Chelsea continue their title challenge at Everton this weekend in what is one of their most difficult matches to play. They remain four points clear of Tottenham after both teams picked up wins during the week and it is important they secure another positive result at Goodison Park.
It won’t be easy for the Blues as the home side are in good form and hoping to finish in the top six themselves. In the earlier meeting between the sides this season, Antonio Conte’s men triumphed 5-0 with goals from Eden Hazard (2), Marcos Alonso, Diego Costa and Pedro.
Everton are going to finish in the top seven and that is a good achievement for Ronald Koeman in his first season as Toffees manager. They have been the best of the rest and likely to be playing in the Europa League next season.
Although the summer is going to feature another rebuild as Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley could both leave the club, they are headed in the right direction under their Dutch manager.
The visitors need to win four of their last five matches to secure the Premier League title and they will be confident of doing just that. They were impressive in attack against Southampton, scoring four goals on Tuesday night.
However, their defence remains a worry. The Blues haven’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since January and that is a record they need to improve if they are to finish on top of the pile.
The Toffees are unbeaten in their last four and haven’t lost at home in the league since December. In fact, they have won their last eight Premier League matches at Goodison Park, scoring 29 goals in the process. They are a free-flowing attacking team with lots of confidence at home and this will be a difficult fixture for the league leaders to negotiate.
After a wobble in the league with two losses in four matches, Chelsea have recovered and won their last two matches in all competitions. Their FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham underlined their quality as they scored four of their five shots on target. They have built up momentum again and they will be desperate to maintain it against Everton on Sunday.
Ronald Koeman is likely to stick with his trusted 4-3-3 formation as it brings the best out of the players. Romelu Lukaku will be keen to give a good performance as he closes in on the Golden Boot. He will also have the extra motivation of playing against Chelsea, his former team and one of the clubs who could be in line to sign him during the summer
Antonio Conte found his best eleven months ago and they will all be available this weekend. They haven’t been as formidable in recent weeks, but the return to form for Diego Costa will worry Everton.
Muhamed Besic and Aaron Lennon are both doubts with knocks, but Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Yannick Bolasie won’t be available for the home side.
Chelsea have no injury concerns heading into the weekend and will likely select the starting eleven that has been used in most matches this season.
Match Prediction: Everton 2-2 Chelsea
This could be the match of the weekend ahead of the North London Derby and if Chelsea drop points, that will add an extra layer of intrigue to the meeting at White Hart Lane.
Everton have been excellent in attack during recent matches at Goodison Park, while the league leaders have problems in defence. That said, Antonio Conte’s side have been impressive during their last two matches and it is difficult to see them recording another loss.
A score draw looks to be the most likely result and that will give Tottenham further hope that the title race isn’t over.