Frank Lampard is all ready for the battle against Everton Vs Chelsea at Goodison Park on Sunday, desperate to win one over his previous team to help his current side’s survival attempt.
The Toffees were defeated 2-0 by Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby last weekend, while the Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United in midweek.
Keeping Liverpool at bay for nearly an hour at Anfield is no easy task, but Jurgen Klopp’s side’s continuous pressure was eventually rewarded in the Merseyside derby, as Everton’s relegation fears grew after a 2-0 setback last weekend.
At Anfield, it was a tale of two headers, as Andy Robertson and Toffees nemesis Divock Origi came up with the goods in the second 45 minutes to put Everton below the dotted line, but their survival fate is still in their own hands coming into the last stretch.
While Lampard’s side is currently 18th, they are two points behind Burnley with a game in hand, though the Clarets’ relegation six-pointer with dismal Watford on Saturday might potentially widen that margin to five.
Everton, who is the Premier League’s worst away team this season, will relish a return to Goodison Park, where they have collected seven of the last nine points on offer in recent games with Newcastle United, Manchester United, and Leicester City.
Everton won 3-1 at home to Chelsea in December 2019, the last time they started a Premier League game in the relegation zone, and Lampard has all the motivation he needs to sink the team that praised him as a player but let him go as a manager.
Chelsea’s journey to Manchester United provided a backdrop to the British teams competing in the European semi-finals on Thursday night, with Thomas Tuchel’s side dominating the Red Devils and taking a merited lead through Marcos Alonso in the second half.
However, not long after Alonso’s exquisite opening, the Blues were undone by Cristiano Ronaldo’s right foot, and their inability to collect all three points from their game in hand means that their place in the top three is far from assured.
Chelsea now has a six-point lead over Arsenal in the race for third place, and they have relatively easy fixtures ahead of them against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Leicester City, and Watford.
So securing a straightforward route into the Champions League would be a satisfying end to a tumultuous season on and off the field.
Chelsea missed out on the chance to win 10 games in a row away from home in all competitions by failing to take all three points from Old Trafford.
However, only Manchester City have performed better on the road in the Premier League this season, and the Blues do not want to start looking over their shoulders at this stage of the season.
Chelsea had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Everton at Stamford Bridge in December, and the Toffees have won each of their past three home matches against the Blues, and a fourth in a row would go a long way toward guaranteeing their Premier League status.
Lampard is dealing with a long list of Everton absentees at the worst possible time, with Donny van de Beek, Andre Gomes, and Ben Godfrey remaining on the sidelines, with the latter facing a season-ending injury.
Yerry Mina and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be available for the Toffees boss, but he will be missing Andros Townsend, Nathan Patterson, and Tom Davies for the visit of his former team.
In the defeat to Liverpool, Allan managed only two passes, and Fabian Delph is sure to push the Brazilian for his place in the midfield following that humiliating performance.
Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Mateo Kovacic are all still out due to injury, while Ross Barkley and Andreas Christensen were both missed from the 2-2 draw with Manchester United due to illness.
Barkley is unlikely to play against his former club, but Christensen, who has been out with a stomach illness, might return to help Tuchel’s defensive options after Reece James and Antonio Rudiger both made comebacks at Old Trafford.
Romelu Lukaku is also expected to be relegated to the bench against his former club, however, Christian Pulisic is still pushing for a starting spot over Timo Werner.
Everton Starting Lineup
Pickford; Coleman, Mina, Keane, Mykolenko; Delph, Doucoure, Iwobi; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Gordon
Chelsea Starting Lineup
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Havertz
The match between Everton and Chelsea will kick off at exactly 14:00 UK time and 2:00 Pm African time at the Goodison Park.