Three successive wins have rocketed Everton into contention for a Champions League place as they head to top four rivals Chelsea looking to secure their first league win at Stamford Bridge for 27 years.
The Toffees were far from their best at West Brom on Thursday, but the win was hugely significant and potentially one of the most important results of the season as it briefly lifted them into the top four.
Having defeated Liverpool on Thursday, Chelsea will be looking to make it back-to-back wins over clubs from Merseyside when they take on Everton at Stamford Bridge this evening.
A victory for the Blues, who are unbeaten in ten matches since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel at the end of January, would put Chelsea in command of the Premier League top-four race.
Tuchel’s side currently occupy fourth spot but hold just a one-point lead over fifth-placed Everton, who have a game in hand on the Blues.
Chelsea have won four out of their last nine games against Everton.
Dec 12, 2020 – Everton 1 vs. Chelsea 0
Mar 08, 2020 – Chelsea 4 vs. Everton 0
Dec 07, 2019 – Everton 3 vs. Chelsea 1
Mar 17, 2019 – Everton 2 vs. Chelsea 0
Nov 11, 2018 – Everton 0 vs. Chelsea 0
Dec 23, 2017 – Chelsea 0 vs. Everton 0
Aug 27, 2017 – Chelsea 2 vs. Everton 0
Apr 30, 2017 – Chelsea 3 vs. Everton 0
Nov 05, 2016 – Chelsea 5 vs. Everton 0
It’s why a win tonight is imperative for Chelsea. If they can collect three points then a gap is opened to those below them in the hunt for Champions League football. It puts the Blues firmly in control of their own destiny.
Tuchel should have a fully fit squad to choose from this evening. Thiago Silva is back in training having recovered from the thigh injury sustained against Tottenham Hotspur at the start of last month while Tammy Abraham is availible for selection despite still nursing the ankle he injured in the victory over Newcastle United.
The Blues haven’t been spectacular under Tuchel, but they’re sure getting the job done.
The German manager is unbeaten in 10 matches in charge, eight of which have been in league play. The most impressive results have been a pair of 1-0 victories away from Stamford Bridge. One of those efforts came on Feb. 23 in the Champions League play against La Liga leaders Atlético Madrid, while the other occurred last Thursday versus Liverpool.
The Blues’ 10 games under Tuchel have seen a combined 13 goals scored, only two of which have gone against them. The defense has been absolutely spectacular, staking claim to being the league’s best under their new manager.
Going forward, the talent is obviously there for Chelsea to break through. The Blues have just 10.25 expected goals (xG) in their eight league games under Tuchel, according to Understat, as the emphasis has been put on the backline.
So often this team fails to take that giant step and make progress in the table when the opportunity presents itself. Granted, they were only in the Champions League places for a few hours, but Carlo Ancelotti said that even just “touching” the top four would give the team belief going into the season run-in.