Four Key Battles That Could Decide the Outcome of Saturday’s Match Between Everton & Chelsea

Everton and Chelsea will face one another in the Saturday lunchtime kick off, with the hope of besting the other in the fight for Premier League points.

The two Blue outfits have slugged it out many times in recent memory, and it is Antonio Conte’s men who have had the better of recent exchanges.

With the Toffees desperate to end their losing run against the reigning champions, and Chelsea wanting to continue that winning streak, battles across the field will prove to be crucial. Here’s four that will be key to the outcome of the result:

4. Cesar Azpilicueta vs Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin would ordinarily fancy his chances against a centre-back who is shorter and arguably less physically strong than him – particularly if the other options to square up to are Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill.

However, Azpilicueta is no pushover and has excelled at centre-half for over a year, with his positional awareness, tackling and distribution all extremely solid in a supposedly unfamiliar role.

The Spain international will need to communicate well with his fellow defenders in case Calvert-Lewin runs in behind or into the channels but, if he can marshal Everton’s young striker, it could help decide the fate of this contest.

3. Cuco Martina vs Davide Zappacosta

Although moved into an unusual position in Leighton Baines’ absence, Cuco Martina has done well at left-back recently.

The Curacao international will face another stern test on Saturday in the shape of attacking wing-back Zappacosta, and will need to be on his game to thwart the Italy international from bombing forward to supply Chelsea’s front line with crosses.

If Gyfli Sigurdsson can help the 28-year-old stunt Zappacosta’s involvement down Everton’s left flank, Martina should have an easier ride and help his side to yet another clean sheet.

2. Wayne Rooney vs N’Golo Kante

Rooney’s new found role in the centre of midfield for Everton has helped re-energise him after an inconsistent start to life back at Goodison Park.

The veteran forward is now able to ping passes across the field, get forward with late runs into the area to bag crucial goals, and generally dictate the tempo games.

The 32-year-old won’t be afforded so much time on the ball, however, with the tireless Kante in close proximity to him.

1. Eden Hazard vs Ashley Williams

With Alvaro Morata sidelined through suspension, the main attacking threat from the visitors is almost certain to come from a certain Eden Hazard.

The Belgian attacker has eight goals and eight assists in 24 games this term and, before Allardyce’s appointment, it would have been expected that he would easily best centre-back Ashley Williams.

However, the Everton defender is a man reborn under the 63-year-old and has helped his team concede just two league goals in five matches.

This tussle will be massive on the day, and whoever comes out on top will surely help decide where the points lie at the end of play.


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