Amidst other news about Chelsea, i.e. Fernando Torres, David Luiz, and such transfer rumours, this writer nearly forgot about a small pilgrimage to Goodison Park to face Everton in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Luckily for us, manager Carlo Ancelotti has not and, after his press conference Friday, appeared to be focused on the task ahead.
While Chelsea push on in defence of the FA Cup, a strong side is expected to be fielded, especially with the departures of Gaël Kakuta and Patrick van Aanholt on loan deals to Fulham and Leicester City respectively. Frank Lampard must pass a fitness test after missing Monday’s match against Bolton with a calf strain, while Alex, Yuri Zhirkov, and Yossi Benayoun remain the only other long-term injuries.
Everton come into the contest a rather healthy side. Phil Jagielka was fit to return to the bench last week and the only other absence is Tim Cahill who is on international duty with Australia at the Asian Cup.
The last time these two sides met was the 2009 FA Cup Final that saw Chelsea win 2-1, though Yakubu managed to take away Roberto di Matteo’s record for the fastest goal in an FA Cup Final. On form, Everton present a good challenge, especially at home, having not lost at home since 27 November to West Brom, winning once and drawing twice. They’ve also not lost a match since New Year’s Day away to Stoke.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have found their own good form of late after having their worst run in form in over two decades. In their last three matches, they’ve score 13 goals without reply and have won all three. They’re coming off a thrashing of Bolton at the Reebok Stadium where Nicolas Anelka, Didier Drogba, and Florent Malouda each grabbed a goal.
The Everton match has always been a tight one with Everton having not lost to Chelsea in their last three meetings, including a win at Stamford Bridge last month.