Chelsea travel to Goodison Park to play Everton on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 8:30 a.m. ET. Since interim Blues’ manager Rafael Benitez took over a month ago, his lineup has been no surprise. Striker Fernando Torres has been starting and leading the attack scoring all of his 7 goals in the Premier League so far this season.
Also expected to play on Sunday, is Darron Gibson, according to ESPN. The Everton midfielder, sent off last week but his red card overturned, would be helpful helping the Toffees attack as he has the ability to be in the right position at the right time. ESPN also reports that right-back Seamus Coleman may return after a knock. Midfielder Marouane Fellaini , who is Everton’s top scorer, is sitting out a three-match ban. Also out are defender Tony Hibbert and striker Kevin Mirallas.
Chelsea have the chance to jump to 3rd place in the Premier League if they win in Everton. The home team could move up two spots to 4th place. Chelsea are a game up.
All eyes will be on Benitez as he walks in Goodison Park. He is despised by the Liverpool archrival because of an infamous statement Benitez made in 2007 saying that Everton was one of the “smaller teams” in the Premier League.
The Blues have a few roster problems. Midfielder John Obi Mikel is set to return after an injury but is not certain for the Everton clash. The biggest loss is still captain John Terry. According to ESPN, Terry is still not fit to return. Rising star forward Daniel Sturridge is doubtful because of a proposed trade to Liverpool.
The European club champions have found a balance playing Benitez’s style after a weak start. The Blues are going to Everton after e winning streak of three games; one of which was 8-0 win against Aston Villa two weeks ago. Everton are doing admirably well this season. They have not lost in seven consecutive games; although four of them were 1-1 draws against top teams.
Everton: Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman, Sylvain Distin, Leon Osman, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Darron Gibson, Nikica Jelavic, Steven Pienaar, Victor Anichebe.
Chelsea: Petr Cech, David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Ramires, John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres.