Everton v Chelsea FA Cup Match Preview - EFC SOS!

LIVERPOOL ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Everton Manager David Moyes reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on January 16 2011 in Liverpool England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)



With the angry masses gathering at the gates of castle Goodison I get the impression things may come to a head on Saturday afternoon. A protest directed at the club's board is planned before the game and if we lose, things could get ugly.

 

If it isn't a 'save our season game' it's pretty damn close.

When the Blues submitted meekly to a physical but limited Stoke side on New Year's Day I kinda hoped that would be the low point and, refreshed with a few new recruits, the club could start to re-build the season.

My optmism was helped by some better performances on the field - the Spurs game in particular was much more like our old selves.The 4th round draw, pitting us against Chelsea, suddenly didn't seem that imposing given our decent form and the continued woes of Ancelotti & co.

But as our hopes of bringing anyone in during the window deterioated almost by the day so did our chances of winning this game. At the start of the month there was the hope of a few cheap buys, or more likely a loan. Then we were told we had to sell to buy. We did that. Now it looks like we have sold and loaned out yet still can't afford to bring anyone in. I'm waiting for the 'we will go with what we've got' line from Moyes which frankly, isn't good enough.

Add to that Chelsea's return to form - 4-0 against Bolton was the sort of result we saw at the start of the season when they swept all before them - you can understand the feeling of dread hanging mournfully above the creaking Goodison rafters.

At this point Beckford, Saha and Anichebe are our only fit strikers - two are injury prone and one is inexperinced at this level. Already it seems Anichebe is injured for tomorrow so Saha is set to be recalled after - you guessed it - another injury.

Our record against the better teams this season have been positive, which should offer encouragement. Saturday's game could be the sort of backs-to-the-wall scrap the players and fans relish.

But such is the fragile confidence of the players and the crowd, if an early goal doesn't come or worse we go 1-0 down early things could turn ugly - I hate to say it but I think the fans have reached the end of their tether.

Team news wise as previously said Anichebe is set to miss out with a groin strain though Phil Jagielka could return. Tim Cahill is still away with Australia at the Asia Cup.

Chelsea news to follow, but it will probably involve lots of very good players being fit to play.

 

Match facts

• This is one of five all-Premier League fourth round clashes, which mean at best only half of the 20 top division clubs will qualify for the last 16.

• Chelsea are 10 places superior to Everton in the top-flight table.

Head-to-head

• This is the 161st competitive meeting of these clubs, and Everton are looking to register their 50th victory.

• The Toffees are unbeaten in three Premier League clashes with Chelsea (W1, D2), and took a share of the spoils from last month's visit to Stamford Bridge.

• Chelsea have not beaten the Goodison Park club, since their meeting at Wembley two years ago.

• This is a repeat of the 2009 FA Cup final, which Chelsea won 2-1.

• This is the ninth time these clubs have been drawn to meet each other. Chelsea lead by six wins to two.

• The Merseyside club last prevailed against Chelsea in the fifth round in February 1956.



EVERTON

Current form

• Drawn their last two, and not lost in four since a 2-0 New Year's Day reverse, away to Stoke.

• Undefeated in three at home (W1, D2) subsequent to a 4-1 loss to West Brom on 27 November.

FA Cup form

• Thrashed Scunthorpe 5-1 at Glanford Park in the third round.

• Won the cup for the fifth time in 1995, and made one appearance in the final since then when Chelsea beat them 2-1 on 30 May 2009.

• Not dismissed a fellow Premier League club since Manchester United in the 2008/09 semi-finals, after a penalty shoot-out.

CHELSEA

Current form

• Won the last three in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and conceding none.

• Going into this game on the back of Monday's 4-0 Premier League victory over Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

• That victory ended a seven-match winless run on the road.

FA Cup form

• Aiming to become the first club to win three successive FA Cups, since Blackburn in 1884, 1885 and 1886.

• Won 13 consecutive FA Cup ties, and unbeaten in 14.

• Their only defeat in 25 ties since January 2007, was 1-0, away to Championship club Barnsley in the quarter-finals in March 2008.

• Thrashed Ipswich 7-0 in the third round.

• Conceded one goal in seven ties.

• Not been eliminated earlier than the fourth round since third round victims to Manchester United in January 1998.

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