Preview: Everton at Chelsea

Chris Brunskill

The Toffees travel to Stamford Bridge to face Jose Mourinho's formidable side

After securing passage to the FA Cup quarterfinals with a comfortable victory over Swansea City, Everton travel south for Saturday's early kick off against Chelsea. Jose Mourinho's side conceded a late equalizer against West Brom in their last league outing, but the Portuguese has still yet to taste defeat at Stamford Bridge in 70 games as Chelsea manager. A win for the Toffees would seem unlikely then, but Roberto Martinez's side did defeat their richer opponents earlier in the season. Is a double out of the question?

Team News

Romelu Lukaku has returned to full fitness, but is ineligible to play against his parent club, so Lacina Traore is expected to make his second Everton start. The giant Ivorian scored four minutes into his debut in the Cup, though he is unlikely to have such an easy time against the Premier League's meanest defence. Elsewhere, Steven Naismith will be included in the squad after recovering from a concussion sustained against Swansea, while Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone remain long-term absentees.

Chelsea captain John Terry will return at the heart of the host's defence, while Gary Cahill faces a late fitness test. The Brazilian David Luiz is the only confirmed absence for Jose Mourinho's side.

Keys to the Game

Eden Hazard has blossomed as one of the Premier League's foremost attacking talents this season, and the Belgian has been central to Chelsea's success over the past few months. How well Seamus Coleman is able to deal with Hazard at right back could determine the Toffees' chances of taking anything away from the Bridge. Traore will also be an important outlet up front for Everton, and his ability to hold the ball up and facilitate counter attacks could prove crucial.

There's also Naismith, who seems to have found a niche in the Blues' squad as an impact substitute. The Scottish forward is arguably Everton's most accomplished finisher, and has two goals in the last two games against Chelsea, including the winner at Goodison Park back in September.

Match Facts

  • Everton have not beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in any of their last 18 Premier League meetings, drawing nine and losing nine.
  • Chelsea have scored more 261 goals against Everton throughout their history - more than any other side.
  • An Everton win would see them do the double over Chelsea for the first time since 1978-79.
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