Chelsea face Everton for the second time this season tonight, as the pair lock horns at Stamford Bridge once again with a place in the fifth round of the Carabao Cup up for grabs.
The Blues pulled off an impressive 4-2 comeback against a strong Watford side that has been in great form this season on Saturday, as striker Michy Batshuayi produced a match-winning display from the bench which saw the Belgian bag a brace. Though that result was an important one due to Chelsea’s recent poor Premier League form, the team performed strongly in their previous previous Carabao Cup match, defeating Nottingham Forest 5-1.
Chelsea have already defeated Everton this season in the Premier League back in August, and that victory was a sign of things to come for the Toffees as they have since endured a torrid spell that has resulted in Ronald Koeman being sacked just two days ago. Everton were smashed 5-2 by Arsenal over the weekend and currently lie in the Premier League relegation zone. That said, this is a team that remains dangerous – considerably more so now Koeman has gone – and full of good players following a heavy spending spree over the summer.
Conte has already stated that the Chelsea squad will be rotated, with the likes of Charly Musonda and Kenedy expected to get starts in this game. Conte fielded plenty of youngsters in the previous cup game against Forest and the recent injury crisis at Chelsea suggests more rotation is needed in this game in order to protect those that are still fit. Victor Moses remains unavailable through injury, as does N’Golo Kante. Danny Drinkwater has recently returned to full training, but may not be ready in time to feature in this one.
Although Everton are in a considerable slump at present, they’ll be pleased with the return of Morgan Schneiderlin and James McCarthy to strengthen the side for this match. That isn’t to say the Toffees are without injuries though, as Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman and Yannick Bolasie are all sidelined while Idrissa Gueye is suspended following a red card in his last match. Caretaker manager David Unsworth will no doubt bring some much needed energy to the club, and you can expect a performance tonight as a result.
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY
Following Chelsea’s latest Premier League match-up, Antonio Conte praised his players and the grit they showed in order to overcome Watford and earn a much needed victory.
“My players? Good character, good spirit, good desire to fight and to try to win.”
Conte will expect nothing less from the team that he selects tonight, and both he and his players are aware that this competition requires as much attention as any other once kick off takes place.
The competition doesn’t matter, a trophy is a trophy insists Thibaut Courtois. 🏆🔵
Meanwhile, David Unsworth has urged his side to express themselves at Stamford Bridge this evening, in order to boost Everton’s chances of cup progression.
“I want us to enjoy it, because when you enjoy things you perform better. We have to enjoy getting on the ball, be brave and courageous – although not by doing silly things – and be tough as well… mentally and physically tough.”
It’s hard to look past Chelsea for this game. Many of the youngsters have talent, and against this Everton side that still has to find some balance, the Blues will look to do some damage. With Batshuayi, Musonda, and many other talented fringe players likely to feature, I believe Chelsea could win by plenty of goals tonight. 4-0.