7 mins: There’s nothing much to report in these early stages as the teams take time to size each other up.
5 minutes: Fixed: the stripes on Chelsea’s away kit are not “light blue” they are – consults notes – “ice cold lion print”. Do lion’s have stripes? I always thought they were more of a zebra thing.
3 mins: Abdoulaye Doucoure gets his head to a cross into the CHelsea penbalty area from the right touchline but is unable to steer his weak effort goalwards. Edouard Mendy shepherds the ball wide.
2 min: Everton advance and Vitally Mykolenko picks up the ball on the left touchline but is unable to get a cross in. He plays it backwards.
1 min: Chelsea get the ball rolling, their players wearing white shirts with light blue stripes, white shorts and blue socks. Everton wear their customary home kit of blue shirts, white shorts and white socks.
Not long now: Led by Craig Pawson and his match officials, Jordan Pickford and Cesar Azpilecueta lead the two teams out of the narrow Goodison Park tunnel. In the Sky Sports studio, former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson confidently tips his old club to take all three points. “Chelsea don’t win at Goodison,” he states.
Thomas Tuchel speaks: ““It helps having the big day coming and so the focus has been fully on Everton,” he says of his side’s preparations. “That helped us to calm down, calm down doing hard work and focus.
Asked what Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly bring to Chelsea, he says “personality and quality”. He adds that the duo have “proven it for big clubs, Raheem has proven it in the Premier League over and over again.”
Frank Lampard speaks: “The fans have helped – they’re here before the game again, we can’t expect it every time, but it’s great to see,” he tells Sky Sports. “We ended up in a difficult position last season and we don’t want to be there again but one thing we know is that Everton has to be a team and a club that fights on the pitch in the right way.”
Those teams: There are four debutants in the starting line-ups, with James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil starting for Everton, while Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling make their first official starts in the livery of Chelsea.
Signed from Rangers last season, Nathan Patterson lines up at right wing-back for Everton in what is only his second start for the club after undergoing ankle surgery not too long after his arrival. Ben Chilwell is back for Chelsea following his lengthy spell on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.
Everton: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Mina, Godfrey, Mykolenko, Gray, Doucoure, Iwobi, McNeil, Gordon.
Subs: Holgate, Keane, Allan, Begovic, Alli, Gbamin, Ruben Vinagre, Warrington, Mills.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount, Havertz, Sterling.
Subs: Cucurella, Arrizabalaga, Kovacic, Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Gallagher, Ziyech, Broja.
Referee: Craig Pawson (England)
Today’s match officials
- Referee: Craig Pawson
- Wizards: Marc Perry and Scott Ledger
- Fourth official: Graham Scott
- VAR: John Brooks
Everton have brought Burnley old boys Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski to Goodison Park, while Ruben Vinaigre is also in on loan from Sporting Lisbon. All three are available for selection today.
Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is facing six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury he picked up in training earlier this week, while Salomon Rondon misses out this afternoon through a suspension he’s carried over from last season. Seamus Coleman, Tom Davies, Andre Gomes and Andros Townsend are also out with various injuries.
Having lost Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, and with Marcos Alonso also looking to be on his way to the Camp Nou, Chelsea have brought in Kalidou Koulibali and Marc Cucarella to bolster their defence.
Further up front, Raheem Sterling and Carney Chukwuemeka have arrived in the hope of filling their boots with goals. Rumored to be on his way back to RB Leipzig, enthusiasm’s Timo Werner is Chelsea’s only fitness doubt as he’s suffering from a hamstring injury.
Goodison Park is the venue for what those of us with no imagination are lazily labeling the Frank Lampard derby. Having kept Everton up last season, the former Chelsea midfielder-turned-manager is in the hot-seat for his first full season in charge at Goodison Park, even he has no shortage of detractors who give him little or no chance of seeing out the campaign.
Under new ownership who seem happy to throw money around like confetti, this promises to be an intriguing first season in the post-Abramovich era for Chelsea. It kicks off on Merseyside at 5.30pm (BST)| but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.