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Premier League: It’s Reunion Time at the Bridge

Chelsea vs Everton

Aside from an FA Cup victory on penalties in 2011, you have to go back to 1994 for the last time Everton won at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.

Indeed, if they were to end that record on Sunday, it would provide one of the Premier League highlights for the Toffees.

Regardless of the result, one thing is certain. Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti is set to receive a warm reception at the club where he guided them to a League and Cup double in his first season in west London.

Within a year he was gone, another victim of the trigger-happy approach the club has operated during the Roman Abramovich era.

Yet in doing something no other Chelsea manager has ever achieved, the veteran Italian will always have a place in the hearts of the Stamford Bridge faithful.

 

Talking Points

Ancelotti has never previously faced Chelsea, who he managed between 2009 and 2011, and has already made an impact at his new employers.

Indeed, since his first game in charge of Everton on Boxing Day, only Liverpool and Manchester City have earned more league points than Everton’s 18.

While all eyes will be on Ancelotti, this is also a reunion for two other players.

The talented Kurt Zouma was prevented from fulfilling his potential at Stamford Bridge due to injury but did well on loan at Goodison last season and is now back and a regular figure in the Chelsea defence.

Meanwhile, Ross Barkley will come up against his boyhood club — where he spent 14 years of his life — although is not due to receive such a good reception from Evertonians upset that he left the club.

Whether that feeling has been tempered slightly after his goal knocked Merseyside rivals Liverpool out of the FA Cup in midweek remains to be seen.

Team news wise, Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic is ruled out with an Achilles problem.

Willian is a doubt with a similar issue as he left the fray against Liverpool because of it and could join the Blues’ lengthy absentee list, which also includes the suspended Jorginho.

There is also a question mark about whether N’Golo Kante is ready to return.

Skipper Seamus Coleman will miss Everton’s next two matches with the muscle problem sustained in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

Defender Lucas Digne is fit again, although after being out with his own muscle strain.

Chelsea at home usually have the edge over Everton who have not kept an away league clean sheet since the opening day of the season.

The SBOTOP Premier League tipsters back a home win all the way.

Yet if anyone can end this barren run it is Ancelotti.

The Italian was infamously sacked in the corridors of Goodison Park at the end of his second season as Chelsea manager after having finished league runners-up.

There would surely be no sweeter way to personally quash that moment then by guiding his new employers from the same club to victory over his old comrades and to end a wait stretching a quarter of a century.

 

History

Paul Rideout was the matchwinner back in October 1994 which marks the last time the Toffees won a league game on Chelsea turf.

Much has changed since then, but while Chelsea have not lost any of their subsequent meetings in the capital, they have also been frustrated by the Merseysiders.

Chelsea have won 13 with 11 draws in the last 24 meetings.

Chelsea are keen to maintain their position in the Premier League table when take on Everton this weekend
Frank Lampard played under Carlo Ancelotti, winning the Premier League and FA Cup Double in 2009-2010 season

Overall, Chelsea have a total of 72 victories compared to 56 Everton wins and 53 draws.

Last season, Everton frustrated Chelsea in this fixture in a goalless draw. They then won the return fixture at Goodison Park last March when Chelsea were left to rue missed opportunities and goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson sealed a 2-0 success.

It was a similar story when they met at Goodison earlier this term when Richarlison and a double from Dominic Calvert Lewin — who has signed a new contract this week much to the delight of Evertonians — delighted the Toffees under caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson in a 3-1 triumph.

Indeed, Chelsea could lose three consecutive league games against Everton for the first time since August 1984.

However, it must be remembered Everton are winless in the past 24 Premier League away fixtures against Chelsea.

Even two seasons ago, first half goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata sealed a 2-0 success against a side then managed by Ronald Koeman.

They then gained another home victory over the same opponents two months later in the League Cup when David Unsworth was in temporary charge.

 

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