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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Saturday 6 August 2022; 5:30pm
Everton
0 0
Chelsea
 
Half Time: 0 - 1 
Jorginho (pen) 45'+9
Attendance: 39,254
Fixture 1
Referee: Craig Pawson

Match Reports
2022-23 Reports Index
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EVERTON
  Pickford
  Godfrey (Holgate 18' booked)
  Mina booked (Vinagre 70')
  Tarkowski
  Patterson
  Mykolenko booked
  Doucoure
  Iwobi
  McNeil (Alli 61')
  Gordon
  Gray
  Subs not used
  Begovic
  Keane
  Mills
  Gbamin
  Warrington
  Allan
  Unavailable
  Rondon (suspended)
  Coleman (unfit)
  Calvert-Lewin (injured)
  Davies (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Townsend (injured)
  Branthwaite (loan)
  Dobbin (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Simms (loan)

CHELSEA
  Mendy
  Azpilicueta
  Thiago Silva
  Koulibaly (Cucurella 75' booked)
  Chilwell (Loftus-Cheek 65')
  James booked
  Kante
  Jorginho (Gallagher 90'+9)
  Mount (Pulisic 65')
  Sterling
  Havertz (Broja 75')
  Subs not used
  Arrizabalaga
  Chalobah
  Kovacic
  Ziyech

Match Stats

Possession
37%
63%
Shots
8
15
Shots on target
4
6
Corners
4
16

Premier League Scores
Friday
Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal
Saturday
Bournemouth 2-0 Aston Villa
Everton 0-1 Chelsea
Fulham 2-2 Liverpool
Leeds 2-1 Wolves
Newcastle 2-0 Nott'm Forest
Tottenham 4-1 Southampton
Sunday
Leicester 2-2 Brentford
Man United 1-2 Brighton
West Ham 0-2 Man City


1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
2 Arsenal 3
2 Bournemouth 3
2 Newcastle United 3
2 Manchester City 3
6 Leeds United 3
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 3
8 Chelsea 3
9 Fulham 1
9 Liverpool 1
9 Brentford 1
9 Leicester City 1
13 Manchester United 0
13 Wolves 0
15 Everton 0
16 West Ham United 0
16 Aston Villa 0
16 Nottingham Forest 0
16 Crystal Palace 0
20 Southampton 0

Match Report

In line with the cliché, sometimes it feels like if it weren’t for bad luck, Everton would have no luck at all. The club, under Farhad Moshiri’s stewardship, has rightly been criticised for poor recruitment decisions and profligacy in the transfer market but it has also been inordinately struck by a succession of serious injuries that have robbed the Blues of key — or potentially key — players for long stretches.

James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman’s double leg breaks, Yannick Bolasie’s torn ACL and meniscus, André Gomes’s sickening ankle fracture dislocation,  Jean-Philippe Gbamin’s thigh and Achilles woes, successive knee injuries to Cenk Tosun (not a key asset, of course, but a saleable one)  and, more recently, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s quad tear form the bulk of a sorry list of serious injuries to have befallen Everton players over the past few years.

Yerry Mina has been available for less than half of the games for which he has been eligible since arriving from Barcelona in 2018 and the frequency of his injuries has become almost tragically comical over the past 12 months. A £27m signing and arguably Everton’s best centre-half could, through no fault of the club’s, play in just 11 of 38 Premier League games last season and, having crocked himself again this afternoon, he’ll be lucky to better that this term.

Then there is Ben Godfrey, who battled Covid and a torn hamstring last season, worked his way back to full fitness and a starting role in the back three to start 2022-23, only to break his leg inside 10 minutes of the opening game. Ye footballing gods, this isn’t funny.

At least in Godfrey’s position, Frank Lampard has replacements on whom to call and today he was able to draft in Mason Holgate who continued the run of good form he has had since the new manager took charge at the end of January.

Up front, of course, Lampard is pitifully short on options with Calvert-Lewin missing and with Ellis Simms out on loan, he didn’t even have Salomon Rondon as an alternative. That left him trying to fashion a forward line geared for pace on the counter-attack against a superior opposition and, rather than deploy Dele Alli as a false nine, he plumped for Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon as the two most advanced forwards, with Dwight McNeil making his debut in support.

Predictably enough, the Toffees struggled going forward without a genuine focal point and, with neither Gray nor Gordon renowned for their consistency of end product in the final third, they were able to carve out few clear-cut scoring opportunities. And as if to painfully remind Goodison of the large DCL-shaped hole in attack, some tempting deliveries into the box would go begging, particularly in the first half, where you felt that, had the No 9 been there, Everton might not just have scored but stood a decent chance of conquering this regular winning fixture for a fifth successive season.

Ultimately, though, the contest was settled by one moment of clumsiness by the otherwise impressive Abdoulaye Doucouré and the kind of penalty award that would very probably not have been awarded had the sides and venues been reversed. 

It was another debutant, James Tarkowski’s over-zealous challenge that yielded the first dangerous set-piece of the afternoon when he jumped in on Raheem Sterling and Jordan Pickford saved Kai Havertz’s header but the game was a mere 10 minutes old when Godfrey’s afternoon was ended.

His own poor back-pass forced Pickford to scramble along the byline to clear but, even though the ball had visibly crossed the line, play was allowed to continue and Godfrey put in a typically robust covering tackle on Havertz before he could threaten the Everton goal.

He immediately signalled to the bench that he had sustained a significant injury and, after some eight minutes, was carried off to hospital while Mason Holgate came on to replace him.

Holgate was pressed into immediate action to defend a barrage of Chelsea corners and he was there again to head away a set-piece after Mina’s superb block had diverted the ball behind in the 33rd minute. 

Tarkowski. meanwhile, forced Edouard Mendy into tipping his header over from a corner and, though Chelsea were tidy in possession, they lacked their characteristic attacking danger and intensity and were made to look pretty ordinary for long stretches.

The hosts were doing a decent job of keeping the visitors at bay and restricting them to half chances and dead-ball opportunities until Sterling had the ball in the net after Pickford had spilled Ngolo Kante’s shot into his path but the former Man City forward was flagged for offside.

A couple of minutes earlier, Everton had had their best look-in on the break as Gray and Gordon raced away in a two-on-two situation but the former’s attempt to find the latter in space was cut out by Thiago Silva who anticipated the pass and stuck out a timely foot.

Unfortunately, the good work done by the Toffees and that of Doucouré was undone deep into the time added on for Godfrey’s injury, when Sterling jinked into the box and was clumsily barged over by the Mali international, leading Craig Pawson to point to the spot.

Though Mina and Pickford did their best to put him off — the Colombian was booked for not retreating out of the 18-yard box in time — Jorginho made no mistake with the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way.

The second half began brightly enough for Lampard’s men as Gray was sent away down the channel where he beat Silva for pace but the Brazilian eventually got back and lunged to deflect the shot behind.

Three minutes later, after McNeil’s attempted centre for Doucouré was knocked behind, Mendy failed to deal with the resulting corner, Iwobi squared it back to Doucouré around 10 yards out but the goalkeeper did well to stop his shot.

But the Blues struggled in general to create chances and they would have to wait until the 73rd minute for their next genuine chance that fell to substitute Dele, on for McNeil, but he couldn’t sort his feet out in time and Chelsea smothered him.

Thomas Tuchel’s men, meanwhile, had resorted to delaying tactics and time-wasting and they barely threatened Pickford’s goal until seven minutes from the end of the regulation 90 when Vitalii Mykolenko made a goal-saving intervention to prevent Sterling from putting the game to bed off Marc Cucurella’s cross.

It’s easy to dwell on the disappointment of a rare opening-defeat — this was Everton’s first loss in their first game of a new season for 11 years — and miss the elements of this performance that were genuine cause for optimism that not only is there a plan and emerging style under Lampard but his methods are working on the players.

The Blues’ passing was crisper and more accurate than was the case last season and they played their way through the lines with a confidence and efficiency that was almost entirely absent by the time Rafael Benitez was sacked in January.

Tarkowski has slotted right in and cuts an assured, leader-like figure at the back; Nathan Patterson made a hugely promising Premier League bow, displaying some exciting attacking instincts while betraying some rawness against the trickery of Sterling; the defence faced a dizzying succession of corners but held firm where last season they would surely have conceded; and Alex Iwobi continued his unforeseen but massively welcome rebirth as a midfield play-maker under the new boss.

Even if the club manage to sign a striker to replace Calvert-Lewin and then vie with him for a starting role, question marks will remain over where the goal-creation is going to come from but Iwobi’s vision, footwork and creativity could provide a big part of the solution if he keeps blossoming in the way he is and the imminent signings of Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana can free him up to look forward and play more in the opposition half.

The bottom line: at first blush and contrary to some neutral observers’ dire prognostications, the 2022-23 edition of Everton doesn’t look doomed to another battle against relegation but the rest of August will provide further indication.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Depleted Everton kick off the 2022-23 season with a tricky fixture against last season's third-place finishers Chelsea and they'll do it without a recognised striker.

Dele Alli had been expected to be in the lineup in some capacity, either as a "false 9" or in central midfield but the former Tottenham man was only named among the substitutes once more as Dwight McNeil was handed his debut in a front three rounded out by Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon.

At the back, James Tarkowski also made his first appearance for Everton alongside the fit-again Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey and there was also a first Premier League start for Nathan Patterson.

The Blues fans once again welcomed the team bus to Goodison Park in fine style and plenty of blue smoke. And it was glorious sunshine for a bumper crowd inside the ground and in fine voice to start a new season thankfully in the Premier League.  

Chelsea got things started but Everton won an early free-kick that was delivered rather poorly, however Everton continued to play up, a looping cross poorly headed wide by Doucouré. Everton looked to play forward and moved the ball around well enough but were driven back to half-way before Chelsea stole possession. 

Tarkowski was a little too strong on Sterling, the set-piece met by Havertz and fortunately directed to Pickford. Sterling tried to break through but literally ran into and bounced off Yerry Mina. Chelsea continued to apply pressure. A ridiculous back-pass by Godfrey went behind but Pickford pushed it back in play direct to Havertz who was running in when Godfrey went scything into him, as players seem to do after they make an idiotic mistake, and ridiculously injured himself... apparently seriously given the long treatment and lack of replays. 

On came the stretcher, off went Godfrey with his right leg in splints, adding even more headaches to Lampard's injury list with the season barely 10 minutes old, while Holgate was called off the bench to replace him. A series of four Chelsea corners followed, one needing a low save by Pickford, before the last was overhit and out of play. 

On the resulting Everton attack, a nice ball in from Gray went right over Gordon's high leap.  At the other end, a moment of comedy when sandwiched Sterling on the ground with the ball trapped beneath him. Mykolenko played a wonderful crossfield ball that Gordon won Everton's first corner from but went over everyone, Mykolenko sending it back in and a decent header from Tarkowski had to be flicked over the bar by Mendy. 

Good defending by Patterson resulted in Gray giving away a corner and another followed but Everton eventually broke out, Iwobi to Mykolenko who crossed for Gordon but his prowess at heading such balls probably needs further work. Chelsea were again trying to work it in but this time Havertz could not get past Mina. 

With Sterling running forward at speed and Mina struggling to keep pace, Iwobi fouled the new Chelsea man for another dangerous free-kick, headed clear. Corners 9, 10 and 1 followed for Chelsea with Everton struggling to break out, Koulabily chasing Gordon and fouling him but escaping a yellow, much to the annoyance of the Goodison crowd.   

Chelsea sporadically built another attack looking for yet another corner, denied this time.  Gordon and Doucoure almost linked up as the big man surged into the Chelsea area but Everton were under pressure again, but defending robustly. 

Gray had a great chance to break forward and play in Gordon but his pass was atrociously bad. What an opportunity that would have been. Chelsea had the ball in the Everton net soon after but Sterling was offside before a shot rebounded out to him off Pickford. At the other end, Gordon tried to dribble in but an outstretched leg stalled him. 

With 8 minutes of added time due to Godfrey's on-field treatment, Everton's lively but ultimately unproductive play continued to thwart the visitors without looking as effective as they should have been when in possession going forward.  Another string of Chelsea corners needed defending again.  

Pawson gives Chelsea a ridiculous free-kick when Sterling slipped in front of Tarkowski. Then Doucoure clumsily bundled into Chilwell, just stupid defending. A simple penalty with Mina trying hard to disrupt things and seeing yellow... equally stupid! Jorginho rolled it in very easily to give the visitors a half-time lead thanks to Everton's traditional charitable nature. 

Everton restarted the match but the ball was soon down their end as the Chelsea pressure resumed. But the ball broke forward and Gray looked to be in with a chance but made hard work of it, Silva deflecting his shot behind and the corner wasted by being overhit. But Everton worked it forward again through Gordon and McNeil, winning a corner. And it was Keystone Cops stuff with no cleans hot until Mendy finally collected. 

McNeil did well to steal the ball and feed Doucouré but Gordon could not get a clean shot on the ball that was played into him. Chelsea delayed another throw-in and this time got yellow. Chelsea won yet another corner, cleared by Tarkowski. Everton were sinking deeper and deeper and Frank Lampard decided to make a change, Dele Alli on for NcNeil.

Tarkowski picked out Mykolenko with a lovely ball but he got his shot over Mendy all wrong. Gray got forward on the other wing but could not force the cross. Patterson gave away a silly free-kick for a completely unnecessary shove. 

Mina then collapsed in a heap with cramp... for another ridiculously long break in what is a distinctly non-flowing game before Ruben Vinagre replaced him for his debut. When the game finally got going again, Chelsea had a free-kick that was cleared. Everton played it around but Chelsea looked happy to sit on their lead.. Patterson broke forward and fed Dele Alli a beautiful ball for sweeping into the net first time... but instead he falls over then kicks it wide.  

Another long break for more Chelsea changes, really milking the new rules! The game had gone largely flat with some faintly promising cameos from Dele, but Iwobi giving the ball back. Such shockingly poor football from Everton!  Iwobi did marginally better trying to release Dele Alli but the attention on him was too intense. 

Loftus-Cheek got to run forward and Mykolenko was penalized and shown yellow for barely brushing his arm, and a free-kick given away just outside the Everton penalty area, which James wellies over the Everton bar. Chelsea finally tried to score, and almost did, Mykolenko cross smartly to deflect Sterling's shot wide... for another corner, caught by Pickford. 

Yet another stoppage, this time a medical emergency in the stand. 

The game eventually restarted and Patterson tried to launch an attack but it was cleared... leading to yet another Chelsea corner, cleared. Everton tried to play forward again, and eventually won a free-kick when Pulisic fouled Gordon. An incredible 10 minutes of added time shown! Everton seemed to realise that this would e their last chance and started to play a bit... only for Thiago Silva to go down now with cramp or a tight hamstring. This is getting just ridiculous!

There was some more football played, if you can call it that, with free-kicks, taken quickly, then recalled and taken again. Then a silly bit of nonsense where Holgate gets a late yellow card, then another stoppage while Gallagher comes on. More stops and starts... throw-in, free-kick, yellow card for Cucurella kicking the ball away. 

Scorer:  Jorginho (pen:45+8')

Everton: Pickford, Godfrey (17 Holgate), Mina [Y:45+6'] (70' Vinagre) Tarkowski, Patterson, Mykolenko [Y:81], Doucouré, Iwobi, Gordon, McNeil (60' Dele Alli), Gray
Subs not Used: Begovic, Keane, Allan, Gbamin, Warrington, Mills

Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly (75' Cucurella [90+3']), James [Y:56'], Kante, Jorginho (90+9' Gallagher), Chilwell( 65' Pulisic), Mount (65' Loftus-Cheek),  Havertz (75' Broja), Sterling.
Subs not Used: Arrizabalaga, Kovacic, Chalobah, Ziyech.

Referee: Craig Pawson
VAR: John Brooks

Attendance: 39,254

Michael Kenrick

An Encouraging Defeat... Somewhat

My day began with a morning flight from Amsterdam to Liverpool. I'd visited the Netherlands for a little trip to watch some cricket in The Hague with my son. Having got home, we grabbed some lunch before making our way over to Liverpool city centre for a few jars in the Ship & Mitre, my father-in-law and I that is. We then sunk a quick one in the Vernon Arms before jumping on the train at Moorfields – if you ever get the train to Kirkdale, by the way, be sure to check out the new stadium progress out of the window, it's really taking shape.

We then grabbed a few tinnies from the off-licence and met the rest of the lads near the Holy Trinity statue. It was great to see the fellas again and enjoy a few beers. Before long, the coach went past with the players, greeted by a haze of blue smoke and rapturous applause. My father-in-law, visiting from Germany, loved every second of it.

After the coach had gone past, we still had plenty of time and enjoyed another beer or two before heading into the Lower Gwladys Street End, the atmosphere by now really bubbling away. I got to my seat and, as always at the beginning of every season, it was great to see all the usual faces. Everyone in good form.

I was surprised that Dele Alli didn't begin the game as I thought it was the sort of game that would have suited him, and as we well know, we didn't have any strikers available. Instead, Anthony Gordon was asked to lead the line in attack, supported by Demarai Gray and new-signing Dwight McNeil. Alex Iwobi and Abdoulaye Doucouré made up the midfield. It was great to see Nathan Patterson make his Premier League bow at right back, and James Tarkowski slotted into centre-back as if he's been a part of that back line for years. A class act. Jordan Pickford was the chosen captain.

Chelsea, of course, had an embarrassment of riches at their disposal. As I pointed out at half-time to the fella who sits next to me, it sits wrong with me that it wasn't long ago that Chelsea couldn't afford to stay overnight at a hotel for an away game… but, in no time at all, they can spend ridiculous money, including a £60M back-up left-back for a £50M left-back, whereas Everton have to wheel and deal like mad.

Anyhow, we began the game reasonably well I thought and were matching Chelsea early doors. Disaster struck on 8 minutes for poor Ben Godfrey of course in the dumbest of circumstances. Firstly, it was an awful backpass; secondly, what was Jordan thinking? That was never going to not be a corner, let it go; and thirdly, why didn't the linesman signal or the referee blow up? The ball was so obviously out of play and should have been dead. I sit pretty much in line with where Ben was stricken and I felt for the guy, he looked in severe pain and very worried. On the face of it, 3 months on the sidelines doesn't sound so bad given how much worse it could have been.

Following a lengthy stoppage, Mason Holgate replaced him and was quickly into the action, heading out a couple of corners straight away as Everton valiantly defended Chelsea's set-piece onslaught.

It was a good effort in the first half, we stayed in it well, and nearly got to the break all-square. In fairness to Chelsea, they were turning the screw deep into stoppage time and Everton were pinned back, and cracked under the pressure. Abdoulaye Doucouré unnecessarily brought down Ben Chilwell, Jorginho delivered from the spot, Chelsea ahead at the break.

I wasn't aware at the time, and it was a bit before the goal, but we later found out in the pub that Raheem Stirling had benefited from a quite hideous dive in the build up, which burns a bit. I don't want to have a go at players for diving individually, because they all bloody do it, but for dives as clear as that, I'd like to see the referees do their job better, as this was as blatant as they come. With the VAR available, and diving seldom punished, I really can't fathom why there isn't an initiative to do something about this.

The second half was quite the dull affair. Though Everton showed plenty of huff and puff, Chelsea had us at arm's length for most of it and ran out the second half quite comfortably in fairness. We had a few moments when I just wished somebody would have put their laces through it but, as has been the case, our decision-making is pretty shoddy in the final third and we are left ruing opportunities.

Demarai Gray, Dwight McNeil and substitute Dele Alli all had chances to shoot and either did so at the wrong time or tried to play a pass instead and the opportunity faded. Chelsea frustrated in their successful efforts to grind the game down, and the game ticked out to a bit of an annoying defeat, which on another day we might have nicked a point from. Oh and Yerry Mina, come on man. This is beyond ridiculous now.

We congregated in The Winslow after the match and met some Dutch Evertonians who we've gotten to know well over the years, who were visiting for the game. With the match being a late kick-off, before we knew it, the time was almost 10 pm. Luckily for us, Gaz had stayed around on the soft drinks and was able to kindly take us all home.

So we begin with a somewhat encouraging defeat, our first opening day loss since 2011. It's apparent to all what is required. Let's make sure we get that striker in, because as far as I can tell, especially with the other incoming additions, the rest of the squad will more than do.

Player ratings:

Jordan Pickford: I don't know if this performance was somewhat inflicted by the pressure of the captain's armband, but blimey that was a poor display. Let's hope that's him getting a shocker out of the way early. 4

James Tarkowski: What a centre-back he is, the best we've had since Phil Jagielka. His reading of the game is exemplary, and he's very organised. A great signing, he'll be brilliant for us. 8

Ben Godfrey: I won't judge him given his length of time on the field and sad departure. I just hope he makes a full recovery.

Yerry Mina: Had a decent enough performance but I've had about enough of this. I'd sooner play Michael Keane each game because at least you know what you're going to get. If you've got a player you can't depend on, then how you can justify continuing to include him? I guess he'll be gone come the Summer in any event. A real frustration. 6

Vitalii Mykolenko: He did pretty well, both at left-wingback and inside centre-back. I dare say he's a better inside centre-back than a left-wingback. 6

Nathan Patterson: He's still quite raw, and before his injury, I can see why Frank wasn't convinced he was ready. However, he's an exciting player and loves to get forward. We have to keep on playing him and let him learn. He can be a valuable asset to us in attack which, given we have a shortage of goals, could be very useful. 7

Alex Iwobi: He was fantastic and continually showed intelligent use of the ball and bundles of energy throughout. I'd like to have seen him get an opportunity to get further up the pitch. It's a shame Tom Davies was injured and Allan seemingly not ready to return from injury as one of them could have been useful, even as a substitute. Hopefully we can see him further forward next game because he makes things happen. My Man of the Match. 8

Abdoulaye Doucouré: He had a good game. He began the second half with a whirlwind, possibly trying to make amends for the penalty he conceded. A good effort throughout. 7

Dwight McNeil: He did okay. I've seen better debuts but also a lot worse. He seems to do the basics well and I look forward to assessing him more as I see him play more. 6

Demarai Gray: A bit disappointing, he didn't offer a great deal. 5

Anthony Gordon: He worked hard but it was always going to be tough for him up there on his own. That part when he chased the ball down and regained possession was great though. I look forward to seeing him back on the wing next week. 6

Substitutes:

Mason Holgate (for Ben Godfrey): I thought Mason did ever so well, especially being thrust straight into action so early in the game. 7

Dele Alli (for Dwight McNeil): He got involved as usual and did pretty well. I think he should have begun the game. 6

Ruben Vinagre (for Yerry Mina): I was very impressed with Ruben, he certainly likes to attack. I'd have him starting games at left-wingback instead of Vitalii. He looks a good all-round player. 7

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Depleted Everton kick off the 2022-23 season with a tricky fixture against last season's third-place finishers Chelsea and they'll do it without a recognised striker.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin now sidelined for six weeks and Salomon Rondon suspended following his red card against Brentford in the penultimate home game of last season against Brentford, Frank Lampard is going to have to get creative in terms of his forward line.

Dele Alli offers a potential answer as a false nine to mirror Chelsea's expected deployment of Kai Havertz in the same role and has been moved into that position already in pre-season with Calvert-Lewin off the pitch so it would not be surprising to see the former Spurs man lead the line.

Anthony Gordon's stock remains high and will surely start on one flank with, perhaps, Demarai Gray's longevity over Dwight McNeil giving him the edge of the new signing despite McNeil's star turn in the friendly against Dynamo Kyiv last week.

While central defence looks strong with Yerry Mina fit and expected to play in a back three alongside Ben Godfrey and James Tarkowski and Vitalii Mykolenko is a shoo-in at left wing-back, it's the opposite flank that might give the manager pause.

Nathan Patterson has looked increasingly effective going forward but his inexperience has shown at times from a defensive standpoint and it could be that Seamus Coleman not fit - he turned out for the first time since undergoing surgery for the Under-21s in their win last night - Alex Iwobi gets the job, with the young Scot having to bide his time again somewhat.

In central midfield, neither Amadou Onana nor Idrissa Gueye were signed in time to be eligible and with Allan not match fit (he, too, is working his way back after an operation) and both Tom Davies and André Gomes injured, there is only Abdoulaye Doucouré among those players regularly selected in the middle.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin is an option alongside the Mali international as is bringing one the wide players in more centrally, dropping Dele back, pushing Gray forward and using McNeil or deploying someone like Mason Holgate in defensive midfield as an emergency, with Lewis Warrington in reserve on the bench.

The last time these two sides met, of course, was just a few months ago in this same fixture when Everton beat Chelsea at Goodison Park for the fourth season in succession. The hero of that day, Richarlison, has gone, of course, so Toffees fans will be looking for the next hero to extend that impressive sequence of results against one of the so-called "big six".

Kick-off: 5:30pm, Saturday, 6 August, 2022
Referee: Craig Pawson
VAR: John Brooks
Last Time: Everton 1 - 0 Chelsea

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Godfrey, Mina, Tarkowski, Iwobi, Mykolenko, Doucouré, Gordon, McNeil, Gray, Alli

Lyndon Lloyd

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