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Everton vs Chelsea: Match Preview

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Everton take on Chelsea at Goodison Park as Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto'o take on their former club for the first time this season

Laurence Griffiths

Everton's season has not gone as many have expected thus far, having given up late equalizers in two consecutive games. The Toffees will look to get their season back on track as they host Chelsea at Goodison Park. This game will mark the first time that record signing Romelu Lukaku will take on his former club since joining the Merseyside club. Their opponent will likely be without their marquee striker, Deigo Costa and will need to take advantage of this and secure three points for the first time this season.

Team News

The biggest news of the week has been the signing of Samuel Eto'o to a two-year deal. Eto'o has said that he would like to debut against his old club, but the team will assess his fitness before making a final decision. This should prove to be a smart signing and gives the Toffees some much needed depth at the striker position.

Steven Pienaar will not play in this weekend's match after suffering a groin injury ten minutes into the match against Arsenal. Roberto Martinez has not said how long the South African will be out for, but hopefully it will not be long as Pienaar had an excellent start to the campaign against Leicester City.

Romelu Lukaku also suffered a toe injury during the Arsenal match but has responded well to treatment and may be available for selection on Saturday. Midfielder Darron Gibson has been declared fully fit and will be available for selection.

New Chelsea signing Diego Costa suffered a hamstring injury in training this week and is questionable to travel to Merseyside this weekend. If the injury proves to be more than a strain, this could be a huge blow for Chelsea's attack as the Spaniard has scored in the team's first two matches.

What to Watch For

The ability to close out games has been a big concern for the Toffees as they conceded late goals in two consecutive matches. The team will need to tighten up defensively as they are facing a Chelsea squad that is dangerous on the attack. Even if Costa is unable to play, the presence of Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard will keep the back four busy throughout the match. Fabregas has been excellent since joining Chelsea from Barcelona and has already tallied three assists in two games.

Expect Romelu Lukaku to be highly motivated and looking to score in this match. The Belgian is no doubt looking for revenge against his former club and will be eager to show Jose Mourinho that he made a mistake by letting him leave during the summer. Lukaku has been inconsistent in his first two matches and has not had the start that Evertonians were hoping for. Assuming he has fully recovered from his toe injury, Lukaku should be a threat in the box throughout the match.

Steven Naismith has been on a tear to start the season having scored in Everton's last two matches. The Scot has been one of the team's most dangerous players in the offensive third and has done a fantastic job of capitalizing on his scoring opportunities. Since being moved to the middle of the pitch, Naismith seems much more comfortable and has been able to positively effect the game. With Ross Barkley out for the foreseeable future, Naismith will need to continue his excellent run of form and pick up some of the scoring slack that Barkley would normally be able to provide.

Match Facts

  • Since 2010, Everton have had some success against Chelsea with a record of 4-2-4 in league matches.
  • Everton have not scored more than two goals against Chelsea since 2009-10 when the teams played to a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge
  • Three of the last five matches between the two clubs have seen a goal scored within seven minutes of the opening kick-off
  • In their two matchups last season, each team won their home game, both games ended with a scoreline of 1-0.