Everton - Chelsea Pre-Match Analysis: Focus set on FA Cup

The Blues enter Goodison Park for their quarter final fixture against Everton on Saturday evening.

Everton - Chelsea Pre-Match Analysis: Focus set on FA Cup
Photo: Adrian Dennis - AFP/Getty Images

After a disappointing exit at Stamford Bridge from the UEFA Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain, the Blues find themselves only left in the chase for the illustrious FA Cup. This is the second consecutive season the Blues have lost to the Parisians, after a memorable win courtesy of a Demba Ba goal now three seasons ago. 

Guus Hiddink is no newcomer to this competition after his FA Cup triumph during his first spell as Chelsea manager in 2009 where he defeated the Toffees 2-1 at Wembley Stadium. However, both clubs find themselves in different situations now than almost seven years ago.

Goals galore 

The previous four head-to-head matches in all competitions have seen a whopping 20 goals between both sides. Although both clubs overall have had a decent run of form recently including at least three wins in six matches, both sit at midtable with deteriorating aspirations for European qualification. This match, therefore, has rapidly become the most significant match of the season.

Chelsea will likely be without Spanish international forward Diego Costa, leaving them without a true workforce upfront like they had in Didier Drogba in the 2009 final. Will Alexandre Pato finally make his first appearance, or could youngster Bertrand Traore still maintain the manager's edge even over Loic Remy? The loss of Kurt Zouma for the rest of the season and the doubt of John Terry returning should be a joy to hear for former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who has enjoyed a great season thus far. 

Guus Hiddink has sometimes replicated  Jose Mourinho with the uncertainty of who will be selected for the starting squad since returning as manager, especially in the midfield rotation. John Obi Mikel could likely get the one of the defensive midfield spots while Willian will almost definitely remain on the right wing. However, with the knock that Eden Hazard picked up and Oscar, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at his disposal, we will have to wait.

Guus Hiddink celebrates with Chelsea players after 2009 FA Cup victory. | Getty Images
Guus Hiddink celebrates with Chelsea players after 2009 FA Cup victory. | Getty Images

Toffees anticipate bright future

Everton may see the return of skipper Leighton Baines at the leftback position which provides danger for Chelsea when they push into the enemy box and on set pieces. However, Kevin Mirallas will be serving his suspension after receiving a red card in their 3-2 loss against West Ham in the Premier League. Manager Roberto Martinez will be happy with the returns of Tom Cleverley and Gareth Barry into the squad. 

This may be Roberto Martinez's big chance to convince the board to allow him to maintain the managerial position for next season. With the arrival of Farhad Moshiri into the club's ownership, the possible investments the club will have at their disposal next season will surely be of interest for himself and the fans. Although Everton are prone to their own mistakes, playing aggressive attacking football against the Blues can benefit them if the Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic defensive pairing makes another vital mistake to allow a goal.