PMB: Chelsea v Everton - tactics

We conclude our Pre-Match Briefing for today's Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge...

 

TACTICAL BRIEF
 

  • A potentially decisive factor in today’s game may be Chelsea’s ability to spring the visitors’ offside trap. With Pedro, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata closer to full fitness and Cesc Fabregas available again, Antonio Conte will have plenty of creative options at his disposal. Today may be considered too early for Eden Hazard. He played for the development squad on Friday and his eagerly anticipated return to the first team cannot be far away. 

  • It will take ingenuity to unpick the Everton defence, and in their last league game at Man City, it took a mistake from Mason Holgate for new signing Jordan Pickford to be beaten. On his last visit to the Bridge, though, the goalkeeper – then of Sunderland – had to pick the ball out of his net five times.

  • Manchester City’s rapid changes of position in the second half last Monday, even with 10 men, tested the Toffees’ rejigged rearguard on who to pick up. The absence of Ramiro Funes Mori means Leighton Baines (pictured below) is only left-footer on that side. 
  • Ronald Koeman started with a 5-3-1-1 formation at Manchester City and he is likely to deploy the same defensive set-up at Stamford Bridge, the full-backs positioning themselves conservatively for the most part.

  • They aim to frustrate the hosts with plenty of bodies behind the ball and play the ball up to energetic target man Dominic Calvert-Lewin, their Lukaku replacement. A switch to a back four appeared to hand City more initiative. 
  • Chelsea will have to watch for returnee Wayne Rooney, Tom Davies, and Calvert-Lewin himself finding space between the lines, but will hope to outgun Everton’s defensive midfield screen of Idrissa Gueye (if passed fit), their master of interception, and whoever his new partner may be. Morgan Schneiderlin is banned, Gareth Barry and Tom Cleverly have been sold, while injured Davy Klassen and James McCarthy failed to make the midweek trip to Croatia.

  • Another opponent to be wary of is set-play expert Gylfi Sigurdsson, who came on for his debut at the Etihad on Monday. The Icelander has made a habit of scoring against the Blues, notching up four in 11 games for previous clubs Tottenham and Swansea.

 

SQUAD NEWS


Chelsea


Doubts

Eden Hazard (ankle)

Suspended

Gary Cahill (second of three)

 

Everton


Injured

Ross Barkley (hamstring)

Yannick Bolasie (ACL)

Seamus Coleman (leg)

Ramiro Funes Mori (knee)

Davy Klaassen (foot)

James McCarthy (knee)

 

Doubts

Sandro Ramirez (heel)

Idrissa Gueye (hamstring)
 

Suspended

Morgan Schneiderlin (one match)


By Rick Glanvill
 

GET READY FOR: Chelsea v Everton