Chelsea vs Everton LIVE: N’Golo Kante is BACK for the Blues as Graham Potter names the Frenchman on the bench after his long injury lay-off… while Sean Dyche names an unchanged team from the Toffees’ win over Brentford
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for the Premier League clash between Chelsea and Everton.
‘The players have been very adaptive,” he said. “They’ve listened, they’ve absorbed a lot of what we’ve offered them, particularly in the first week, 10 days, maybe two weeks because we really tried to cram a lot in then, really sort of force feeding them a lot of what we thought was important.
‘People sometimes think, ‘Well that’s part of their profession’ but you’ve still got to go out and play. You’re taking in a lot of information, sometimes new to your style or your game. It is more tricky than people sometimes think, to add in new tactical thinking and different professional standards that we represent.
“As the weeks have gone on they’ve got more used to what we do and then it’s about standards and driving the standards and the consistency of the standards.’
Some big results across the Premier League today.
Leeds have won at Wolves by four goals to two, which is a huge result at the bottom. As soon as one side appears to be pulling away (See: Nottingham Forest and Wolves) from the drop, they are hauled back in.
Tottenham surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Southampton, while Bournemouth were brought back down to earth with a 3-0 beating at Aston Villa.
Leicester came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Brentford.
One player Everton will have to do without today is Calvert-Lewin, who appears to have again broken down nearing a return. Poor lad, his body just cannot seem to cope at the moment.
Dyche, to his credit, has consistently said since he arrived in January that the most important thing is the striker’s fitness and that is what they are looking to improve. They are not putting any pressure on him to return for the crucial relegation scrap.
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How much have Chelsea missed Kante?
Quite a lot, it is fair to say.
The France international went off injured against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in August clutching his hamstring and has not been seen since. They have had to remain very cautious over his return date, but today is that day. It will be interesting to see how many minutes he gets.
‘There is a chance for him to be in the squad,’ Potter said on Friday. ‘It would be the first time so it’s fantastic. Managers before me have spoken very highly of N’Golo because he’s a top, top player.
‘He’s been a huge miss to us. That’s not to say the other players haven’t given absolutely everything because they have, but N’Golo Kante is N’Golo Kante. A top player.
‘It’s great for us he’s back. We need to be mindful of the fact he’s had a long injury and we need to take the next steps to get him up to speed in the Premier League, which is what we’ll do.’
Blues in the building! 👊#CheEve pic.twitter.com/zgY5TsuCvk
That’s the team news done, time for some preamble.
Both of these sides come into this clash with a renewed sense of optimism that they will strive to use to drive on the remainder of their campaigns.
Chelsea are on a winning run of three games, which only the same number of weeks ago, almost, seemed extremely unlikely. Potter has shaken off questions about his future until at the least the summer with their progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and his plethora of new signings are beginning to acclimatise.
Matched with Kai Havertz’s most consistent few weeks in a Chelsea shirt, things are looking up.
Everton, meanwhile, are really looking like a Dyche team. They are not the prettiest watch, but they will not care – survival is all that matters now. Last week’s win over Brentford was backs-to-the-wall for much of the afternoon, having taken the lead very early on.
They are running more than they were under Lampard, and they have more bite and resilience. That said, goals are a real issue, and with Dominic Calvert-Lewin yet again facing a spell on the sidelines, that continues to be a major worry.
Dyche’s team is unchanged from the victory over Brentford last weekend.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski, Godfrey, Onana, Doucoure, Gueye, Iwobi, Gray, McNeil.
Subs: Begovic, Holgate, Mina, Mykolenko, Maupay, Davies, Coady, Garner, Simms.
⚠️ Team news is in! ⚠️
Sean Dyche names an unchanged XI from the win against Brentford.#CHEEVE pic.twitter.com/Ut3C9C4Y5r
Fresh off the back of three consecutive wins, Potter now has the added bonus of returning players. Their injury problems at the turn of the year are beginning to dissipate.
Kante returns, having last appeared for the Blues in August 2022 – under Thomas Tuchel. How time flies.
Three changes from the side that beat Leicester, with Badiashile, James and Pulisic coming in.
Chelsea: Kepa, James, Fofana, Koulibaly, Badiashile, Chilwell, Kovacic, Enzo, Joao Felix, Pulisic, Havertz.
Subs: Bettinelli, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Mudryk, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka, Madueke, Cucurella.
Your Chelsea side today! 🔵#CheEve pic.twitter.com/ALcbzDwcly
Good afternoon and welcome to Sportsmail’s live coverage of Chelsea’s clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge.
Team news to come imminently.
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