After effectively sealing a top four place and winning the Europa league, one could rightly feel that the Chelsea vs Everton match is not so important. It does seem to be the mentality of manager Rafa Benitez, who said prior to the match that his job at Chelsea is done. No, it is not.
The importance of a third placed finish cannot be stressed enough. Only the top three teams qualifying automatically for the Champions League group stages. The fourth placed team has to go through a play-off.
“We will try to win and we won’t consider any other option.” – Benitez
This will be the last match for both Benitez and David Moyes. There does not seem to be any lackadaisical approach from Everton players even after knowing that Moyes will leave Everton at the end of the season.
It will be ludicrous to expect an easy match against Everton. A victory will see us finish in the top three, while there is also the possibility of a play-off with Arsenal for the third place if we draw.
“We want to win, I don’t expect any draw. If Arsenal win we will see, but also Tottenham can say something. We are just talking about Chelsea and Arsenal but maybe Tottenham can be there.” – Benitez
Everton’s form in the last 10 matches has been really good with the team suffering just two defeats. Their away form, though, has not been convincing with their last victory coming at the start of 2013. Moyes has also failed to win away against the traditional top four in more than 40 attempts.
Chelsea vs Everton 2012/13 interesting statistic:
- Chelsea have won just once against Everton in the league at Stamford Bridge since 2007.
Benitez is unlikely to make a lot of changes to the starting line-up given the fair number of injury problems. Bertrand, Mikel, Hazard, and Terry are expected to be on the sidelines.
Phil Neville and Leon Osman are expected to be the absentees for Everton.
Predicted team line-ups:
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Luiz, Moses, Mata, Oscar, Torres
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Gibson, Barkley, Pienaar, Fellaini, Anichebe