It’s going to become quite repetitive, but Everton’s next game is their biggest of the season and perhaps their biggest in decades. And pretty much regardless of the result, their next game after that will boast the same status.
That’s the situation the Toffees find themselves in. Five points adrift in the bottom three, relegation stares them in the face for the first time in over 70 years.
They have two games in hand on 17th-placed Burnley and so the task is simple. They need to win two more games than the Clarets to stay up. And that all starts with Chelsea’s visit to Goodison Park.
It seems like somewhat of a daunting prospect but Everton’s record against the West London side is actually very impressive, with Thomas Tuchel’s side having failed to win on L4 since 2017.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Blues’ performances have improved somewhat in recent weeks too. In their previous outing against bitter rivals Liverpool, they were the better side for around an hour and had several refereeing decisions controversially go against them. It is imperative that they continue this level of performance into their match-up with Chelsea, only this time they need to make it count on the scoresheet too.
All Everton-related posts on social media indicate that is going to be an explosive atmosphere on Sunday afternoon at Goodison, with fans planning to turn up early to welcome the players off the bus as well as promising to bring plenty of blue flares. While it is impossible to guarantee a top performance from the players on the day, we can certainly expect one from the fans.
One to watch – Richarlison
And when Goodison is bouncing, there’s one player who responds more than anyone else and that is Richarlison.
The Brazilian has won the love of the Everton faithful with his unwavering passion and effort whilst sporting the shirt. But he is also one of the Toffees’ most dangerous attacking weapons and so he needs to be on song against the Champions League holders.
The 24-year-old scored the Blues’ last goal, a last-minute equaliser at home to Leicester, and could be leading the line against Chelsea, although it is likely Dominic Calvert-Lewin will start now he has returned to training.
One to watch – Edouard Mendy
The 30-year-old has been somewhat of a revelation since his arrival from Rennes in the summer of 2020 and pessimistic Evertonians will no doubt be expecting the Senegalese to pull off another blinder on Sunday.
Chelsea are undoubtedly going to be a tough side but the hope for Everton fans is that sheer will can be enough to get them over the line.
Frank Lampard will be as up for this game as any other, especially considering his history with the opponents, and the Toffees’ record against Chelsea is there for all to see.
The points need to start coming in soon if Everton are to avoid relegation. Can it start on Sunday?