Everton - Chelsea Preview: Blues looking for fourth consecutive league win but Toffees unbeaten at home
Rafa Benitez's men scored three against Sunderland, put eight past Aston Villa and narrowly defeated Norwich, but now face a sterner test against a side with top-four aspirations
By John Stammers
Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
Osman, Hitzlsperger, Gibson, Pienaar
Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole
Hazard, Mata, Moses
Darron Gibson is available for selection for Everton having had the red card he received against West Ham rescinded but Marouane Fellaini remains suspended.
Johnny Heitinga came off the bench in the Boxing Day clash with Wigan but may not return to the starting line-up, while Seamus Coleman is battling to be fit with a hamstring problem and Tony Hibbert (calf) and Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) are still out.
Chelsea, meanwhile, could make a couple of changes from the team which started the 1-0 win over Norwich. Eden Hazard dropped to the bench for the game but should start against the Toffees, with Oscar most likely to miss out as a result.
Ramires may come in for John Obi Mikel, with Frank Lampard another option, but Rafa Benitez will probably leave the back five unchanged, meaning David Luiz should continue in a holding midfield role.
Ryan Bertrand (groin), John Terry and Oriol Romeu (both knee) are all out.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Everton have netted in their last 16 league matches, the longest run of all top-flight teams this season.
- However, Moyes' side also hold the record for the most consecutive games without a clean sheet, conceding in their last 14 league fixtures.
- The Toffees have only ever beaten their current total of 33 Premier League points after 19 games once - the 2004-05 season.
- Along with Manchester City, the Merseyside team have lost the least amount of games (2) this term.
- And, along with Stoke, they are the only side to remain unbeaten at home this term.
- Chelsea have had 44 shots in their last two league matches.
- The west Londoners have scored 13 goals in the last three league games.
- Juan Mata [pictured right] has finished or assisted 14 goals from 16 league appearances this campaign.
- Blues interim boss Rafa Benitez has not lost in the last six times he has come across the Toffees, winning five and drawing one.
- Chelsea have only beaten Everton once in their last eight league meetings, drawing four and losing three.
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Top 3 Predictions
Everton 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 18.51 %
Everton 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 14.5 %
Everton 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 9.43 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Sep 14, 2013||Everton 1 - Chelsea FC 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 19, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Everton 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 30, 2012||Everton 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 11, 2012||Everton 2 - Chelsea FC 0|
|England - Capital One Cup(League Cup) (CCUP)||Oct 26, 2011||Everton 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Dec 4, 2013||Man Utd. 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||Everton 4 - Stoke 0||EPL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Everton 3 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|Nov 9, 2013||Crystal Palace 0 - Everton 0||EPL|
|Nov 3, 2013||Everton 0 - Tottenham 0||EPL|
The 28-year-old defender's delivery is sure to prove crucial with both Anichebe & Jelavic likely to start up top for the hosts. The former Wigan man will also have to remain aware of his defensive duties, with Chelsea's threat on the counter a factor which the Toffees must be wary of.
The Spaniard secured all three points for the Blues with a well-taken goal against Norwich last weekend and will be full of confidence coming into this game. There really haven't been many more consistent players in the league this term, and considering he didn't just win Euro 2012 in the summer but also competed at the Olympics, that's pretty impressive.
Rafa Benitez's men are in fine form and have netted 12 goals in their last three Premier League matches, however, Everton remain unbeaten at home this term, and it is therefore likely to be a tight affair. Fellaini's muscle will be missed by the hosts, with him the perfect man to unsettle the visitors' classy midfield, but the Toffees could well have enough for a point.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed