Everton v Chelsea: Lampard's attacking highflyers can keep Toffees stuck near the bottom
Andrew Atherley does not expect any quick respite for struggling Everton as Duncan Ferguson takes caretaker charge in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off...
Everton v Chelsea Saturday 7 December, 12:30 Live on BT Sport 1
Everton in drop zone
Everton dropped into the relegation zone on Wednesday night following the 5-2 derby thrashing at Liverpool, which made it three defeats on the spin and almost inevitably led to Marco Silva's sacking on Thursday. Duncan Ferguson will take temporary charge of the team for this match, with former boss David Moyes the early frontrunner to be the next permanent manager.
The Toffees' sole win in their last six games was 2-1 away to Southampton, the team that climbed out of the drop zone to go above them on Wednesday.
Silva was unquestionably unlucky with injuries in midfield and they look lightweight in that area, with Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson starting in the centre on Wednesday night. Morgan Schneiderlin might get a recall to the starting line-up and a switch to a back four would enable the midfield to be stiffened with an extra man.
Bernard, Moise Kean and Theo Walcott are options for a change, although Seamus Coleman, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes remain on the lengthy injury list.
Chelsea back to winning ways
Chelsea responded to last Saturday's surprise 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. That leaves them fourth on 29 points, six clear of fifth-placed Wolves.
Tammy Abraham, who missed the West Ham game with a hip injury, emphasised his importance to Frank Lampard's young team with the opening goal against Villa, which took his tally to 11 in the Premier League this season.
Jorginho could return to the starting line-up in midfield and Fikayo Tomori, also benched in midweek, might be back in defence.
Tough test for home defence
Everton opened their league campaign at home with two wins (1-0 v Watford and 3-2 v Wolves) but since then they have won only one out of five at Goodison Park (2-0 v West Ham) and there have been defeats against Sheffield United (0-2), Manchester City (1-3) and, most worryingly, Norwich (0-2) in their latest home match.
Lack of goals is an issue (eight at home is the fifth-lowest tally in the Premier League) and their porous defence is perhaps even more of a problem. Two of their three home wins came with a clean sheet but they have conceded in five matches at Goodison for a record of W1 D1 L3.
That indicates they will find it hard to win without a clean sheet and Chelsea look sure to be a tough test for the home defence. Only Manchester City have scored more than Chelsea's 19 goals in seven away games and the sole blank for Lampard's side on the road came in the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United on the opening weekend, a result that did not reflect the balance of play.
Since then Chelsea have scored two or more in five of their six away games and Abraham is their chief threat, having opened the scoring in three of their five wins on the road.
Heavy defeats can be followed by a more resolute and dogged performance but Chelsea's fluid style is hard to contain on the road and they are taken for the win, which is available at2.10.
Chelsea have been great entertainers on the road, with their seven away matches producing an average of 4.71 goals per game and all going over 2.5 goals.
That contrasts sharply with Everton, who have scored nil or one in 10 of their 15 Premier League games. At home that has happened in five of their seven games and the lack of goal threat has been a major source of discontent at Goodison.
While five of Everton's home games have had under 2.5 goals, their defensive issues and Chelsea's attacking potency point more towards over 2.5 goals at1.73.
Everton have won just two of their last 32 Premier League matches against teams starting the day in the top four (W2 D9 L21), both home wins over Arsenal in December 2016 and April 2019. The Toffees are3.65 to win here.