Chelsea FC: Predicting the Starting XI for Away Trip to Everton

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst IFebruary 10, 2012

When Chelsea face Everton in their Premier League face-off at Goodison Park Saturday, they shall have the chance to record their 2,000th win in history in all competitions.

Chelsea shall arrive at Merseyside with their controversial draw against Manchester United at the back of their head. The Blues' were rather impressive against the Red Devils and looked set to seal the win until two controversial penalty decisions turned the game against them. Andre Villas-Boas's men will be ready to impress yet again and leave with three points from their only away fixture this month to keep their fight for fourth place alive.

With Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel becoming eligible for selection, it shall be a welcome boost for AVB, whose future has been thrown under speculation after random visits from club owner Roman Abramovich.

In this article we shall predict a possible starting XI for the Blues when they face David Moyes' men at Goodison Park on Saturday. Villas-Boas is likely to stick with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation that had undone the United defense last week.

1) Petr Cech - Chelsea's dependable man between the posts had a great outing against the Red Devils last weekend. Cech made several impressive saves to the keep the United strikers at bay. The Czech goalie is undoubtedly going to start against the Toffees and will be looking to continue with his impressive form.

2) Ashley Cole - Villas-Boas will be relieved to have his first-choice left-back returning from suspension. The English international, who served his red-card suspension against United, will be raring to go when Chelsea take on Everton.

3) David Luiz - Chelsea's young Brazilian defender has been pretty impressive in recent weeks with his on-field exploits. Though his techniques and often rash challenges have been criticised, Villas-Boas has stood by the highly rated youngster. Though Gary Cahill was pretty solid in his debut against United, Luiz is not likely to get benched when they take the field on Saturday.

4) Branislav Ivanovic - The Serb has been impressive this season and looked solid at the back. Villas-Boas is unlikely to hand his January signing successive outings, so Cahill could make a late appearance that would see Ivanovic being assigned defensive duties at the heart of Chelsea's defense alongside Luiz.

5) Jose Bosingwa - The Portuguese was impressive against the Red Devils and is likely to be back at his usual right-back duties with first-choice left-back Ashley Cole returning after serving his one-match suspension.

6) Michael Essien - Chelsea's Ghanaian midfielder had a pretty decent outing against Fergie's men last weekend. He made a few attempts at goal though he lacked his usual sharpness. Villas-Boas is likely to hand his world-class midfielder some more game time to help him get back his match sharpness.

7) Raul Meireles - The ex-Liverpool man has developed into one of the key figures at the heart of the Chelsea midfield this season. He has been pretty impressive with his range of creative passes combined with an eye for the goal as well as his powerful shot. He has sealed his place in Villas-Boas's starting XI and is likely to take the field alongside Essien.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Frank Lampard of Chelsea looks on from the stands during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea at Loftus Road on January 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Gett
Clive Mason/Getty Images

8) Juan Mata - The Spaniard had looked threatening against United playing behind Torres, providing several goal-scoring chances with his incisive passes and even scoring one himself. But with Frank Lampard fit to take the field, Villas-Boas is likely to play him on the left wing.

9) Frank Lampard - A goal for the Chelsea and England legend against the Toffees would make him the first-ever player to achieve double figures in the Premier League nine seasons continuously. While the feat would indeed be remarkable, Lampard would surely like to score his record goal for a winning cause. Florent Malouda had a poor outing against the Red Devils, which should see Villas-Boas drop him and hand the central midfield duties to his legendary midfielder.

10) Daniel Sturridge - The high-flying Englishman has been publicly vocal about his disappointment at being played in the right wing instead of his preferred centre-forward position. This week his father also stated that playing in the wing was suppressing his son's potential as a forward. Villas-Boas needs to sort out the matter quickly or else we might see another potential world-class youngster leave the club. The youngster has made the right wing his own and will surely look to dazzle whilst scoring a few goals in order to force himself into the central striking role.

11) Fernando Torres - The Spaniard will take up Chelsea's attacking role yet again as Villas-Boas tries to regain his dismal striker's confidence. It has been now more than four months since Chelsea's most expensive signing has scored a goal. Though he has looked sharper in recent weeks, he has yet to score that one elusive goal to end his drought.

His poor form in front of the goal has cost Chelsea several points this season and Blues fans can only hope that he at least doesn't bundle a sure goal chance as he did against Norwich and United. The Spaniard has failed to capitalise on the absence of Drogba and seal his place. So when Chelsea take on David Moyes' men, El Nino will be hoping to prove his worth and end his goal drought.

Substitutes - Florent Malouda, Oriol Romeu, Gary Cahill, Ross Turnbull, Lucas Piazon