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Chelsea have the opportunity to reclaim top spot in the Premier League – temporarily at least – when they make the trip to Everton on Saturday evening.
The Blues have been in impressive form since the end of October and are two points off the summit, with Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool not in action until the following day.
Everton have been heading in the opposite direction, meanwhile, and enter this game five points worse off than their opponents in ninth place.
Heading into the October international break, Everton found themselves five points better off than Chelsea thanks to a perfect start in their first four games.
Since then, though, they have lost four, drawn two and won only one of their last seven – a narrow 3-2 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Last week’s 1-1 draw at Burnley was another disappointing result, but it did at least bring an end to a run of four defeats in five matches for the Toffees.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men have lost their last two home matches, against Manchester United and Leeds United, and are aiming to avoid three in a row for the first time since March 2016.
Indeed, Ancelotti – who took charge of 76 Premier League games with Chelsea from 2009 to 2011 – has not lost three home league games on the spin since November 2006 with AC Milan.
This is far from the ideal fixture for the Merseyside outfit, then, with the visitors winning four and drawing one of their last five top-flight matches.
The Blues recovered to beat Leeds United 3-1 last weekend and extended their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 14 matches with a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar.
That Champions League dead rubber gave Frank Lampard a chance to rotate his side, but Chelsea will field their strongest XI at Goodison Park as they look to lay down another title statement.
Everton Premier League form: LLLWLD
Chelsea Premier League form: WWDWWD
Everton remain without Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman, meaning that Alex Iwobi and Tom Davies are having to play out of position at wing-back.
Fabian Delph was used in that position against Burnley, but the injury-plagued midfielder hobbled off and is set for another spell on the sidelines.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a brace against Chelsea in this fixture last term and is the Premier League’s top scorer so far this season with 11 goals in 11 games.
As for Chelsea, Olivier Giroud appears to have nailed down a starting spot up top, though Tammy Abraham will of course be hopeful of playing a part.
Giroud has scored in each of his last six Premier League starts for Chelsea – only Mark Stein (seven between December 1993 and February 1994) has scored in more consecutive starts for the club in the competition.
Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are injured, but there are plenty of other options out wide, including Christian Pulisic and the versatile Timo Werner.
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Godfrey, Mina, Keane; Davies, Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi; Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kovacic, Kante, Mount; Pulisic, Giroud, Werner
We say: Everton 1-2 Chelsea
Everton have won their last two home league meetings with Chelsea – they last won three in a row between February 2010 and February 2012 – but they have lost back-to-back matches at Goodison Park over the past month.
Chelsea have been in sensational form, meanwhile, winning five away games in a row in all competitions, and we can see them extending that victorious run this weekend.
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