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Everton vs Chelsea: Match Preview | A new season beckons

Can the Toffees get a new campaign off to a positive start after a difficult summer?

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

For the Everton fans, we will look to start the 2022/23 season the way we ended the last one — bring your banners, bring your flags and bring your voices as we roar our Blues on.

The supporters showed that despite our lowly finish in the Premier League table, the heart and soul of this club is still alive and beating proudly, and the new campaign will need more of the same.

Everton are being tipped by many a pundit to continue to struggle in the relegation mire this season too, and though the Blues have added to Frank Lampard’s squad in the summer transfer window, there are still some weaknesses in the squad that are yet to be addressed.

There is still plenty of time for incoming and outgoing transfer activity, but in the meantime the new season gets underway today with high-spending Chelsea coming to visit. The three players Everton have already signed are all settling in well and have bolstered some key areas in the side - James Tarkowski in central defence, Ruben Vinagre as a backup left fullback and Dwight McNeil brings some skill and setpiece delivery.

Everton v Dynamo Kyiv - Pre-Season Friendly
McNeil celebrating his first pre-season goal with Tarkowski
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The schedule-makers did the Toffees no favours with a home game against Chelsea to start the season, but Lampard will be hoping that early adversity will galvanize his side and get the fans to come together just like they did late last season.

It would be unrealistic to expect that the Blues will come out of the gate playing free-flowing attacking football especially with the personnel they still have, and deep inside every one of us knows in games like this we are going to continue to do our best turtle impression as we bunker down in our own defensive third in preparation for a heavy shelling.

Only the bravest (and possibly foolhardiest) of us is predicting a season that could see us end up in the top half of the table. Indeed, if the Blues are a midtable side when the World Cup break comes around in mid-November, many of us will be thanking our lucky stars and considering the job half-completed.

Hope springs eternal that Everton can make some noise this season. But it’s the hope that kills you too.

The Opposition

After a bright start last season things tailed off badly for Chelsea, allowing Manchester City and Liverpool to speed off into the distance.

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the subsequent sanctions against then owner Roman Abramovich put the very future of the club at stake. However, a sale of the club eventually went through and the new owners immediately refilled the club’s vast transfer coffers and a procession of players has since come through the doors at Stamford Bridge.

Half a dozen players have returned from loans, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Carney Chukwuemeka and now Marc Cucurella have all arrived at Cobham for an outlay of over £150 million, and Chelsea don’t appear nearly enough done as rumours say they are looking to break the world record transfer fee for a centrehalf to prise away Wesley Fofana from Leicester City.

Thomas Tuchel hasn’t been happy with how his side’s preseason has gone, and a 4-0 spanking against London rivals Arsenal during the pre-season has led to the coach stating that his side are not ready for the new season.

They have, however, suffered defeat on their last four league visits to Goodison Park and the Toffees haven’t lost a season opener in ten years now, so there you go.

Previous Meeting

Everton 1-0 Chelsea, May 1, 2022

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

Remember that iconic picture of Richarlison picking up and running with a blue smoke bomb hurled onto the pitch? This is the game that came from.

Chelsea had third place pretty much secured at this point and were playing out the season, but the Toffees still had everything to battle for. A solid defensive performance capped off by Demarai Gray and Richarlison hunting down captain Cesar Azpilicueta and stealing the ball for the Brazilian to slot home for the winner early in the second half.

However, this game had more than just that, because Everton had one other player to thank for securing the 1-0 win — Jordan Pickford. The England #1 pulled off the save of the season to secure all three points and likely Everton’s survival in this game as well.

Team News

New season, same old injury woes. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has sustained what Lampard called a ‘freak injury’ in training that will see him missing at least six weeks. Midfielders Tom Davies and Andre Gomes are out, while Allan and Seamus Coleman are still working their way back to full fitness.

What They Said

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

Everton manager Frank Lampard: “It’s nice to have a relative clean slate at the start of the season – I never felt that we had that in my period at the Club. That is important, because it should hopefully give us a fresh idea and feeling of confidence.

“There are still things I want us to do going forward to try to make us play more the way I want us to play – to be more consistent in what we can deliver. That will be a mixture of work [on the training pitch] and the players we can hopefully strengthen the squad with.

“We are working on and off the pitch and trying to improve the Club in any way possible. There are a lot of good people at the Club that are really working in a good direction. We have to get the culture right and move forward. We have to keep this unified feeling we have.

“I was proud to be part of it in the last weeks of last season – when Everton was a club from top to bottom [that was together], starting with every fan who stood outside the ground to welcome the team two hours before our games. That [unity] is such an important part.

“We must work on every side of our game to be sure that we are not in a situation like we were in last season.”

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

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: ““We are some steps further. It was absolutely necessary. Maybe it was also necessary to lose that game like we lost it against Arsenal, against a big rival in the league who is trying to take our place. Maybe it was a wake-up call for everybody. Since then we have stepped up.

“As always, the last week before the season is always where you feel a new focus, new excitement, new level of focus in training. Legs are fresh now, fresher than when we trained in Florida. Still, we are not where we can be but let’s see, we feel ready and competitive for tomorrow.

“A very good training week so far, the atmosphere is back to where it was before the Arsenal game like in the first weeks of preseason. Then we lost the energy towards the Arsenal game. After that we needed to digest but last week is good, we feel ready for tomorrow. This is very important to not lose focus and take the first week step by step. We took the possibility to prepare the whole week for Saturday, nothing else. This is where we are.”

Final Word

Whether Everton are ready for it or not, another season is here. The Toffees will need to channel the same intensity and team spirit they did so well last season to ensure Premier League survival, with the players feeding off the fans’ energy. Until the new signings get bedded in and the Blues can get some consistency in performances they might need that extra push to keep collecting points and ensure we don’t get into another relegation battle.