Two teams who would not be happy with their recent performances will be up against each other as Tuchel’s Chelsea welcomes Benitez’ Everton at Stamford Bridge. Both teams are suffering from injuries which at an extent is affecting the performance on the pitch. Both Tuchel and Benitez are well appreciated in the league and will give their best to get the better of each other.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Venue: Stamford Bridge.
Date: Thursday, 16th December 2021.
Time: 21:00 (BST).
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Assistant referee: Dan Cook, Simon Benett.
Fourth official: Graham Scott
VAR: Darren England, Dan Robathan.
Benitez has confirmed the absence of Calvert-Lewin will be unavailable against Chelsea, alongside Lucas Digne who was termed ill, despite rumors of a rift between the Frenchman and the Boss. Coleman will be assessed before the match due to a swollen foot. While Allan is termed fit for the match.
Some good news circulated around Chelsea this week as Ben Chilwell started some light sessions on grass and is aiming for a return in mid-January. As of now, Tuchel has confirmed that Lukaku is fit to play 70+ minutes. Ngolo Kante and Chalobah have trained in the last 2 sessions and will make the bench for the game. Thus, Chilwell and Kovacic remain the only absentees.
The shouts of manager sacking are not far from the Goodison Park as Benitez just hasn’t been able to find the rhythm at Everton. 1 win in the last 10 matches just speaks everything about the situation for The Toffees. They don’t even look in any shape to be good enough to challenge the opposing team. In their match this weekend, they were victims of a master-class performance by Chelsea loanee at Crystal Palace, Conor Gallagher. The nightmares of the night would definitely not be far from their memories as they will be now against more Cobham talent. But to their joy, Chelsea too looked out of form and in recent times have slipped in such games.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea was synonymous to clean sheets in recent times, but they have now conceded 8 goals in the last three matches with a clean sheet pending since the 24th of November. They have not been able to cope with injuries well and are still struggling to find the composition. But, on the positive side, Chelsea have managed to score with good intent and a comeback against Leeds shows the fighting spirit of the players. They just cannot afford to lose any points in this Christmas period as Manchester City and Liverpool are not stepping a single wrong foot and thus the race for Premier League title could be decided in the coming weeks.
Jordan Pickford – Everton
There is actually not much to choose for Everton fans as the team is really not stepping up in any position on the pitch. Though one man who needs to prove his metal is Pickford. The English no. 1 is under pressure due to performances by Ramsdale and will have to give his everything to keep his claim before the World Cup next year. He is also being linked to Arsenal’s arch-rivals, Tottenham and thus the rivalry between the shot-stoppers might just get more interesting. But Pickford, who has stepped up well against Chelsea in their clashes, will have to repeat history against the Blues to prove why he is the number one choice for Euros’ runner-ups.
Antonio Rudiger – Chelsea
While Christensen’s contract situation has widely affected his form on the pitch, Rudiger just ends up performing better each day to prove why he deserves the wages he looks for. The German defender recently might have been termed sloppy, but the center back in the last match against Leeds just proved his worth. It will be foolish to not call him one of the best players on the pitch in the clash against Leeds, as if not defensively, he contributed to Chelsea offensively. Earning two penalties, followed by the fighting spirit in the dying minutes just shows that the German bleeds blue and can go to any extent to fight for the club. Each matchday he just adds reasons to justify his wage demands and it might not be long before the board actually accepts his demands.
Chelsea predicted lineup: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen; James, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Lukaku.
Everton predicted lineup: Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Townsend, Doucoure, Allan, Gordon; Gray; Rondon.