The Premier League resumes this weekend after the international break and Chelsea will play host to Everton. Chelsea are in third place in the table and sit only three points behind the two Manchester sides. Everton have struggled thus far and are in 13th place.
Chelsea began the season tentatively, drawing 0-0 with Stoke before narrowly beating West Brom and Norwich after determined performances from their opponents. Andre Villas-Boas’ charges then beat Sunderland 2-1.
The Pensioners suffered a setback against Manchester United as the champions won 3-1 despite a much improved performance from Chelsea. The Blues have rebounded well, however, scoring nine goals in two victorious matches over Swansea City and Bolton.
Frank Lampard has been a crucial figure for Chelsea in recent weeks after losing his starting midfield berth in four consecutive matches. The Englishman scored in Chelsea’s 1-1 away draw against Valencia and bagged a hat-trick against Bolton last time out. Daniel Sturridge has continued last season’s impressive form and scored a brace against Bolton.
Everton will be relatively disappointed with their start to the season. The Toffees have only won two of their opening six matches, narrowly beating Blackburn and Wigan, who both currently lie in the relegation places.
Everton also lost to QPR and drew against Aston Villa before losing back-to-back matches against Manchester City and city rivals Liverpool.
David Moyes’ men may feel aggrieved after Jack Rodwell was harshly dismissed in the first half against Liverpool. The youngster has since had the red card rescinded and will be eligible to play against Chelsea on Saturday.
The corresponding match last season saw Everton claim a credible 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in December. A Didier Drogba 41st minute penalty gave the Pensioners the lead, while Jermaine Beckford equalised for Everton four minutes from time. Beckford scored again for Everton on the final day of the season as the Toffees beat Chelsea 1-0. The sides also played out two 1-1 draws in the FA Cup before Everton won on penalties.
Chelsea are still missing the suspended Fernando Torres. Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata look likely to continue in the wide positions after impressing in recent weeks, while Villas-Boas will have to decide between Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka to spearhead the front three.
Everton will only be missing the injured Victor Anichebe after Rodwell’s red card was rescinded. After two straight defeats, David Moyes could draft Phil Neville, Roysten Drenthe, Denis Stracqualursi or Diniyar Bilyaletdinov into the starting line-up.