How Everton Will Line Up Against Chelsea

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How Everton Will Line Up Against Chelsea
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton travel to Chelsea this Saturday, hoping to revive their fading hopes of a top-four finish.

Defeats in two previous away trips to Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have derailed their challenge, somewhat, leaving them eight points adriftalbeit with a game in hand.

Facing Jose Mourinho's Chelsea is another daunting task for Roberto Martinez, although his side managed a 1-0 win over the Londoners in September.

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton lost the corresponding fixture 2-1 on the final day of last season and haven't tasted success at Stamford Bridge since a 1-0 win in 1994. They have, however, managed four draws in their last six visits.

 

Team News

Martinez has a far healthier roster to select from than he did few weeks ago, when an entire XI was on the treatment table.

Excluding three longer-term absentees, the Catalan declared every player fit during his pre-match press conference, via Everton's official website.

As Martinez highlights, Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to feature against his parent club, while the injured trio mentioned is Darron Gibson, Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo.

Elsewhere, Steven Naismith has been given the all-clear after suffering a suspected concussion against Swansea.

 

Selection

With that team news considered, here's a look at Martinez's potential starting XI:

Everton vs. Chelsea - Football tactics and formations

There won't be any tweaking in goal or in defence, with Everton's first-choice personnel all available for selection.

James McCarthy and Gareth Barry will also continue in central midfield, giving stability to the Toffees' core.

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The key decisions will involve the four attacking slots.

Martinez will have two ways of thinking: Insert the players more likely to provide him control and possession, such as Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar, or use his direct options to expose Chelsea on the break.

The fact that Everton dominated long spells against Spurs yet were unable to score could see the Catalan turn to a more direct XI in this match.

For that reason, Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu would be the ideal starters, interchanging with one another and running off Lacina Traore.

The slight issue with that is how much security both Deulofeu and Mirallas would provide their full-back, giving the more conscientious Pienaar the call.

 

Key Battles

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As already mentioned, Martinez will have to decide whether he wants to alter a degree of control to become a bit more cutting edge in attack.

Chelsea average above 58 percent possession at home and enjoyed more of the ball (56.5 percent) than any side has managed against Everton this season. Clearly, enforcing the Toffees' possession-based style will be tough.

Therefore, capitalising on turnovers seems the more likely avenue to success, with the pace of Barkley and Mirallas bursting forward on the break.

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

The more they can be found beyond the likes of Ramires and Nemanja Matic, the more threatening the visitors will prove.

Barry was outstanding during September's clash and will again be crucial to the Toffees, slowing down and disrupting the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian.

Individually, Hazard against Seamus Coleman will be an especially absorbing contest at both ends of the field.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Everton

 

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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