Desperate to get one over his former club to aid his current side’s survival bid, Frank Lampard’s Everton prepare for battle against Chelsea in Sunday’s Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
The Toffees went down 2-0 to Merseyside rivals Liverpool in last weekend’s derby, while the Blues had to settle for a 1-1 draw versus Manchester United in midweek.
Keeping Liverpool at bay for over an hour at Anfield is no mean feat whatsoever, but the relentless pressure of Jurgen Klopp’s side was soon rewarded in the Merseyside derby, as Everton’s relegation fears deepened following a 2-0 loss last weekend.
It was a tale of two headers at Anfield, as Andy Robertson and Toffees nemesis Divock Origi came up with the goods in the second 45 to leave Everton below the dotted line, but their survival destiny is technically still in their own hands heading into the final straight.
While Lampard’s side are sitting 18th at present, they are two points behind Burnley with one game in hand, although the Clarets could temporarily increase that gap to five in their relegation six-pointer with a hapless Watford side on Saturday.
As the worst away side in the Premier League this season, Everton will certainly welcome a return to home comforts at Goodison Park, where they have taken seven points from the last nine on offer in clashes with Newcastle United, Manchester United and Leicester City in recent weeks.
Ironically, the last time that Everton started a Premier League game in the relegation zone saw them run out 3-1 winners at home to Chelsea in December 2019, and Lampard has all the motivation needed to sink the side that lauded him as a player and let him go as a manager.
Serving as something of a backdrop to the British teams competing in European semi-finals on Thursday night, Chelsea’s trip to Manchester United saw Thomas Tuchel’s side dominate the lowly Red Devils and take a deserved lead through Marcos Alonso in the second 45.
However, the Blues were undone by the right foot of Cristiano Ronaldo not long after Alonso’s equally sublime opener, and failure to take all three points from their game in hand means that their spot in the top three is not fully secure just yet.
Chelsea do now hold a six-point lead over Arsenal in the race for third place and have relatively kind fixtures against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Leicester City and Watford to come, so ensuring a straightforward route into the Champions League would be a satisfactory end to a messy season for the club on and off the field.
Failure to take all three points home from Old Trafford also meant that Chelsea missed out on the opportunity to win 10 games in a row away from home in all competitions, but only Manchester City have performed better on the road in the Premier League this term, and the Blues do not want to start looking over their shoulder at this stage of the campaign.
Chelsea were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge against Everton back in December, and the Toffees have prevailed in each of their last three home clashes with the Blues, and a fourth in the sequence would certainly go a long way to securing their perennial Premier League status.
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Chelsea Premier League form:
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We say: Everton 0-1 Chelsea
Everton have enjoyed a spate of triumphs against Chelsea at Goodison Park in recent times and have also proven themselves to be a tough nut to crack at home – seemingly a list of perfect ingredients for Lampard’s recipe for success against his old club.
While the Toffees should put up a good fight as they fight to stay alive, Chelsea should have come away from the clash with Man United with more than one point to their name and should have no trouble keeping out their upcoming hosts on Sunday afternoon.