Sunday’s Premier League action gets underway at Goodison Park as relegation-threatened Everton take on third-placed Chelsea in a high-stakes showdown.
Severely weakened by injuries, the Toffees have slipped to the Premier League relegation territory following a 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool last time out.
Things are not going Everton’s way, but a game in hand on 17th-placed Burnley gives the Goodison faithful a glimmer of hope that their team could dig themselves out of trouble down the final stretch.
Saturday’s home fixture against Chelsea will put Frank Lampard’s men to another stern test as the ex-Blues midfielder and manager braces himself for a touchline debut against his former employers.
Much of Everton’s hopes of staying competitive in the survival battle with Burnley will hinge on pulling off a result against the tired legs of Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Despite outplaying Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Pensioners could only manage a 1-1 draw on Thursday, ending a run of nine consecutive away wins in all competitions.
Aware his team deserved more at the Theatre of Dreams, Tuchel blasted showings from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who wasted numerous decent scoring chances.
Asked about Werner and Havertz’s performances, Tuchel told Sky Sports: “Yeah, we had a lot of chances and I think that two did not reach their peak performance today. If they did, we run out the winners.
“That’s it, but we don’t need to point the fingers. We had enough chances, half chances, to score today.”
Everton vs Chelsea is part of this weekend’s live football on TV, with Sky Sports carrying the fixture in the UK.
In these uncertain times for Everton, the club supporters will turn to the Toffees’ three-game unbeaten home league streak for solace and encouragement (W2, D1).
There is another reason for optimism in the home camp, as Everton have defeated Chelsea in their last three Premier League meetings at Goodison, scoring six goals while conceding one in return.
With star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin ruled out with a thigh injury, the Merseysiders’ underwhelming scoring record of three goals from five home league outings could go from bad to worse.
Chelsea head into this matchday holding an eight-point lead on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, but there is no room for complacency if they were to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Since losing 1-0 at Manchester City in mid-January, Tuchel’s men have found the back of the net in their last 11 away games across all competitions, scoring two or more seven times in that sequence.
The Blues’ free-scoring form may prove enough to arrest a three-game losing league streak at Goodison, given that they have kept Everton at bay in seven of their last 11 Premier League encounters.
Everton vs Chelsea Prediction
From this point forward, every match is a ‘make or break’ for Everton, as any further slip-up could prove detrimental to their bid to stretch their top-flight status to next season.
However, Chelsea have been flying high on the road in 2022, and they will be looking to put a frustrating draw at Old Trafford behind by returning to winning ways this weekend.
Anything other than the Blues’ victory would be a massive success for the Toffees, but they should be seeking much-needed points against so-called ‘smaller’ teams.
Everton 0-2 Chelsea