With Liverpool drawing against Arsenal last night Chelsea will have been given renewed hope that they can push on and claim at least, the runners up spot this season.
Although Manchester United will still have a game in hand over the teams around them after tonight’s matches, the Londoners’ will be hopeful that they can force their way back into contention for the two top spots. With United facing playing host to Portsmouth tonight Chelsea entertain Everton in a game that may help shape how the league looks come the end of May.
Chelsea go into tonight’s game looking for their 10th home win of the season and their seventh win in eight games. However Everton will be buoyed by the penalty shoot out victory over Man United on Sunday. Guus Hiddink’s side go into the match without the injured Deco whose arrival at the start of the season has been marred by injury, they will also be without Jose Bosingwa who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
With winger Joe Cole and defender Paulo Ferreira both out for the rest of this year with knee ligament injuries the Dutchman will look to rotate some of his team. Almost certainly Didier Drogba will lead the line having netted twice against Bolton in the last league game and looking for his 13th goal of the season.
The Toffees will see the return of Jo, who was cup-tied at the weekend, to the starting line up and as the FA Cup semi went to extra time and penalties it is possible David Moyes may elect to rest some of his players. Moyes will be in a philosophical mood going into this match knowing that he has a cup final to prepare for and that there is little to challenge for in the league now. Sitting in sixth and now in the FA Cup final the Merseysiders’ are almost guaranteed a spot in the Europa League next year therefore ensuring everyone gets through the last few games of the season unscathed may well be top of the Everton bosses priorities.
With Liverpool drawing and United likely to secure three points against Portsmouth, Hiddink will be looking to lead his team to yet another victory under his management. Having brought about a total change in the attitude of the players and the atmosphere around the club many fans will be sad to see the quiet Dutchman leave in the summer.
However despite all the good things he has done at the club and Chelsea’s impressive form he is going up against a manger that Sir Alex Ferguson has said is one of the best around. In this dress rehearsal of the FA Cup final either manager would accept defeat tonight if it meant victory at Wembley come the end of May.