Sam Allardyce faces another stern test of his unbeaten start as Everton manager with the visit of Premier League champions Chelsea.
The former England manager has won four and drawn one of his five games in charge, most notably earning a draw against Liverpool in his hardest test to date. Wayne Rooney has been in fantastic form, and will be looking for another opportunity to down familiar foes Chelsea.
Conte’s side arguably pose a bigger threat, having won eight of their previous 10 games as they look to hold of the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool in the race for a top-four finish.
Everton host Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with kick-off scheduled for 1.30pm today, December 23rd.
Speaking at his pre-match media conference which took place a day earlier than the norm with Christmas fast approaching, Antonio Conte confirmed he would have played the Spaniard at centre-forward had he been available.
Conte said, “Now I have to prepare a different plan and I have different options. I have another day to make the best decision and looking at the training today, every single player is in good form.”
“The Everton game is very important for us. It is the last game before Christmas and I would like to spend a good Christmas with a good win, but we know in the last five games Everton won four, so they are in good form. They have a really good squad and they have changed coach and are having good results. For this reason we must pay good attention on Saturday.”
“It is not simple to play away against Everton but at the same time we want to try to do our best and get three points to continue our run in the league.”
Conte has no new injury concerns so the lack of Morata is his one selection problem. The yellow card that triggered the one-match suspension came after the player had scored the winning goal in last night’s match against Bournemouth, and after he celebrated in recognition of his wife’s pregnancy.
“It is a big loss of us, but it happened and it is okay. At that moment we were enjoying the goal and I did not see the situation but I knew he tried to celebrate the goal with the ball under the shirt. It is a pity but we have to accept the decision and at the same time try in the future to pay great attention [to this].”
“It is very important to see what happened because if the ref only booked him because he put the ball under his shirt, it is a pity and you can allow this celebration as you are showing your joy, but if something different happened after this then the ref judged it in a different way.”