Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has called on his side to be prepared for a “very competitive” game as they open their 2022-23 Premier League campaign away at Everton.
Tuchel’s team were beaten 1-0 at Goodison Park by relegation-threatened Everton in May, with the hosts kicking on after to survive and secure their place in the top-flight with games left to play.
The German manager wants his side to be prepared for the game on Saturday to avoid a repeat result.
“We need nothing more to know what is coming,” Tuchel told reporters. “Fantastic atmosphere, very emotional crowd, very emotional team. Very competitive.
“We lost it and absolutely do not like to lose. We even dislike it more to lose twice, so we know what is coming and we will be ready.”
Everton are managed by Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who played for the club over 600 times before taking charge of the London club between 2019 and 2021.
Lampard was sacked and replaced by Tuchel, but the former midfielder still holds Chelsea close to his heart and knows that Saturday will be a tricky opening fixture.
“It’s a really tough game to start the season,” Lampard said. “Chelsea will always be a difficult opponent because of the quality of the squad and quality of the manager.
“I do follow them closely. They’re a team that I played for and managed. It’s a huge part of my life.”
Lampard took over at Goodison Park in January, after Rafa Benitez was sacked with the club 16th in the Premier League. He was able to keep the club up, but is already facing challenges this season with main striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin ruled out for up to six weeks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Everton – Dele Alli
Lampard suggested that with Calvert-Lewin injured and Rondon suspended, it will be Alli chosen to lead the line against Chelsea. He failed to score in his 11 Premier League appearances for Everton last season, but his team will need him to be more of a goal threat on Saturday if they are to start the campaign with a win.
Chelsea – Mason Mount
The England international led his side in Premier League goal involvements last season with 21, 10 more than Kai Havertz in second. The 23-year-old would love to build on that number this season, and a goal or assist at Goodison Park would be a great start.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Everton have won each of their last four Premier League home games against Chelsea – only once in their history have they had a longer run against the Blues, winning seven in a row between 1923 and 1935.
– Everton are unbeaten in their opening Premier League match in the last 10 seasons (W4 D6), the longest ongoing run in the top-flight. They were last beaten in their opening league match in 2011-12, losing 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers.
– Everton have won four of their last six Premier League home games (D1 L1), twice as many as they had in their previous 10 at Goodison Park (W2 D1 L7). Their only defeat in this run was against Brentford in May, while it includes a 1-0 victory against Chelsea.
– Chelsea have lost just four of their 28 Premier League away games under Tuchel (W18 D6), with all of these defeats coming by a margin of just one goal. However, one of those losses (and the most recent one) was at Lampard’s Everton in May.
– Everton beat Chelsea 1-0 in May, meaning Lampard could become the first manager to win consecutive Premier League games against the Blues having previously managed them in the competition. The only former Blues boss to win consecutive home Premier League games against them is José Mourinho, doing so in April 2017 and February 2018 with Manchester United.