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Everton vs Chelsea: Match Preview | Time running out for Toffees

The Blues are five points adrift of safety and need something special

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Bring Your Banners.

Bring Your Flags.

Bring Your Voices.

The message for match-going Evertonians is clear.

The Goodison guys will be matching down Goodison road to roar on the players ahead of yet another huge encounter in their battle against the drop.

Toffees fans have been fearing the worst for weeks, but Burnley’s resurgence, which has sucked the Toffees into the bottom three, has really sharpened minds.

Everton are now odd-on to be relegated. Just writing that sentence is chilling.

But while the outlook is bleak, there are some shafts of optimism if you look hard enough.

For starters, the team’s battling display at Anfield suggests they have plenty of fight left. The effort and commitment was without question, we haven’t always been able to say that about the team this season. They were ultimately undone by a very good side.

Liverpool v Everton - Premier League Photo by Rich Linley - CameraSport via Getty Images

There was also the feeling that it was always going to get worse before it could get better. Burnley had two home games in quick succession against mid-table sides with little to play for while Everton had arguably the hardest away trip in the league.

The visit of Chelsea is not much easier, but at least we have the Goodison factor.

And that brings us back to the fans. Various supporters groups have urged fans to arrive early to greet the team coach and provide a boisterous atmosphere.

Everton players and those from the visiting team have spoken about how the Goodison atmosphere makes a difference. So with so much at stake it is the least the fans can do.

It is ultimately down to the players of course. But if the worst does happen at least the fans can say they tried.

The opposition

It has been a strange old season for Chelsea. They began the campaign still buoyant from their Champions League win and were tipped by many for the title, especially after signing Romelu Lukaku for £90m.

But after a bright start things tailed off, allowing City and Liverpool to speed off into the distance.

The World Club Championship was secured to make it a clean sweep of trophies since Roman Abramovich’s takeover. But the outbreak of war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Abramovich put the very future of the club at stake.

A sale is seemingly edging to a conclusion, though it is unlikely to go through until the summer. In the meantime Thomas Tuchel has steadied the ship and all but confirmed a top four finish, while the FA Cup will be the last chance of silverware.

They have, however, suffered defeat on their last three league visits to Goodison Park and were held to a 1-1 draw by a depleted Toffees at Stamford Bridge in December.

Previous meeting

Chelsea 1-1 Everton. December 16, 2021

Chelsea v Everton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

A severely depleted Everton side earned a battling point at Stamford Bridge back in December. The Toffees’ resistance was broken by Mason Mount after 70 minutes, but Jarrad Branthwaite levelled four minutes later to secure the draw.

Team news

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

Frank Lampard says Yerry Mina will come back into the side after being rested against Liverpool in order to protect his fitness while Dominic Calvert-Lewin also returns to the squad after a minor quad injury.

Andre Gomes and Donny van de Beek are sidelined with groin injuries, while Ben Godfrey will be out for a few weeks with a thigh issue.

What they said

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

Everton manager Frank Lampard: “I have loved every minute of being at this club. Sometimes people from the outside ask me, because of the position we are in, ‘Are you enjoying it? How tough is it?’ I absolutely love it.

“I have been supported and welcomed incredibly well by the fans and will do everything to get this club back where I want it to be.

“In terms of my dedication to this job, I will absolutely give it everything for as long as Everton want me and I can get them where I think we can go.

“Our fans are brilliant, they are passionate, it [Everton] is their life. It is important the players understand that, I certainly do.

“If we get together in this moment, it makes us stronger. The fans are always behind us, we have to stimulate them in the way we play and with our intentions on the pitch.

“I was pleased with how the players defended each other in a tough environment at Liverpool last week

“We need to show that in every game. I appreciate the fans doing that [coach greeting] and we have to show it [desire] on our side.”

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: “He [Lampard] sent me a very kind, respectful message after I took over at Chelsea that meant a lot. I was a huge fan of him as a player, and he is – and will remain – a legend at our club. This is a given. I was very happy when he wrote me that message, it was very gentlemanly.

“We didn’t have the chance to go out and have lunch, and he also took the chance to go and take charge of Everton. He took an assistant from us, Joe Edwards, and were not so happy! Just joking. We will meet some friendly faces [on Sunday] with Joe and Ashley Cole, and Frank, who I have never met in person.

“I would love to meet him. We need the points, and they need the points urgently as well. It is an exciting week for me personally. I love to play at Old Trafford, and everybody tells me about the atmosphere at Goodison Park, how emotional and how tough it is to play there. These are two nice fixtures, what it is all about. I am excited to go there, and we expect a tough fight.”

Final word

Things are really getting tense now. Burnley’s win at Watford has left Everton five points adrift of safety. Leeds may have been sucked in, but that relies on the Toffees getting something from this game. Another loss here and things will get desperate.

Please just win Everton.