This weekend sees the team third in the Premier League travel to face the team currently third-bottom of the division. Although Chelsea are in a good league position, they have relatively little to play for in the remaining matches, as their current position is established. This could help Everton on Sunday. Frank Lampard faces Chelsea as a manager for the first time and it would be a great story if he was to beat his former club. Thomas Tuchel has done an excellent job since replacing the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer and he will also want to make sure he gets the better of his predecessor.
It has been a very bad season for Everton. They are in real danger of being relegated from the Premier League for the first time in their history. Frank Lampard remains in the hot seat, but it is difficult to say he has been a success to date. He has over seen eight losses in his 12 Premier League matches in charge. The form at Goodison Park has been better and the players will take confidence from their performance against Manchester United a few weeks ago. That showed that they could beat one of the top six at home. Chelsea are a better team, but they will need a similar performance if they are to come out on top on Sunday.
Chelsea are now focused on the FA Cup final. However, Tuchel is a world class manager and he will not want the Premier League campaign to fizzle out. They performed well against Manchester United at Old Trafford, despite their failure to take the three points. There will be a desire to put that right this weekend and get a win to consolidate their position in third. The off-field issues have caused a distraction, but Tuchel will want to finish the season strongly.
Everton will take confidence from their recent home form against Chelsea, as they have won the last three Premier League matches against them at Goodison Park.
Chelsea have kept seven clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League matches against Everton.
After years of poor recruitment, Everton have a poor squad that isn’t too good to go down. One player that has maintained a high level of performance has been Richarlison. The Brazilian will have a lot of possible suitors in the summer if the Toffees to go down, as he is good enough to be playing regularly at the highest level. He has contributed seven goals and four assists with three goals coming in his last five appearances. In addition to his goals, the forward is carrying the biggest threat for the relegation-threatened team. Although Richarlison is carrying a threat, one concern is his discipline. The 24-year-old has collected nine yellow cards this season. He has the quality to fire Everton to safety, but he also has the potential to pick up a costly red card. Whether the Toffees survive or not, Richarlison’s performances will play a huge role in determining their fate.
There will be many storylines this weekend, but one will be Mason Mount playing against a manager that has had a huge impact on his career. Frank Lampard was one of Mount’s major influences as a player and he also gave him his chance as a player, at Derby and Chelsea. There will be a lot of mutual respect between the pair. Lampard will acknowledge that Mount has developed a lot as a player since his departure from Stamford Bridge. Thomas Tuchel has helped the England international improve further, in particular his end product. Mount has contributed ten goals and nine assists in the Premier League. If he does get one more assist, it would mean he has reached double figures for goals and assists for the first time in his career. He has the potential to reach this landmark on a regular basis. It would be poetic to achieve that against one of his mentors.
Yerry Mina, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andre Gomes and Donny van der Beek are all doubts for the weekend. Ben Godfrey is also facing a battle to be passed fit. Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson are long term absentees.
Andreas Christensen and Ross Barkley are doubts with illness. Matteo Kovacic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell won’t be available.
Everton have been much better in home matches. There are some unknowns about how the Toffees will react to dropping into the bottom three. The pressure has now changed and they are the chasers. Some teams relish that role, while others collapse. This will be a huge test of their mentality. Chelsea aren’t at their best, as they have little to play for, but they remain a very good team. It is a difficult game to predict, but Everton have done little to make me believe they can win.
Everton 1-2 Chelsea