Could Everton’s home form disrupt Chelsea’s title charge?
It’s one of the best winning sequences in this season’s Premier League, but could Everton’s run of home victories now become the key to derailing Chelsea’s title charge?
With eight of them in succession – the highlight being a 4-0 rout of Manchester City in January – Everton have reached that mark for the first time in 27 years.
Now, as they aim for a ninth consecutive home league win, getting it could prove to be crucial in determining who replaces Leicester as champions.
With Chelsea and Tottenham both winning in midweek, they remain separated by just four points at the summit with five games each to play.
The first of those for both come on an intriguing Super Sunday live on Sky Sports 1, with the teams facing sides they have indifferent records against at the venues where they will play.
In short, it could be a defining afternoon, with a significant slip from either contender distinctly possible.
Tottenham will take on their north London rivals Arsenal, who they have beaten just once in their last nine meetings.
Their home record against Arsene Wenger’s team is much better than their form at the Emirates and the fact the game takes place at White Hart Lane should steady nerves.
While the last three months have often been turbulent for Arsenal, they travel off the back of three consecutive wins and will be heartened by their own past results at Spurs.
Although Wenger’s squad have won just four times in their last 13 meetings there, they have also lost only five of those.
Indeed, there has been the same outcome in consecutive games – a pair of Arsenal wins at that – just once in that sequence.
Tottenham, in possession of the Premier League’s longest ongoing winning run at home after 12 successive victories, will be confident of adding a 13th.
Yet, one of the biggest driving factors for them might well be how the team with the second-longest chain of victories at their own ground just now does first.
Everton’s meeting with Chelsea will finish before Tottenham and Arsenal kick off and an away win on Merseyside will heap the pressure back on Mauricio Pochettino’s men once again.
Should things go the other way, however, an opportunity to blow the title race wide open once again will arise.
Even accounting for Chelsea’s 5-0 win in the reverse fixture last November, Goodison Park is not a venue they traditionally do well at.
They have just three wins in their last 11 visits and lost twice there last season, first in a 3-1 Premier League reverse then 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals six months later.
Romelu Lukaku scored both goals in the latter game and has been an integral cog in Ronald Koeman’s well-oiled Everton side of late.
A scorer in every single one of their eight home victories, he also netted in their 2-1 defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup to bring his own run of goals in consecutive outings at Goodison to nine.