Eden Hazard in action against Everton
Eden Hazard in action against Everton

On 10 February 2010, Everton beat Chelsea 2-1 at Goodison Park. It put a dampener on the back pages of the newspapers I bought the following morning to commemorate my 18th birthday.

Five years later, they hope to create similar headlines. This time at Stamford Bridge. This time on my birthday.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s rare we see a Chelsea win around my birthday. A 1-0 FA Cup defeat in a snow covered Newcastle in 2005, a 3-0 humiliation in Middlesbrough a year later and draws in years prior and since.
However, fear not. Following that 2-1 defeat to Everton in 2010, Chelsea went on to win the title.

A win would mean the seven point advantage over Manchester City is at least maintained as the season draws nearer to the finishing line. City themselves face a difficult task against Mark Hughes’ Stoke City – a team that beat Man City at the Emptyhad earlier this season, don’t forget.

Of course, there’s the memory of that 6-3 win over Everton at the start of the season. Chelsea keen to inflict more suffering on the Toffees, Everton seeking revenge and to get their season back on track.

The teams
Cesc Fabregas makes his return after missing both the draw with Manchester City and Mourinho’s first Villa Park win. The assist-making midfielder limped out of Chelsea’s Capital One Cup semi-final with Liverpool and wasn’t risked on the weekend.

Didier Drogaba or Loic Remy will again fill in for the suspended Diego Costa who serves the last of his three game ban. Hasn’t that gone quick?

Romelu Lukaku makes his first appearance at Stamford Bridge since leaving permanently in the summer. Roberto Martinez could be boosted by the return of Leighton Baines who has been suffering with a knee injury. Aiden McGeady (knee), Leon Osman (foot) and Tim Howard (calf) all miss out. Stephen Pienaar is unlikely to feature as he nears a return from a knee injury.

The stats
Chelsea have only one four of their last 16 Premier League fixtures against Everton (W4 D6 L4), but are unbeaten in 19 home ties against the Merseyside club (W10 D9).

Steven Naismith has scored three goals in his last four appearances against Chelsea.

Chelsea have conceded just six times in their last 19 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, keeping 15 clean sheets in the process.

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