Jose Mourinho brings his Chelsea squad to Goodison Park on Saturday to face off against Roberto Martinez's Everton team, the toughest competion they have faced yet. Here are some keys to a win for Everton in the "Battle of the Blues".
Fix the defensive problems.
Chelsea are one of the favorites to win the Premier League, thanks in large part to reinforcements in attack, especially with the acquisitions of striker Diego Costa and midfielder Cesc Fabregas. Everton has struggled on defense in the first two matches, and will need to find a solution if they want to walk off the pitch with a positive result.
Everton's center-back tandem of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin both played well in the first half of last week's game, but both were at fault for Arsenal's goals. Martinez will have to think about starting youngster John Stones or at least substituting him for the aging Distin in the second half.
Take advantage of various Chelsea striker issues.
According to reports, Costa suffered a hamstring injury in training, and it is not known if he will be available for selection on Saturday. Although the name Didier Drogba may not hold as much weight as it did a few years ago, the Chelsea forward can be dangerous near goal.
Fernando Torres has been loaned to AC Milan and will not play in the match.
Drogba has returned to Chelsea, where he led the Blues to a Premier League title in the 2009-10 season, but at age 36 he is not the threat he once was.
Although the Chelsea forward camp may be depleted, there are other attacking options for Mourinho such as Fabregas, Oscar, and Eden Hazard. Everton need to limit their chances if they want to prevail.
Everton must finish the match.
The first two weeks of the 2014-15 season saw Everton leads slip away late in the game. The blame has been placed everywhere from the center-backs to Martinez himself.
Lingering injuries and issues with early-season fitness that plague every team have been especially harsh for Everton. Seamus Coleman was able to come back from a preseason knock and score a goal against Arsenal. Steven Pienaar wasn't so lucky, he suffered a groin injury in the 10th minute of last week's match and won't play tomorrow. Romelu Lukaku went into last week's game with a toe problem, from which he has reportedly recovered.
Martinez was called out for not making timely substitutions in the first two matches, resulting in a tired team and the late equalizers. Look for some young faces to shore up the attack and defense late in the contest. Muhamed Besic and John Stones could be late-game substitutions. While not a young face, new transfer and ex-Chelsea player Samuel Eto'o has said that he wants to play against his former club. Martinez must make first-rate decisions regarding his team if he wants three points against a first-rate Chelsea side.