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If Everton are to finally do the Premier League season double over Chelsea, they must find a way to again actually win a match at Stamford Bridge.
The Toffees eye that elusive feat when these clubs meet on Sunday in South West London.
Though Everton (10-7-11) are eight points behind Chelsea (13-6-9) in the table, they have a chance to sweep the two-match season series for the first time in the Premier League era. The Toffees won 3-1 over the Blues at Goodison Park on Dec. 7, thanks to a brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin (13 league goals) and an opening goal via Richarlison (10 goals).
Of course, in order to do the double, the Toffees would have to win at the Blues' Stamford Bridge home for just the second time in Premier League play. Everton are 1-11-15 at Chelsea all-time within the Premier League, with that lone win coming 1-0 on Nov. 26, 1994.
They've also failed to score in each of their last three league visits to the Bridge, and been blanked in five of the last six trips. The Toffees' 24 consecutive winless road games versus Chelsea is their longest such rut against any Premier League club.
Naturally, though, history does not seem to be on the mind of Everton gaffer Carlo Ancelotti. Instead, it's about moving on toward improvement, and ideally success, after losing 3-2 at Arsenal on Feb. 23, and drawing Manchester United 1-1 at home last weekend.
"It's an important game for us," said Ancelotti, the former Chelsea boss who is expected to be on the touchline Sunday despite receiving a red card in the Man United contest.
"We are not a top team yet. The spine of the team is good, and we have a mix of young and experienced players. We can improve. We want to be at the top. It's an aim to be at the top as soon as possible."
Whilst that still seems very much like a lofty goal for Everton, Chelsea are closer to the top of the league table, but the focus for them is a top-four finish. Though the Blues beat Liverpool 2-0 in FA Cup play earlier this week, they are mired in a 1-3-2 stretch within the Premier League. They also must find a way to bounce back from a disappointing 2-2 draw with struggling Bournemouth from last week. Minus injured star Tommy Abraham (ankle), Marcus Alonso (four league goals) scored twice, but his second in the 85th minute was needed to level the match on the road.
In addition to Abraham's absence, Willian (six goals over all competitions), who scored against Liverpool this week, appears to be in danger of missing this contest with an injury. Also in the midfield, Jorginho is on suspension and fitness doubts remain for N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
That all could mean 18-year-old Billy Gilmour could get more of a look after playing well while starting versus Liverpool. Regardless, injuries provide no excuse for a team like Chelsea to dwell on.
"Sometimes you can moan about injuries, and I have, but the reality is you have to keep fighting and go with it," Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told his club's official website. "When the players show the spirit they had (against Liverpool), you hope it gives them strength as a group to keep moving forward."
Updated March 6, 2020