin: two teenagers who made their maiden Champions League starts there.
Expect to see Ben Chilwell return, alongside Mason Mount and Timo Werner dovetailing down the right at Goodison Park but it was a timely reminder that the Blues have quality in abundance.
They haven’t missed Christian Pulisic (muscle) too much this term, despite persistent injury issues limiting his progress. Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi (both hamstring) are sidelined until the end of December, so £72m man Kai Havertz may feature further forward here.
Everton isn’t short of creative qualities themselves, with South American duo Richarlison and James Rodriguez back from suspension and injury respectively in recent weeks.
The former assisted Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Turf Moor for his 16th goal of the season (club and country), so they’ll hope to expose a Chelsea backline that has looked steady in recent months.
In Ancelotti’s press conference on Friday, the Italian confirmed Rodriguez (knock) will not feature this weekend after all, still suffering from a “little problem” sustained against the Clarets.
He hasn’t trained at Finch Farm this week and is listed as doubtful to return at Leicester City, but it’s another unwelcome injury blow that Everton must adapt accordingly to here.
Final thoughts, possible line-ups
Chelsea leads the H2H (W10, D3, L5) and have a psychological edge after the 4-0 win in their final game pre-lockdown nine months ago.
Everton cannot be underestimated but with Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman both sidelined, I’m backing a narrow away victory.
Everton: Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Holgate; Allan, Doucoure, Gomes; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Iwobi.
Chelsea: Mendy; Chilwell, Silva, Zouma, James; Mount, Kante, Kovacic; Werner, Giroud, Havertz.
Pictures’ source: The Pride of London, Liverpool Echo, SI, Eurosport