I have said that Everton have needed a victory against teams so often in the last weeks and months it may have at times seemed a mindless droning of sorts. And while the Toffees have come up short at times, they have been in very good form recently and have mostly delivered on these declarations and pleas. Three consecutive clean sheets is a welcome turn for the club to say the least. For this game against Chelsea however, while a victory would indeed be important and preferable as well as a continuation of the run the club has found itself on recently, a draw would also be acceptable in this particular instance.
This is because of a combination of factors; scheduling, form, and timing are a few of them that come to mind immediately. Thanks to the good quality Everton have found in the recent weeks, they’ve given themselves some leeway in the difficult matches even while deprived of key players. With this noted, I do not believe we’ll relent. The club has found wonderful performances against some of the better funded outfits of England this season however, and it would not shock me in the slightest if we witnessed another demonstration of the same.
Everton and Chelsea: Two Clubs with talent and ambition, battling it out on Monday
Since Chelsea got Thomas Tuchel, they have demonstrated better defensive guile than under Frank Lampard; they are in fact, undefeated so far under his watch. Their high-priced offense has yet to truly come alive despite the fresh inspiration and creativity on the sidelines; this will not be the case forever it is safe to guess however. Progress on all fronts should be expected to continue as the season itself continues, and this should be something that the Toffees are wary of after defeating the Lampard-led version of the club earlier this season.
The amount of fire power at the disposal of the German boss is the envy of many outfits across the world, and our own side would be wise to remember this as the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and a whole host of others look to move forward in attack. Lucas Digne, Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate have been up to the task against the likes of Liverpool, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, helping Jordan Pickford notch three clean sheets in a row to follow Everton’s February 17th loss to Manchester City. With the help of Allan, and hopefully Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucoure, they will have a difficult task ahead of them, but there should be optimism with our form and ambition against a club that we have confidence against, albeit not at Stamford Bridge.
A win would mean an away victory against Chelsea for the first time since 1994, and would give Everton a two-point cushion over their opponents for fourth on the league table with a game still in hand. With matches in the Premiership against Burnley, Crystal Palace and Brighton, nine points should be a reasonable expectation for the three matches after the Chelsea affair; a draw therefore, would be fair to settle for, although obviously less desirable than the three points. Leaving the two points, although not lethal to our seasons ambitions, will leave the race down to the final weeks of the season, where anything is possible.
Chelsea have a rash of less than difficult matches in England coming up as well after Everton, with a scrappy Leeds United team as well as their Champions League second leg clash with Atletico Madrid. They meet Sheffield United in the FA Cup Quarterfinals, followed by dates with West Brom, Crystal Palace, and Brighton. The difference really becomes more apparent at the end of the season, where Everton has an easier schedule than does their top five competition; we’ll get to that in later pieces. A win is preferable, a draw is acceptable, and while dropping three points would be a sizable setback it would not be an insurmountable one.
Toffees: History is Everyday
Keeping talk of points on the periphery for a moment however, it is worth considering what every match of this size means to the Toffees. Winning these matches means far more for Everton than it does for a club like Chelsea, because the Toffees are still climbing the football mountain in search of respect and silverware. Every loss feeds those voices across the Premier League and even the media itself, who wish for Everton to remain in the cellar, laughed at and spoken about in the past tense almost exclusively; yet the Blues are in ascension, and so must act accordingly.
Three points is not only a further statement of ambition and a demonstration of volition, but three points is also a warning that, although losses will occur for every team across a campaign, these are not permanent definitions. They are snapshots in time and in days gone by, they are to be remembered as innovation has long ago triumphed.
To beat Chelsea would not doom them necessarily any more than a loss to them would end our season, yet we must continue to rise to the occasion as it presents itself anew. To string this game into our list of consecutive victories might mean that the FA Cup Quarterfinal match against Manchester City is a tougher battle than many likely believe.
A further victory there, and the Toffees could see themselves propelled with confidence higher up the Premier League table, as well as in contention for their first silverware since the 1995 FA Cup. It’s always one step at a time, and if Everton can take this next one, and at least one point, if not three, they will be on their way to the next step in succession; by stringing these steps together, the Toffees might find themselves further ahead than they ever anticipated being at this point in the Carlo Ancelotti Revolution on Merseyside.