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Everton vs Chelsea

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Everton vs Chelsea – Who will be singing the blues? Match Prediction and potential starters

The beginning of a new season is a time of hope for every fan of the EPL no matter what team you support. However, for fans of Everton and Chelsea, some of that enthusiasm would be tempered with caution considering the manner the previous season ended for them and events during the offseason. 

Everton host Chelsea at Merseyside in a battle of the London and Liverpool Blues. Both teams would be hoping to get off to a good start to quiet the dissatisfaction from the limp end they had to the previous season.

While Chelsea finished 3rd and secured a champions league slot, the season brimmed with even more potential at the start when they added Romelu Lukaku and were top of the table for a few weeks before a run of poor results saw them drop out of contention long before the season concluded.

Everton on the other hand survived relegation by scraping together some gusty wins after languishing uncomfortably in the drop zone for some weeks. One of those wins came against Thomas Tuchel’s side. He has since said his side “remember very well” that loss and are determined not to lose again to Everton at Merseyside.

Here’s why you shouldn’t miss this game and our game predictions:

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While Chelsea have won more than twice the number of matches Everton have won in their 60 Premier League meetings, the last 5 meetings between these two teams have been evenly divided – 2 wins apiece and a draw. Chelsea have however edged the goal difference, with a +4 goal difference from those 5 games. 

The offseason has however been quite tumultuous for both teams. Chelsea went through a change of ownership and have had key players in both attack and defence depart for other clubs. While they have filled the holes left in defence by the departure of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger with Kalidou Koulibaly and without little drama, Marc Cucurella, it is the exit of Romelu Lukaku that has left coach Thomas Tuchel reconsidering his tactics going into the season.

For Everton, losing Richarlison could mean a significant loss of goals, especially at the start of the season. According to Frank Lampard, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out injured for about  6 weeks and fellow striker Salomon Rondon would also be unavailable due to suspension. On the bright side, they managed to secure the services of fleet-footed Dwight McNeil and have Yerry Mina back in defence for them.

Chelsea have had a mixed bag of results in preseason, losing to Charlotte FC ( via penalties) and Arsenal, then getting wins against Udinese and Orlando FC. What Thomas Tuchel would find most worrisome would be the defensive frailties his team has shown in the preseason, on a positive note, they have extended captain Caesar Azplilicueta’s contract and would hope to do the same with fellow defender Marcos Alonso.

Everton would hope the 4 nil loss to Minnesota FC was an anomaly and not a sign of things to come, they can look at the subsequent outcomes from the matches with Dynamo Kyiv and Blackpool as signs of the team ironing out the kinks before the results matches start to matter much more.

Who’s playing on Saturday?

Everton

Missing: Everton have Dominic Calver-Lewin out due to injury and would be missing the services of Salomon Rondon due to suspension.

André Gomes is about “a week or two away” from returning but Andros Townsend has no timeline for his return yet.

Seamus Coleman and Tom Davies could return soon. The former is set to play in an Under-21s game, while the latter could be back in training in a week.

Potential Starters: Pickford looks assured of his place in goal, while a back four of Patterson, Mina, Keane and Mykolenko complete the back line. 

Allan, Alli, and Doucoure should make up the three in midfield, while new boy Dwight McNeil is likely to take Alex Iwobi’s starting spot. Completing the front three should be Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend.

Chelsea

Missing: While most of the squad are fit, Ross Barkley,  Timo Werner and Armando Broja have been recovering from their injuries in pre-season and are unlikely to feature in the season opener.

Potential starters: Chelsea are likely to start a back 5 with Mendy in goal, and Koulibaliy, Thiago Silva, James and Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso as the likely defenders.

Jorginho and Ngolo Kante should anchor the defensive midfield with a front three of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling should make up the new-look Chelsea attack.

Result Prediction:

Chelsea can take solace from the saying that “form is temporary,  but class is permanent”. However, Everton are unbeaten in their past 10 Premier League opening day matches. That blistering form they started with has since deserted them and are a side looking to find a new identity under Frank Lampard. Even though Chelsea have had some instability since the change of ownership, they still possess enough firepower and talent to find a win.

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