Everton v Chelsea FA Cup 6th Round: Match Preview
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 12, 2016
A place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup is up for grabs this weekend as Everton host Chelsea in the last eight at Goodison Park. Only two points separate the teams in the Premier league table, but the FA Cup will now take priority for both sides following Chelsea’s Champions League exit this week.
It is 21 long years since Everton last lifted the FA Cup, beating Manchester United in the final to hoist the trophy aloft for the fifth time in their history.
There has not been a major trophy for the club since, and having fallen short in the League Cup semi-finals in January, this weekend represents their only chance to keep hopes of silverware alive.
Victory in the FA Cup would certainly help manager Roberto Martinez to ride through what is a rocky patch of his leadership, with reports suggesting that the squad are beginning to lose faith in the Spaniard.
The Toffees have only lost the same number of matches as fourth-placed Manchester City, but their inability to see games out has been the source of much frustration and has left them 12th in the table, equidistant between the top three and the bottom three.
Brighter times could be ahead with the club’s new investment being approved this week, while there are certainly signs that Everton are capable of more – only Leicester City and Man City have scored more than them in the league this season.
Everton’s Recent form (all competitions): WWLWWL
Since Everton last won the FA Cup, Chelsea have won it no fewer than six times, including once already under current interim boss Guus Hiddink.
The Dutchman remains unbeaten in this competition over his two spells in temporary charge of the team, guiding the Blues all the way to Wembley glory in 2009 with victory over the very same opponents they face this weekend.
Indeed, domestically he has lost just once in his two spells in charge, and is still yet to lose this time around having started his second reign with a 15-match unbeaten streak against fellow English sides.
Last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City may have been yet another couple of points dropped at home in the league – Hiddink has won one and drawn five of his six league games at Stamford Bridge since taking over – but it also saw him become the first manager to go 12 Premier League games unbeaten at the start of their tenure.
The FA Cup is the only thing they have left to fight for following their Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
The second leg at Stamford Bridge could prove to be costly in more than just the result, though. Diego Costa, who terrorised the PSG defence at times, and Eden Hazard, himself looking sharper than he has done for much of the season, were both forced off early and could miss this weekend’s game.
Hiddink has generally chosen strong teams to field in the FA Cup this season, cruising past Scunthorpe United in the third round before back-to-back 5-1 victories over MK Dons and a severely weakened Manchester City side to reach the quarter-finals.
They have lost just one of their last 14 FA Cup away games too, and will be eager to end what is now a four-year wait to win this competition.
Chelsea’s Recent Form (all competitions): LWWWDL
HEAD TO HEAD
Everton have won just one of their last five meetings with Chelsea in all competitions, although that did come earlier this season at Goodison Park when Steven Naismith‘s perfect hat-trick helped the Toffees to a 3-1 victory.
There were goals when the sides met at Stamford Bridge in January too, with Chelsea scoring a controversial equalizer through Terry deep in stoppage time after Funes Mori had already put his side 3-2 up in added time.
This will be the 12th FA Cup meeting between the two sides, with Everton having failed to win any of the last six in normal time, although they did triumph on penalties the last time they met in this competition.
With the way the season is going for both these clubs we’re sure to see strong lineups and an intensely contested match since both these clubs are out of the major competitions and they can salvage some respect by only winning the FA Cup.