Maarten Stekelenburg is expected to start in goal again after being given back his place last weekend
Everton's penultimate home game of 2016-17 is a high-profile one as double-chasing Chelsea come to Merseyside.
The Blues are virtually guaranteed a place in Europe next season by way of a top-seven finish but there is still the chance of finishing higher if they can string together a sequence of wins at home and away over the remaining four games of the campaign.
Opportunity has knocked for the Blues in recent weeks but for varying reasons — a stoppage time goal at Old Trafford, another weak performance at Anfield and last weekend's awful display at West Ham — they haven't been able to take advantage.
It means that the prospect of a sixth-place finish, the extra Premier League prize money and the avoidance of a July start to the Premier League that go with it, is looking to be a taller order for Ronald Koeman's team but while it's mathematically possible, hopefully the manager won't be counting anything out.
Arsenal have re-found some form as the pressure was mounting on Arsene Wenger and Manchester United's long unbeaten record has continued but the Red Devils have a tricky run-in that involves trips to The Emirates, White Hart Lane and Southampton's St Mary's Stadium and a home clash with current spoilers Crystal Palace on the final day. They still have a game in hand and the Gunners have two, however, so Everton will need some help from other teams of they are to be in with a chance of improving on the seventh-placed berth they have occupied since December.
First, though, they need to help themselves as they move centre-stage in the saga of the title race. The Blues can throw the situation wide open with a victory over Antonio Conte's side on Sunday and a Tottenham win in the North London derby so the eyes of the nation will be on Goodison Park for a fixture that has favoured Everton in recent years.
Thanks to Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku, the Toffees have won three of the last four meetings between the two clubs in all competitions and Koeman will be banking on his team's sterling home form since the turn of the year to carry them past the league leaders for the first time under his stewardship. November's miserable 5-0 reverse to Chelsea should act as extra incentive — Everton and their three-man defence were torn to shreds that day by the rampant Londoners and it's unlikely that the Dutchman will make the same mistake with that formation again.
Given the injuries to Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori, the defence will largely pick itself again and it's reasonable to expect that Maarten Stekelenburg will continue in goal at the expense of Joel Robles after last weekend's switch by Koeman.
Whether he feels he needs to alter things elsewhere in the team on the basis of the display against the Hammers remains to be seen. Ademola Lookman, a potential change for Kevin Mirallas, faded after a bright introduction at half-time at the London Stadium and Koeman has been reluctant to start him recently due to his defensive naivety. Dominic Calvert-Lewin also failed to make much of an impact so, if there is to be a change to the starting XI, it could be that Enner Valencia is the most likely to come in after being ineligible to face his parent club last Saturday.
With Chelsea boasting threats across midfield and up front, the key for Everton will be in emulating what Spurs and United have managed in recent weeks — namely hustle the Londoners out of their stride and press home any superiority with goals. Having notched 29 of them already at Goodison in 2017, the Blues haven't had trouble in that regard and Chelsea have shown of late that they can be rattled and are susceptible to conceding.
Another big performance by Lukaku against the team he has supported since he was young, played for and — if newspaper tattle is to be believed — wants to play for again will be crucial but it will, of course, take big performances throughout the team, akin to the big win over Manchester City in January, to get the job done.
Kick-off: 2:05pm Sunday 30 April 2017
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Last Time: Everton 3-1 Chelsea
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Jagielka, A Williams, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies, Barkley, Valencia, Lukaku.
Reader Comments (88)
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1 Posted 29/04/2017 at 06:58:57
I don't think Lookman will start; yes, he got a couple of shots off when he came on last week... but, apart from that, looked extremely lightweight and got easily dispossessed on numerous occasions.
2 Posted 29/04/2017 at 07:03:28
A draw at best but I really do hope I am wrong.
3 Posted 29/04/2017 at 07:09:21
Funny, but I feel a bit giddy about this one, all excited like a big kid. It has little meaning for us now on the one hand, but should act as an important measure against a top side, who will be going all out for their own reasons.
4 Posted 29/04/2017 at 07:09:44
5 Posted 29/04/2017 at 07:21:31
These games have often been great in the past, hoping for more!
6 Posted 29/04/2017 at 07:57:20
7 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:13:48
Wonder what would happen though, if he had a total 'mare, kept falling over his own feet...
I shouldn't say that!
8 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:14:00
That's my 'set yourself up for ridicule' post... 😄
9 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:14:20
That said, I expect a far better courageous display than the lightweight nonentity we witnessed last weekend; anything less and I'll be disgusted by it.
We are going to need to be big brave and strong if we are going to beat Chelsea, I don't think Chelsea are the best champions elect I've ever seen; I believe they are winning a poor Premier League that's been in transition for a number of years now.
I'd love to see Barkley and Lukaku turn up and have huge games tomorrow after the regular debates about if they can ever do it against better opponents.
Lukaku scored twice in the Quarter Final against Chelsea last year, more of the same will do.
10 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:15:07
11 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:16:15
12 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:22:09
The staggered start times of our game and Spurs v Arsenal is a little twist in terms of the position at the top, and mentioned by Conte the other day.
13 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:23:51
Lukaku has netted league goals against the following..
Manchester City 4
Manchester United 0
Arsenal 1 (also 1 in Cup 2014)
Chelsea 0 (2 in Cup last year)
Following is Ross Barkley's record..
Manchester City... 1 (plus 1 in Cup)
Manchester United 0
Arsenal...1 (think he was awarded deflected goal last year?)
14 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:25:35
15 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:26:41
I see this season as with many before it just drifting to a boring conclusion with all our hopes focussed on 'next season'. Yet again.
16 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:31:13
I've been really looking forward to this one, my wee rate is up to once every 90 minutes. Don't shoot me down just yet.
I'll join you tomorrow for a full-on rant & sulk if we play crap.
17 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:34:55
Number of games played against those teams.
Scoring ratio of those players against lesser teams.
Scoring ratio of comparable players (Kane, Costa, Ibrahimovic, Alli etc.) in similar games.
For example, one charge often levelled at Lukaku is that he doesn't do it against the big teams. The BBC showed a statistic a month or so ago that showed that, actually, he has a better scoring record against the top six than the other leading strikers in the Premier League. No-one has a good strike rate against the top six because they're harder to score against, that's why they're in the top six.
18 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:34:57
19 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:39:52
20 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:40:28
On tomorrow's match, it is hard to see us winning. We are becalmed in 7th place, with little realistic chance of closing the gap, whilst they are under pressure and playing for the Title. Our home form is good and we might give them a game if we attack the way we can.
They have had some tough games and perhaps we can take advantage but we will need to be good all over the park and we will need a catalyst a la Naismith, who had no respect for reputations.
After the mauling we got down at the 'Bridge we certainly owe them one. However I forecast a 2-1 defeat tomorrow.
21 Posted 29/04/2017 at 08:42:35
4-1 Everton, Lukaku hat-trick!
22 Posted 29/04/2017 at 09:08:32
We are a different team now, and I fully expect us to put in a gut-busting performance tomorrow. We need to right that wrong.
I agree with Lyndon's lineup. I'd like to see Valencia start.
23 Posted 29/04/2017 at 09:12:07
24 Posted 29/04/2017 at 09:14:49
We have cemented 7th spot now. This will be Chelsea's toughest fixture. Big teams will grind out wins when they are under pressure. Chelsea will do this and probably grind out a 1-0 win.
25 Posted 29/04/2017 at 09:14:58
"Love us to win but it will be one step too far for the blues today against a quality side. A draw at best but I really do hope I am wrong."
Pretty negative. We beat Arsenal here, Man City 4-0, have only lost once at home and won eight on the bounce.
We can win. Grow some balls!
26 Posted 29/04/2017 at 09:18:13
Jagielka would be the more obvious choice to mark Costa.
27 Posted 29/04/2017 at 09:35:47
If you find out who Joey is backing, then don't follow him. Joey backed more losers than me and I've backed plenty, Joey couldn't pick his nose, as they say...
28 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:05:15
Ian Wright suggested that "David Luiz still has a mistake in him, but gets better protection than if he were down the family planning clinic". He was referring to the protection provided by the midfield 4.
29 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:11:07
30 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:29:22
31 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:31:59
Personally, I'd let Gueye shadow him all over the pitch and not give him an inch. Difficult ask but Palace and United have beaten them recently, so it shows they're vulnerable.
Still, having said that, I still think we ll finish 7th regardless of whether we win tomorrow.
32 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:52:44
Yes, having Matic and Kante ahead of you must do wonders for your confidence.
33 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:53:44
Chelsea are in for a very tough game and whilst I really don't want Spurs to win the title, I can see us getting at least a draw if not the 3 points. Make no mistake, Ronald Koeman is going to want a result badly.
With our home form and only Coleman out, I am surprised by the negativity. (Then again, having been on TW for over a decade, I probably shouldn't be...)
34 Posted 29/04/2017 at 11:12:38
35 Posted 29/04/2017 at 11:34:03
We have a fairly decent record against the Chavs at home so I expect a win tomorrow. They have a bit of pay-back to deliver to the fans after the shambles at Stamford Bridge so I'm going for a 2-1 win.
36 Posted 29/04/2017 at 11:38:43
37 Posted 29/04/2017 at 11:39:09
38 Posted 29/04/2017 at 11:46:05
I am sure Conte will be looking to win this game and keep the gap to Spurs, so it should be an exciting game. Everton have absolutely nothing to lose in going all out for the win, so to see 2 teams both trying to win will make a difference to the usual of the away team being more cautious than the home team.
Man for man, Chelsea are far better than us, I would suggest that none of our team would get in their team. But I still think with the right mindset we can match them in a one-off game.
39 Posted 29/04/2017 at 12:04:29
40 Posted 29/04/2017 at 12:29:50
41 Posted 29/04/2017 at 12:42:12
Like others, I think Lukaku will go missing. I suspect he's already house-hunting in West London and in spite of some of the tough talking on these pages, if the fella wants out then we have to sell early to recycle the money into the team.
We know that the manager does like to turn to his most trusted players in games like this and will not want to be still wondering "Will he/won't he?" ahead of an inevitable deadline day move where it will no doubt define our season.
42 Posted 29/04/2017 at 12:54:11
43 Posted 29/04/2017 at 13:20:17
Last week, the players didn't turn up so tomorrow, with a full house, I hope Everton put on a show and do a professional job.
No doubt the media will be doing overtime on Rom, but Koeman will be demanding a show tomorrow. Let's hope so. With the crowd roaring, I'm gonna stick out for 3-1 for us (I've not had a pint yet!) let's hope we win!
44 Posted 29/04/2017 at 13:27:19
I think it might be close, but they have a favourite's chance. The pluses for us are it's a home game and neutrals expect us to lose, so we should go for the jugular, not just try to contain them.
My view I think it will an exciting close game, but unfortunately I think they will shade it.
45 Posted 29/04/2017 at 13:50:38
46 Posted 29/04/2017 at 13:59:11
Man Utd and Man City will probably be above RS this weekend.
47 Posted 29/04/2017 at 14:17:41
Something like a back four, four defensive midfielders behind Lukaku and Barkley. Anything other than a 5-0 defeat will be touted at the press conference as a disappointing improvement.
48 Posted 29/04/2017 at 14:18:32
50 Posted 29/04/2017 at 14:53:40
There's every reason to expect a high scoring game from two sides with a high goals tally. I can see us winning this 4-3 or something like that. It could of course be the other way, but as I say, our better home results gives us the edge.
51 Posted 29/04/2017 at 17:24:04
Robles only got his place when Stekelenburg got injured, and admittedly played well for the most part. I think the realisation of not being a shoo-in is good for any player to keep them on their toes, and therefore sharper.
52 Posted 29/04/2017 at 18:31:16
Off topic - can anyone suggest a likely link/stream for the boxing?
53 Posted 29/04/2017 at 20:37:44
54 Posted 29/04/2017 at 20:51:31
Holgate Jagielka Williams Baines
Idrissa Schneiderlin Davies
Subs: Robles, Pennington, Kenny, Barry, Besic, Lookman, Mirallas.
Would like to see Kenny given a bit of time for Holgate he offers a lot more pace & works very hard.
55 Posted 29/04/2017 at 21:05:55
56 Posted 29/04/2017 at 21:34:10
I think Rom is a gonna but if we can replace his goals with 2 guys who score 12+ goals a season each, we may be okay. Josh King falls in that bracket for me... very much so!!
57 Posted 29/04/2017 at 22:47:18
58 Posted 29/04/2017 at 22:58:36
59 Posted 29/04/2017 at 23:21:40
I like Lyndon's team with the exception of Holgate. I like young lad but I am concerned for him if he starts at right back against this lot.
Like Geoff Williams, I think this is a game for Barry to start in. I wonder if Gueye could do a job at right back and Barry goes into the midfield???
60 Posted 29/04/2017 at 23:23:35
61 Posted 29/04/2017 at 23:37:30
I always listen to the crowd when a fight is on the radio, it tells which way the fight is going, the crowd was quiet for much of the fight but came alive in the 11th round when Joshua put his opponent down twice for counts of eight and then the referee stopped the fight with Joshua raining blows on his gallant adversary.
Well in, Joshua.
62 Posted 30/04/2017 at 01:48:12
Fast forward to 2014: 3-6 defeat (my son's 1st game! Jonah??) 2-0 win in the FA Cup, just fantastic; 3-1 win with more coins hitting kids & blokes in the Park End. (Why can't the club put a net up in between both sets of fans?)
Anyway, I can't wait for today's game... I've had 3:2 in my head all week! I'd take any win just to fuck the rent boys right up.
A club I've despised way before the dodgy Russian turned up.
63 Posted 30/04/2017 at 03:59:57
Time to stand up and be counted, Boys.
64 Posted 30/04/2017 at 05:19:42
65 Posted 30/04/2017 at 06:07:51
I just hope the players give a good account of themselves and stick it to Chelsea. Two contrasting managers on the touchline. Costa will be at his best I love his passion, Rom could learn a thing or two from this striker...
No prediction from me. If you're going to the match, enjoy it and do your part to help the team.
66 Posted 30/04/2017 at 07:06:41
67 Posted 30/04/2017 at 07:15:58
Why is an honest opinion being negative? Of course I hope we batter them and will be thrilled if we do.
Sadly they are a better team than us who have performed consistently better than us all season. Is that a fact or a negative eunuch?
68 Posted 30/04/2017 at 07:53:05
Realising last night that I had a crazy day ahead I took a moment to stand by the window overlooking The Waterfront - - dark blue, cobalt blue, blue water, dark blue sky with stars shimmering in the evening light and bouncing off the water - - for a moment I was on the Bridge over The Rhone hand on Vincent s shoulder under a Starry Night - - or maybe with Camille Pissarro on Boulevard Montmarte at night (have a look at it) and possibilities of revisiting these places on Blue European Trips - - went to Wolfsburg a few years ago and took some of our gang from TDH to The Hannover Art Gallery.
Sunday morning 7.00am - - listening to some Erik Satie - - those European Dreams were with me all night - - “My dream is to be played everywhere…..” - - I went to his house in Honfleur - - amazing - - you can go upstairs to his attic and there is a sort of carousel in the middle of the room but just with 2 bicycles - - when you peddle the lights on the carousel go on and Gymnopedies plays - - absolutely off its cake - - also visited Boudins house in Honfleur and Le Chat Noir in Montmarte. - - and sat in my downstairs room - - full of early light - - reading William Blake - - “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is - infinite.”
I have been reading some bits on the Cold War and amazingly the Ipcress File was on yesterday - - much better the The Bond stuff - - made me think about people who had been tortured - - remember reading Koestler and his writings on inside and outside The Communist state - - “Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.” ( Maybe he was an Evertonian)
Upstairs - - early morning pale yellow light coming through the windows - - the City and River look like a Turner masterpiece - - listening to CSNY ”Sunday in the afternoon What have you got to lose” - - at my desk surrounded by all my memory tweaks - - pens and pads, notebooks, photos on the wall - - my little Goodison Snow Shaker - - Mr.Lennon looking directly at my right side - - so quite - - no noise - just an odd bird whistle now and then - - had to put a bit of Van on:
“When the vision vanished they heard a choir of birds singing
In the heavenly silence between the trance and the reeds
And they stood upon the lawn and listened to the silence
Of the wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn”
Yesterday I moved my big armchair from my writing room to the side window where I can oversee the building of our New Riverside Palladium - - the roof of the Old Lady still visible just beyond - - I sat for a moment in the afternoon light and thought of Joseph Brodsky - - “No matter under what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be home. No matter how you lived there.”
This is how I get myself into the mood for the match - - or whatever I am doing - - I surround myself with my books, my posters and photos, notebooks and postcards, music - - I have lived outside the system for the past 35 years and have devoted my time not in the pursuit of money (I had done that and it left me miserable and unreal - - not being) but in the pursuit of knowledge and through that wisdom - - I had decided to not be buried in mediocrity - - so I have within me collected bits of quotes, lyrics, poetry, music, art that I can drag into my consciousness whenever I wish - - so as I have said I rarely plan any event (just like Cool Hand Luke) - - I put myself into a ‘state” for that day, that happening and just let it all roll out - - no editing or holding back just let it go - - sitting letting my fingers type just now - - stand up - - see The River - - open the window - - “Smell the Sea and feel the sky - - let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic”.
My mind wondered off and I for some reason - - unknown to me and who cares where it came from - I allow myself to do that - - had to put Sandy Denny on - - - “Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the timeFor who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of timeFor who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?
I have been lifted, transported to my own heaven - - a slight tear in the corner of my eye - - once when I was hoovering I had Renata Tebaldi in the background singing Madame Butterfly and I noticed I was still with the vacuum in my hand with tears running down my cheeks - -its amazing how the movement of a vocal cord or the touch of paint from a brush of horsehair - - or the plucking of a string on a piece of wood can move us.
On match days I fill myself with beauty and set off to The Dark House with Wordssworth,Tarkovsky, Van, The Beatles, Mr Dylan - - this morning I read about The Rooney Quandary and some comments on TW and I immediately thought of Jack and Diane by John Mellencamp and put it on - - closed my eyes and floated into the ether for a moment - -
“A little ditty 'bout Jack & Diane
Two kids growing up in the heart land
Jack he's gonna be a football star
Saying oh yeah
Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone
Sayin' oh yeah
Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone
Now walk on”
I will leave St. Georges Hall quite early and head to TDH - - passing St.Alphonsus - - remembering other Sundays where I could hardly wait for Mass to finish - - knowing that it wouldnt be long after the Holy Communion - - running down Great Mersey Street for Mums bacon and sausage in tomato gravy with a spoon of Oxo in it to “brown” it - - listening to 2 Way Family Favourites - - BFPO40 - - who would have thought of Sunday football then - - looking up Kirkdale Road to The Dolls Hospital - - sometimes we could as a treat get Candy Floss from a machine in the back on quiet Sunday afternoons - -
- - but now onto TDH for a pint and a good gas about everything Everton and maybe even discussing European Trips - - back to the pub for a few more pints and philosophy - - maybe the quiz - - Monday is a day off for most - - so should be a long and lovely day and evening spent in wonderful company at TDH - - -nothing better than a pint and a gas after an Everton win. Wonder what odds I will get for my 4-0.
Got my headphones on - - Its All Too Much:
“It's all too much for me to take
The love that's shining all around here
All the world's a birthday cake
So take a piece but not too much”
Cosmic grooves to all Blues everywhere.
69 Posted 30/04/2017 at 08:09:28
Enjoy your say
70 Posted 30/04/2017 at 08:30:45
71 Posted 30/04/2017 at 08:48:14
By the way, I'm off to St Philomena's in half-an-hour so I'll say one for you and a few for myself, have another happy day, I don't think your spirit lets you have sad ones.
72 Posted 30/04/2017 at 08:56:45
Posso waves and cosmic grooves all the way - - George.
73 Posted 30/04/2017 at 09:27:45
74 Posted 30/04/2017 at 09:58:33
As long as you don't send the lads your playlist, as I fear that if players were to tune in to your cosmic grooves, they would be far too chilled to even get their socks on.
I wonder what they all listen to on the headsets before the game?
75 Posted 30/04/2017 at 10:09:28
Let us hope we can turn up today & give a good account of ourselves, this lot are a decent side, but beatable.
76 Posted 30/04/2017 at 10:35:27
Jack and Dianne? Great song, but after reading that epic, it's got to be "take a walk on the wildside" for me!
77 Posted 30/04/2017 at 10:43:21
But I will take all your cosmic grooves to my daughter's wedding in Devon at 1 o'clock!
78 Posted 30/04/2017 at 10:50:10
79 Posted 30/04/2017 at 10:50:59
Yes, a damaged thigh apparently.
80 Posted 30/04/2017 at 11:00:22
I'm in Pezenas today, Languedoc, so can't be there today but will be listening. Been to Mass, very long, 3 baptisms and a jolly priest, me struggling with my schoolboy French from 50+ years ago.
HOPE YOU WIN YOUR BET.
81 Posted 30/04/2017 at 11:18:46
82 Posted 30/04/2017 at 11:41:15
83 Posted 30/04/2017 at 11:53:27
“Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.” (Maybe he was an Evertonian)". Very good.
I know some of what you reference and allude to – but by no means all! I think that's one of the things that make your posts so interesting. They leave me with a bit of homework!
84 Posted 30/04/2017 at 11:55:55
85 Posted 30/04/2017 at 12:02:10
I'm drawn to the place by its history and its heritage as well as the culture.
They're fighting to get Occitan re-established as a language and fairly recently one of the local mayors did something to upset the local farmers so to show their displeasure they drove into town and sprayed the Hotel de Ville with manure. Direct action for these guys.
Lovely little medieval town this, once home to Moliere seemingly. Did him at school too!
86 Posted 30/04/2017 at 13:10:33
87 Posted 30/04/2017 at 13:22:02
88 Posted 30/04/2017 at 13:23:48
Holgate - Jagielka - Williams - Baines
Gueye - Davies - Barkley - Valencia
Calvert-Lewin - Lukaku
Robles, Koné, Mirallas, Barry, Lookman, Pennington, Kenny.
It's bold, but I'm not sure about the balance of the side.
90 Posted 30/04/2017 at 13:33:13
I'll not be expecting anything from this game.
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