Tomorrow at 10 a.m. on ESPN2, Everton get a chance to take on the defending champions Chelsea for the first time this season. Last years meetings between the two clubs were thrillers as Everton and Chelsea tied 3-3 at Stamford Bridge in December, and followed that up with a 2-1 win against Chelsea in which America's Balding Eagle had an assist to Louis Saha for the first goal, and followed that up with getting taken down in the box for a penalty that led to the winning goal. Although Everton last one at Stamford Bridge in 1994, the team has to look favorably on its chances to at least snatch a point in this game as Chelsea has been faltering going winless in their last 5 matches including three defeats along the way. Of course Everton's form has been less than stellar since an October that saw them go undefeated, the first of November brought fewer sights of cheer as Everton went winless, hopefully the turn of the month will allow Everton to return back to their October form which will surely be needed this weekend at Stamford Bridge.
On the player front, Everton will be without Tony Hibbert who has a deep cut on his ankle from the West Brom game last weekend, while skipper Phil Neville is a doubt with fluid in his knee. Additionally Mikel Arteta is set to begin his 3 game suspension from a sending off against West Brom. Thankfully defensive midfielder Marouane Fellaini is set to return from his suspension to bring better stability on the defensive front.
As for Chelsea, It appears that both Michael Essien and John Terry are set to return to action while Frank Lampard appears set to miss the game as he is still recovering from injury.
As always Didier Droga is one who the Everton backline will need to keep an eye. Although Drogba has not hit the back of the net in 7 games for the champions, he is always a threat to score and any chance Everton have of securing points in this game will require them to watch the Ivory Coast international very closely. Going the other way the link up of Leighton Baines and Tim Cahill will be crucial in order for Everton to get on the scoresheet, unless any of Everton's out of form strikers can manage to find the back of the net.
In the end this game will probably be close regardless, but I feel this may very well be the moment that turns Everton's season around, so I look for them to claim 3 points from this match against the champions with a 2-1 score and goals coming from Essien for Chelsea, and Cahill and Fellaini getting their names on the score sheet. Until next time COYB