Chelsea v Everton Match Preview (Premier League) – 16th January 2016

Chelsea are aiming to bounce back from their disappointing draw against West Brom when they take on Everton on Saturday. The Pensioners were heavily beaten when these two met at Goodison Park earlier in the season, so the players should be desperate to pick up the win in this one. Can they get the better of the Toffees, or will defensive problems cost the champions points once again?

While the team were awful defensively against West Brom, there were a few encouraging signs going forward. The full backs were making dangerous runs from deep, while Kenedy proved that he’s an alternative attacking midfielder to the current crop, of which only Willian has looked good this season. Maybe it’s time to give the youngster a go from the start this time?

Kenedy deserves a shot, especially if Eden Hazard is missing once again here. He’s been out since coming off with an injury against Crystal Palace. The Belgian seems to go over in a light breeze these days, and he’s failed to get a goal all season. With young, hungry alternatives in the wide positions, the big names should be facing a fight to get in the team.

The defence has been awful at times this season, but there’s little option to rotate at the back. The main problem is that the back four aren’t getting enough protection, with neither Nemanja Matic nor John Obi Mikel doing that job consistently well. Maybe it’s time that we see both of them starting, which would help out the struggling defenders.

Cesc Fabregas could fight it out for a spot in the attacking midfield places, which may add some much needed competition in there. All the creativity comes from the full backs and Willian right now anyway, so wouldn’t it be better to drop one of the midfielders who isn’t producing, and replace him with a defensive minded player to try and shore up the leaky defence?

Keeping the defence secure is an even bigger priority this weekend, ahead of the return of the forward who got away. Romelu Lukaku shows up at Stamford Bridge as the top scorer in the league, a man who Jose Mourinho sold off. Questions have to be asked about that decision, especially at a time when the team needs a proven scorer up front.

The other big worry here is Everton’s clean sheet at Manchester City. The Toffees came away from the Etihad with a 0-0 draw, so just what could they do to the Blues? If they can shut out the likes of Sergio Aguero, then they shouldn’t have too much trouble against Pedro and co. With goals in their team and an improving defence, the visitors might just steal a win here. A response is needed by Chelsea, so it might be time for Hiddink to make some big changes.

LCN Verdict: 1-1 draw