Sticky end to a historic year
Chelsea travel to Goodison Park for their final game of 2012 looking for a win that would put a suitable flourish of what has been an historic year for the club. Record breaking FA Cup triumph confirmed a monopoly on the competition sits alongside the greatest night in the club’s history; May 19.
Of course it hasn’t all be good, the Blues are on their third manager of the calendar year – alarming even by Roman’s standards, and as it stands are still some way off in the title race. The trip to Merseyside hasn’t been a good one in recent years either, and with Everton enjoying some of their best form in David Moyes’ tenure, Sunday will be no different.
Back to the positives though, and with three league wins on the bounce and consecutive clean sheets, some stability seems to be returning to West London for the first time in around a month. The visitors will also be buoyed by the possible return of Ramires after the Brazilian missed the hard-fought Boxing Day win at Norwich.
Everton though are on a good run of their own, unbeaten in their last seven and only one defeat in their last 16. Goodison Park is also becoming something of a fortress with the last side to register a win there being Arsenal back in March. The game sees a first return to Merseyside for Rafa Benitez, and he himself is also unbeaten in his lat seven meetings with the Toffees.
A win for the Blues will keep them in touch with the Manchester clubs above them, all the more important given the game in hand we currently have. Both clubs have looked wobbly of late, with City dropping points and United leaking goals. It makes seeing off the likes of Felliani and Pienaar even more crucial if 2013 is to be a good year for the European Champions.
Any desired win is likely to involve Juan Mata in some way, with the brilliant Spaniard scoring the winner on Boxing Day that meant he has either scored or assisted goals in all but two of his 16 league appearances this season. We have left Goodison empty handed on each of last three visits, Mata and co will have to be at their best to ensure it’s not the case again.