Sunday, 21 December 2008

Everton v Chelsea Premier League Preview: Can The Toffees Turn Around Poor Home Form Against The Blues 100% Away Record?


Everton play Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Chelsea in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Monday.

Toffees boss David Moyes will have cause for concern ahead of this clash with Chelsea, having seen his Everton side manage only one win at home in the Premiership this season in eight matches. The only team in the league with a worse home record is Blackburn Rovers and had it not been for the Merseyside clubs away form could easily have found them in a relegation battle instead of 7th in the Premier League. Everton’s only win at home came against Fulham at the beginning of November, which is something Moyes is hoping the Toffees can put right at Goodison on Monday.

Like Everton, Chelsea have also not been their best at Stamford Bridge this season, having lost twice after a four-and-a-half year unbeaten run that went back to 2004 and Claudio Ranieri and drawing four times. However, the Blues have also been superb away from home, winning all eight matches on their travels, scoring 21 goals and conceding just the once. Scolari must surely fancy Chelsea’s chances of extending this winning run. Given Everton’s poor form at Goodison as the Blues continue to push for the Premiership title in 2nd place, just a point behind leaders Liverpool.

As if Everton’s poor home record wasn’t enough to contend with ahead of the visit of Chelsea. Moyes also has no fully fit strikers available, with Victor Anichebe (back), Yakubu (calf) and James Vaughan (knee) all ruled out. In addition to this Louis Saha (hamstring) is also a doubt for the visit of the Blues, which might force Moyes to push Tim Cahill upfront as a makeshift striker or use 16-year-old Jose Baxter. Everton will also be missing defenders Lars Jacobsen (shoulder) and Nuno Valente (knee) for the clash on Monday.

Scolari has less injury worries, with defender Ricardo Carvalho (knee) still a week away from a return to action, while Florent Malouda (hamstring) is struggling to be fit in time to face Everton. Chelsea will also be without long-term injury Michael Essien (knee).

Everton: (from) Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Jagielka, Neville, Baines, Lescott, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Saha, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, Osman, Nash, Fellaini, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Irving, Kissock, Baxter

Chelsea: (from) Cech, A Cole, Terry, Alex, Ivanovic, Bosingwa, J Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Mikel, Drogba, Kalou, Anelka, Cudicini, Bridge, Sinclair, Deco, Malouda, Di Santo, Ferreira, Mineiro, Belletti, Stoch, Woods

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