Apart from the odd grass trimming or line marking, Stamford Bridge has seen very little action on the pitch over the last week or so. For once the main focus of the ground has been off the pitch, with the CPO vote being debated fiercely. Although, if we repeat last week’s performance the topic of debate will surely be Chelsea on the pitch, at least for now anyway.
After dismantling Bolton and essentially ending the game within the first an hour, it would be hard to imagine any unforced changes being made to the Chelsea starting XI. With no players returning from international duties injured and the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata unbelievably not being picked for their nations, AVB’s selection process should be fairly straightforward. The transition play from the back four last week was quality, Luiz, Cole and Boswinga getting forward at every opportunity and Miereles looking solid in a deeper role covering anybody supporting the attack. If we can replicate the intensity and directness then all wide men should be relishing the chance to get at the sometimes suspect Tony Hibbert and Leighton Baines. The way we could also switch to more central play was also impressive, Lampard collected every knock down and flick from a bullying Drogba and deservedly took home the match ball. However, Lampard will most probably face a stronger midfield resistance this Saturday.
Everton visit the bridge on the back of an undeserved derby loss last weekend. Due to the ineptness of Martin Atkinson, it was always going to be an uphill struggle playing against a superior Liverpool side for 70 minutes with 10 men, but positives can certainly be taken from the performance. With Rodwell having his red card rescinded and the side that started the derby all fully fit, Moyes will be hoping for the kind of performances that have seen his Everton side finish with favourable results against Chelsea over the last 2 seasons. Lapses in concentration have usually seen us drop points, Saha has a knack of punishing Chelsea at every opportunity.
It won’t be an easy game but a Chelsea win should be the end result. The prowess we’ve displayed in recent matches should be enough to overpower the ‘everyone behind the ball’ strategy Everton will certainly deploy. If we’re lucky Moyes may actually play a striker away from home and we might only face a permanent 10 man wall.
My prediction: 2-0