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Premier League preview: Everton v Chelsea

27 December 2012 14:39

A fourth straight win at home over Chelsea will take Everton above their opponents in the English Premier League and potentially into third.

Everton sit fifth with 33 points heading into Sunday's game, while Chelsea are third, two points ahead of the Merseyside club.

Having won both their games in the past week, Everton are one of the Premier League clubs to have gained the most so far from the busy period over Christmas and New Year.

If they can continue their good home record against Chelsea, they could claim third spot in England's top tier if Tottenham fail to win against Sunderland.

Everton have beaten Chelsea the past three times the London club have come to Goodison Park for a Premier League fixture.

But Everton will come up against an opponent on a roll on Sunday as Chelsea have won their past three games in all competitions, averaging over four-and-a-half goals per match.

While Rafael Benitez's team only won 1-0 away to Norwich on Boxing Day, Chelsea had claimed 8-0 and 5-1 victories against Aston Villa and Leeds United in the games preceding their trip to Carrow Road.

Chelsea's period under Benitez's management began poorly but the London club seem to be finding their form again with the attacking midfield trio of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar all improving after a lacklustre stint in November.

Benitez stated at the beginning of his tenure Chelsea's squad were exhausted, singling out the three young playmakers as some of the worst affected after Roberto di Matteo stuck with the same starting line-up as much as possible at the beginning of the season.

Chelsea's new squad rotation system under Benitez seems to be paying off based on their results since returning from the FIFA Club World Cup and they remain well on track to qualify for the Champions League.

Everton have similar goals, however, and David Moyes' team should be battle-hardened after two tight victories over West Ham United and Wigan Athletic.

Moyes' side had to come from behind away to West Ham with Victor Anichebe and Steven Pienaar scoring the goals, while against Wigan, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka hit the back of the net with Arouna Kone's late strike ensuring Everton had to endure a nervous end to the game.

Anichebe's fine performances in the past two matches have been a clear indication of Everton's improved depth as Moyes has been able to put together a successful team despite Marouane Fellaini's suspension and injuries to Kevin Mirallas, Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman.

None of that quartet will be available against Chelsea but with the likes of Anichebe and Thomas Hitzlsperger in his squad, Moyes has more depth to choose from than he has sometimes been used to as Everton's manager.

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Monday 24 November

Sunday 23 November

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Saturday 22 November

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 12 +19 32
2 11 +18 25
3 12 +11 24
4 12 +4 19
5 12 -1 19
6 12 +4 18
7 12 +3 18
8 12 +5 17
9 12 +3 17
10 12 -1 17
11 12 -2 15
12 12 -3 14
13 12 -4 13
14 12 -7 13
15 12 -4 12
16 12 -3 11
17 11 -11 11
18 12 -7 10
19 12 -12 10
20 12 -12 8

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