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  • 4 December 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: L. Probert
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Chelsea - Everton Preview: Carlo Ancelotti welcomes back John Terry and Michael Essien

Chelsea - Everton Preview: Carlo Ancelotti welcomes back John Terry and Michael Essien

TEAM NEWS

Chelsea

Carlo Ancelotti can call on the services of midfielder Michael Essien again as the Ghanaian returns from suspension following a sending off against Fulham.

John Terry has declared himself fit ahead of schedule, which is welcome news for the Italian manager, as Alex faces several weeks out following knee surgery.

Frank Lampard remains doubtful though, and Yuri Zhirkov could also miss out.

Possible starting XI: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, A Cole; Essien, Mikel, Malouda; Anelka, Drogba, Kalou.

Everton

David Moyes could be without Phil Neville and Leon Osman, though both will be given every chance of being passed fit to play.

Mikel Arteta will definitely not feature however, as he begins a three-match suspension for his sending off against West Brom, but Marouane Fellaini is back having served his ban for a red card against Bolton.

Possible starting XI: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Osman, Heitinga, Fellaini, Pienaar; Cahill; Yakubu.

Blues lose that winning feeling

After they put six goals each past West Brom and Wigan at the very beginning of this season, it was hard to see past Chelsea in terms of Premier League title winners. It was the sort of start that must have struck fear in the rest of the pack, who may have been expecting to be chasing shadows for the rest of the campaign.

Just lately though, Chelsea have faltered. Injuries to key players Frank Lampard and John Terry, as well as a bout of malaria for striker Didier Drogba, have threatened to derail the Blues' season - Carlo Ancelotti's side have won just one of their last five league games and will be desperate to resurrect their title defence at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Poor start - but will it get better?

Meanwhile, nobody is exactly sure what has happened to Everton. David Moyes's side have been known to make poor starts and this season has been no different, but despite showing signs of life in beating Merseyside rivals Liverpool and drawing with Tottenham at White Hart Lane, the Toffees have gone five games without a win, the latest result a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of West Brom at Goodison Park.

Few will expect Everton to get anything from their trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday and Moyes may choose to set his stall out to defend, but the visitors have left London with a point from each of their last two trips, and are unbeaten against Chelsea in their last four meetings.

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Players to watch

M. Essien

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The likely return of Michael Essien will display to the watching world just how important the midfielder is to Chelsea. Not always the most eye-catching performer, the Ghanaian is a dominant presence in the centre of the pitch and will give Tim Cahill and Co. plenty to think about on Saturday.

T. Cahill

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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In the absence of a striker among the goals and the creative skills of Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill is, as ever, Everton's key man. The Austraian has scored eight goals this season to once again highlight how crucial he is to the Everton cause, and he remains the most likely to beat Petr Cech.

Editor's Prediction

Chelsea have been struggling for form and Everton have been known to dig deep against the league's bigger sides, but with Essien and possibly Terry returning to add some steel to the hosts' spine, it is difficult to see Moyes's side breaking them down.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Chelsea

Everton

Wins
4
0
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
Draw
Everton FC EVE
Everton FC Everton
76%

Top 3 Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
2 - 0
Everton FC EVE
Chelsea FC CHE
2 - 1
Everton FC EVE
Chelsea FC CHE
3 - 0
Everton FC EVE

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