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Everton vs Chelsea: Match Preview | Can Ferguson inspire the Toffees to victory?

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After witnessing a derby hammering and a manager sacking in the space of two days, Evertonians are need of a lift

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

Everton will look to end a bruising week on a high when they take on Chelsea at Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime.

A whirlwind 24 hours saw the Blues crushed 5-2 at Liverpool on Wednesday evening before Marco Silva was finally sacked the following day.

The Portuguese has been living on borrowed time for a while, certainly since the Norwich defeat, so his departure comes as no real surprise.

I take no pleasure in saying that either, Silva comes across as a decent guy but the results speak for themselves.

It’s vital the board get the next appointment right, though the wide range of candidates being tipped for the job in the media suggests they aren’t really sure who they want.

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

In the meantime up steps Duncan Ferguson to take interim charge. Big Dunc remains a cult hero and will certainly have the fans’ support.

Whether he can inspire a positive result on Saturday remains to be seen. But with the Toffees now in the relegation zone, they certainly need one.

The opposition

The transfer ban imposed on Chelsea last summer was supposed to severely dent their aspirations given they are a club who have traditionally lavished huge sums on players in order to progress. Yet, ironically, it could be the best thing to happen to the club for years as it forced new boss, and club legend, Frank Lampard to utilise the young players in the academy, who are so often shipped out on loan.

The likes of Reece James, Mason Mount, Kurt Zouma (sob) and Tammy Abraham have all taken their chance to give Chelsea a new, youthful look.

Chelsea FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

They go into the game six points clear in fourth place, having bounced back from successive defeats to Manchester City and West Ham with victory over Aston Villa in midweek.

The news that their transfer ban has been reduced, allowing them to buy players in January, is a huge boost, and could help the Londoners cement their place in the Champions League positions.

Previous meeting

March 18, 2019 - Everton 2-0 Chelsea - Premier League (match report)

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

Everton’s spring revival continued with second half goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson securing a deserved victory for the Toffees.

Recent form

Everton

Chelsea

  • Aston Villa (H) Won 2-1
  • West Ham (H) Lost 1-0
  • Valencia (H - Champions League) Drew 2-2
  • Manchester City (A) Lost 2-1
  • Crystal Palace (H) Won 2-0

Team news

Duncan Ferguson confirmed that Seamus Coleman and Fabian Delph will again miss out through injury. Yerry Mina is a doubt but trained with the group on Friday so will be assessed.

Andre Gomes and JP Gbamin are long-term absentees.

Former Evertonian Ross Barkley has recovered from illness and is likely to return to the Chelsea squad. Top scorer Tammy Abraham is also expected to be fit despite limping from the field against Villa in midweek.

What they said

Everton caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson: “I am incredibly proud to manage the Club, I have been here a very long time and it is a big part of my life.

“We have to try to get their performance up, make sure there’s a reaction from the past few games and it is my job to do that.

“[We want] what everybody wants, we want to see a team that is fighting. Passion for the shirt.

“But we have to be sensible, too. Chelsea are a very strong team, very strong on the counter-attack. We have to be careful about when we are pressing.

“It will be a great atmosphere on Saturday and we want a high-energy performance from the team.

“I am sure the players will be ready to perform.”

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: “First of all, any trip to Everton is tough. I went there as a player many a time. The atmosphere in the stadium and the support of the home fans is big.

“I am sure there will be a bounce effect for them, and for one of their heroes in charge of them in the short term. We will have to be very much on our guard. We slightly had it with West Ham last week. There was a lot of talk about what bad form they were in, and what might happen if they lost another game, and we lost the match. There’s a small reminder for us last Saturday.

“What I tell the players will be exactly the same: this is a dangerous, dangerous team to play at this moment particularly. They will have, certainly in the early parts of the game, and I think throughout, maybe an extra energy to them.

“Clubs rally at these moments, fans rally, and the players will want to rally and show what they can do. It’s going to be a tough, tough match.”

Final word

Predicting what will happen on Saturday is tough. The crowd are sure to be up for it, but how will the players react to this week’s events?

A response is certainly needed after Wednesday’s capitulation but Ferguson has only had one training session with the players so it’s hard to see how he can change things significantly.

At the very least we need to see the players show some heart and fight. Hopefully it will be enough. If not, then the board will need to accelerate their hunt for a new permanent manager still further.