Jon Super/Associated Press
What: English Premier League Week 27
When: Saturday, February 22, 2014
Where: Stamford Bridge, West London, England, United Kingdom
Time: 12:45 (UK) 7:45 a.m. ET/4:45 a.m. PT
Last Season: Chelsea won 2-1 (May 19)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
TV: NBC Sports Network, NBCSN Live Extra (US); BBC One, BT Sport 1 (UK)
Potential Entertainment Grade: A-
What better way to celebrate George Washington’s birthday than to take in a little English Premier League soccer? But if you plan on watching this promising match between Chelsea and Everton and you live in the United States, well, you’re going to have to set your alarm clock.
In this fixture last season, the Blues chewed up the Toffees, 2-1 in the last game of the season, on May 19—a date that will go down in Chelsea history. When these two clubs last met in league play this season at Goodison Park, Everton handed the Blues their first loss of the season, and earned new manager Roberto Martinez his first win as Steven Naismith’s header late in the first half proved to be the difference in a 1-0 home win.
But here, at Stamford Bridge, it will be a different story for the Toffees (6-3-4 road, 23 goals for, 19 goals against) against first-place Chelsea (17-6-3) as the Blues are an unbeaten 11-2-0 in West London—outscoring foes 28-9—and boast the best defense in England’s top flight (21 goals allowed).
Everton’s (12-9-4) four losses is still the second-lowest total in the Premier League behind Chelsea (three) and with goalkeeper Tim Howard, Kevin Mirallas (5 goals/5 assists) and Manchester City loanee Gareth Barry (3 goals/3 assists), the Toffees have kept themselves in the thick of the league race despite losing manager David Moyes and Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United over the summer. Insert joke here.
One guy who the Blues won’t have to worry about facing is loanee Romelu Lukaku (9 goals), who couldn’t play against his own club anyway, and the young Belgian striker is now targeting a March 1 return from an ankle injury according to ESPNFC.
Chelsea should find a way to win this game somehow, though expect a real dogfight and a little luck to go the home team’s way. The Blues are hoping to get the services of captain John Terry back and they will certainly need him as the Europa League champions can ill afford to fritter away points as it looks like one of the tightest league races in years is on the horizon.
So, can Everton and Leighton Baines break Jose Mourinho’s home win streak in league play for Chelsea? If any club can, it’s the Toffees, but getting the Blues on the heels of a tough home draw to West Bromwich Albion followed by an elimination loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup in the same week? Consider Everton’s timing pretty lousy here.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 2 Everton 1