Fabian Delph

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Premier League Preview: Everton v. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea sit 4th, with 29 points
  • Everton sit 18th, with 11 points
  • Last meeting: Everton 2-0 Chelsea

Everton’s start to the 2019-20 Premier League season has been beyond woeful (4W-2D-9L in 15 games) for any club, let alone one that had dreams of breaking into the top-six this season, resulting in manager Marco Silva losing his job on Thursday. Now, fewer than 48 hours later, the Toffees have to pick themselves back up and face a top-four side for the third straight game when Chelsea visit Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Having lost three straight PL games, including defeats to second-place Leicester City and leaders Liverpool this week alone, the next few weeks will go a long way toward seeing Everton leave the relegation zone in the rearview mirror or sink deeper and deeper into the muck of a season-long relegation battle. A piece of potentially positive news for Everton ahead of Saturday’s game: they are currently three games unbeaten against Chelsea (1W-2D-0L).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

As for the Blues, this could turn out to be a decisive week in their season. After losing to West Ham United last weekend, Frank Lampard‘s side bounced back with a win over Aston Villa on Wednesday. Then came the best news of all on Friday: Chelsea’s transfer ban has been cut in half and they will be able to sign players in January, meaning their young, thin squad can be bolstered as the look to solidify their Champions League place for next season.

With a floundering side like Everton next up on the fixtures list, the chance to move further clear of the Champions League chasing pack is perfectly ripe. Tammy Abraham (hip) returned for the game against Villa and scored the opening goal to take is season’s tally to 11 (second, behind Jamie Vardy). The 22-year-old has benefited more than anyone from what turned out to be Chelsea’s one-window transfer ban, doing more than enough to secure his place for the second half of the season, no matter what business they do in January.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee)

Chelsea: OUT – Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rudiger (groin)


Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford — Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne — Schneiderlin, Davies, Sigurdsson — Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Chelsea: Kepa — James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta — Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Mount, Pulisic — Abraham


What they’re saying

Interim Everton boss Duncan Ferguson: “I’m a coach at the moment so I don’t think that is something I am considering at this time. It is my dream to be Everton manager but I am also realistic. Who wouldn’t want to be manager of Everton? There will be many top managers who want this job.”

Frank Lampard, on the new-manager bounce: “[Marco] Silva tried everything for the club and I’m sure that he will go on to manage well elsewhere. They might have an extra energy tomorrow as they rally.”


Prediction

Chelsea have far too much balance between defense and attack to hand Everton the glaring opportunities they will need to beat a genuine top-four side. That said, there’s far too much talent in that squad to continue to get beaten every time out, and perhaps seeing someone else take the blame will lift the burden off them and allow them to perform. Everton 2-2 Chelsea.

PL Sunday preview: Arsenal’s post-Emery era; Man Utd host Villa

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures features four games, including (but not limited to) the first game of the post-Unai Emery era at Arsenal, Manchester United with a chance to climb into fifth place, and what could be the final game of Marco Silva‘s tenure at Everton.

[ MORE: Mourinho praises “phenomenal” Dele Alli, Spurs supporters ]

Arsenal v. Norwich City — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal on Friday, making way for the Freddie Ljungberg (interim) era to begin on Sunday. With no obvious candidate standing out from all the others, Ljungberg, a long-time favorite as a Gunners player, could be given the chance to impress and have the “interim” tag removed, a la Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a year ago. After taking just three points from their last five PL games, Arsenal have fallen to ninth place, eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea, and could finish the weekend as low as 10th place. On the other hand, a win over 19th-place Norwich would see them climb up to fifth, a point ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Norwich’s Teemu Pukki, who took the PL by storm with five goals in his first three games, hasn’t found the back of the net since Sept. 14, a run of eight straight goal-less games for the Fininish forward.

INJURIES: Arsenal —  OUT: Dani Ceballos (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Hector Bellerin (hamstring), David Luiz (ribs), Shkodran Mustafi (foot) | Norwich  — OUT: Alexander Tettey (personal), Grant Hanley (groin), Timm Klose (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Jamal Lewis (knee), Josip Drmic (hamstring)


Wolves v. Sheffield United — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Through 13 games of their debut season in the PL, Sheffield United are threatening to “do a Wolves,” in so much that the newly promoted side currently sits seventh — where Wolves finished last season — following a red-hot start. Following a poor start of their own (zero wins from their first six games), Wolves have rebounded nicely (unbeaten in their last eight, including four wins) and climbed all the way up to sixth (each side sat a place higher coming into the weekend).

INJURIES: Wolves —  OUT: Willy Boly (ankle), Ryan Bennett (groin), Romain Saiss (suspension), Morgan Gibbs-White (back) | Sheffield United  — OUT: None


Man United v. Aston Villa — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Nearly four months into the season, Man United are still without back-to-back PL victories. In fact, they’ve not repeated the same result — win, loss or draw — in consecutive league games all season. The Red Devils ave been, if anything, consistently inconsistent. After drawing Sheffield United 3-3 last time out, the best Solskjaer’s side can do on Sunday is get halfway there ahead of Tottenham’s blockbuster visit, and Jose Mourinho’s return, on Wednesday. United’s injury list remains extensive — and expensive — as Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly remain out, with Nemanja Matic perhaps set to return on Sunday. As for Villa, Dean Smith‘s side snapped a three-game losing skid last time out by thoroughly besting Newcastle United at Villa Park to put four points between themselves and the relegation zone. Following Southampton’s victory on Saturday, that gap is already down to two points.

INJURIES: Man United —  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (groin); QUESTIONABLE: Nemanja Matic (groin), Scott McTominay (ankle) | Aston Villa  — OUT: Jed Steer (calf), Jota (hernia); QUESTIONABLE: Bjorn Engels (hip)


Leicester City v. Everton — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Every defeat in the coming days could prove to be the final day of Silva’s employment as Everton manager, with the Toffees entering Sunday’s trip to the King Power Stadium in 17th place. It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (seven) on the season thus far, but the sides to which they’ve lost (Villa, Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Norwich, to name most of them) that stands out as most embarrassing for a club that thought it would be competing for the top-six this season. Leicester, meanwhile, have happily and swiftly taken their place as the side most likely to break up the monotony of the same clubs finishing atop the table every season. The Foxes entered the weekend in second place (they have since fallen to second), eight points back of Liverpool (now 11), on the back of five straight league victories. Jamie Vardy‘s 12 goals have garnered most of the headlines, but the play-making duo of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have been arguably more enjoyable to watch

INJURIES: Leicester —  OUT: Matty James (achilles) | Everton  — OUT: Andre Gomes (ankle), Theo Walcott (knock), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Morgan Schneiderlin (knock), Fabian Delph (hamstring), Cuco Martina (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Bernard (knee)

Ox, Hudson-Odoi in England squad; Grealish left out

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been recalled to the England squad after lengthy spells out due to the injury.

England play against Montenegro and Kosovo on Nov. 14 and Nov. 17 respectively. A point against Montenegro will secure England’s qualification to EURO 2020 next summer.

AOC and CHO have both battled their way back to full fitness in recent months and the attacking midfielders have been rewarded with recalls to the Three Lions setup as Hudson-Odoi last featured in March and Oxlade-Chamberlain had a brief return in September.

There is however no place for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, as the midfielder is nursing a minor injury and didn’t feature in their defeat against Liverpool last weekend.

James Maddison has been called up by Southgate once again, as he is yet to make his debut and didn’t feature last month as he pulled out of the squad due to illness. Much was made about Maddison being spotted in a casino days later, but Southgate has rewarded the Leicester City playmaker for his fine form.

There are some injury concerns for England with Chelsea’s Ross Barkley and Mason Mount struggling with knocks, while Jordan Henderson is suspended for the game against Montenegro.

Below is the squad in full.


England national team squad

Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

Everton’s Coleman consoles Son after Gomes injury

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As both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur come to grips with the gruesome injury suffered by Andre Gomes, it’s worth noting that Toffees player Seamus Coleman made a huge gesture after the 1-1 draw.

Spurs forward Heung-Min Son badly missed with a slide tackle that sent Gomes airborne, the Everton man breaking his ankle on an awkward landing.

[ RECAP: Everton 1-1 Spurs ]

Son was given a yellow card — later turned to red — but went pale as a ghost after he saw Gomes’ injury. Dele Alli said Son was crying in the locker room well after the incident.

It wasn’t too long ago that Coleman broke his leg on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, with Wales defender Neil Taylor’s reckless challenge costing him a long spell on the sidelines.

Coleman will remember learning that Taylor wanted to visit him in the hospital, and sought out Son after Sunday’s events.

Toffees midfielder Fabian Delph summed up the feeling in the Everton team room.

 “We feel just as you can imagine,” he said. “It’s difficult time for us. He is one of our brothers, someone we care about. It is difficult to put into words how we feel. As soon as we could get in touch we will send him our best. It’s difficult to see. It’s hard to talk now.”

Obviously, everyone’s minds are with Gomes right now, and Son as well. It was a reckless slide but not a malicious tackle.

Everton draws Spurs; Gomes suffers gruesome injury

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Cenk Tosun‘s goal deep in stoppage time gave Everton a 1-1 draw with 10-man Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The match was marred by a gruesome ankle injury to Everton’s Andre Gomes, who was upended by a reckless Heung-Min Son challenge. Son was sent off, in tears.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Dele Alli had given Spurs a lead in a match which suffered in quality for more than an hour.

Everton’s 11 points have it 17th, three points above the drop zone, while Spurs are 11th with 13 points.


Three things we learned

1. VAR remains a main character, antagonist: Well this got a little ridiculous, as Martin Atkinson could — and maybe should — have awarded three second-half penalties but was backed by VAR. First, Spurs were denied a penalty when Yerry Mina fell into Heung-min Son, who admittedly added ridiculous embellishment to the foul. VAR didn’t no overrule the on-field decision, and Richarlison was not awarded an Everton penalty for a worse violation moments later. Then Spurs truly got off the hook when Dele’s raised arm deflected a cross but withstood a lengthy review.

2.Disappointing teams keep disappointing: How fitting that Spurs’ lone goal of a sloppy match came on an awful giveaway, while Everton tied it up through a forgotten forward. Both sets of players were poor for most of the match, though at least Spurs had some excuse with the illness of Harry Kane costing them a star striker. Neither team will find much to like from their performance, although Everton will lean on its resilience in finding an equalizer given the emotions involved in seeing a teammate’s serious injury.

3. Gomes suffers stomach-turning injury: Heung-min Son clattered into Gomes, and saw a yellow card but the nature of the problem escalated when players from both teams immediately called for medical treatment. Replays weren’t shown by the TV broadcast due to the nature of the injury, and the card was changed to red. It was a reckless but not malicious tackle, and a full-speed Gomes suffered an apparent ankle break when he landed. Son was nearly inconsolable after seeing what his tackle had done, and left the pitch in tears. Gomes left on a stretcher, and Spursd were down a man for 7six minutes plus what would be a long period of stoppage time.

The Premier League issued a statement on the red card: “The red card for Son was for endangering the safety of a player which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge.”

Man of the Match: It’s down to three D’s — Digne, Dele, and Fabian Delph. We’ll choose the former, whose match-tying assist was perfect.


The final decision or movement just wasn’t there in a clumsy first half hour with no shots on target. Richarlison couldn’t make a clean break on a terrific through ball and Andre Gomes popped a header over the goal.

Richarlison turned a Lucas Digne cross and lashed to Paulo Gazzaniga in the 33rd for the first shot on target of the match.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The second half began with more pace, and Yerry Mina’s sloppy tackle on Heung-min Son was not given as a penalty by Martin Atkinson. Son exaggerated the contact, but it still looked like a reason to go to the spot.

Richarlison went across his body to snap a shot at Gazzaniga moments after a penalty shot.

Spurs went ahead when Alex Iwobi gave the ball away in his own half, Son nutmegging Mina with a pass to Dele. The Englishman dribbled free to the top of the box before beating Jordan Pickford with a low shot for 1-0.

Dele looked to have given the goal back as his raised arm struck the ball on a challenge inside the 18, but no penalty was awarded by VAR.

Then came the Son yellow card, and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin nearly equalized when the game was restarted.

The Toffees found their leveler in stoppage time, as Lucas Digne first touched a massive cross back into the mixer for Tosun to head past Gazzaniga.