Chelsea v Everton - A return to the League Cup

by - October 25, 2017

As the matches keep coming thick and fast, this Wednesday sees The Blues host the hapless Toffees in the fourth round of the League Cup. After 2 rollercoaster, highly entertaining home matches in which Chelsea have squandered early leads but then battled back and finished the stronger side, they welcome the latest managerless Premier League side to Stamford Bridge.

In the previous round both clubs comfortably swept past Championship sides. Whilst Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 5-1 in which Batshauyi scored a hat trick and Musonda shone brightly, Everton defeated a poor Sunderland side 3-0. Both Keane and Williams gave the Everton line up an experienced and strong defensive core but it was the young Calvert-Lewin and a late goal scoring cameo from Niasse that stole the show.

Since then, except for a tight victory over Bournemouth at home, Everton have struggled in every single match. But it’s not just the long list of bad results but also the lacklustre, poor performances from individual players and the team as a whole that led the club to announce the sacking of manager Ronald Koeman on Monday. Whilst this came as no great surprise, the timing ensures this cup tie has taken a far more intriguing edge to it.

As the hierarchy at Everton start their search for a new more permanent manager, ex Toffee David Unsworth has been placed in the caretaker manager role. His first big decision will be how to approach this match. Does he go all out, picking his strongest potential line up and try to in-still the tactics and belief to win away at the Champions or does he concentrate on turning their fortunes around in the league starting away at Leicester on Sunday. Remember Everton are still in 4 competitions including lying bottom of their group in the Europa League and will require a quick turn around in their fortunes if they are to progress onto the next round, starting away in Lyon next week. This truly is a very important spell within Everton’s season.

How Antonio Conte approaches this match is a little easier to call. We can expect a very similar line up to the previous round. A 3-4-3 formation is likely to include call ups for a number of the younger players on the fringe of Chelsea’s squad. Kenedy, Musonda, Ampadu and Sterling are all likely to participate whether from the start or as substitutes. However the rest of the line will again have a strong look about it. Conte will want his side to play a high tempo pressurising match. He will not want to give the opposition any opportunity to resurrect their performance. Expectations will be high for players such as Christensen, Rudiger, Zappacosta, Willian and Batshauyi as they try to impress and stake claims for more regular involvement. If they perform to a similar level to the Forest match, the Everton side will have to have a complete change in form and attitude to remain in the tie. Any let up from Conte’s team may allow their opponents to get the basics right and battle their way to an unexpected result.

So, a match that would’ve been a relatively easy call only a few days ago, now has an extra impetuous as we wait to see how the Everton squad react to the departure of Koeman and if the home side can prevent them returning to winning ways.

Written by Jon Ellis, Chelsea FC home and away season ticket holder. Follow me on twitter: @ClitheroeBlue

You May Also Like