Chelsea will welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge as Europa League winners following their dramatic late victory in Amsterdam over Benfica on Wednesday night.
The Blues have already played 68 matches in this most gruelling of seasons yet remarkably, despite having already secured Champions League football next season, this 69th match could not even be the final one for Rafael Benitez to take charge of before he leaves his post as interim manager.
Indeed, a 0-0 draw against the Toffees, coupled with a 2-1 Arsenal victory at Newcastle would put the two London clubs level on points, goal difference, goals scored and goals conceded, which under Premier League rules hastens the need for a one-off play-off match between the two sides at a neutral venue to decide who goes through to the Champions League in the third automatic spot.
However, the Blues can extinguish any chances of that happening by taking care of business at Stamford Bridge but they will have to do so without John Terry and Eden Hazard, who having missed the Europa League final with ankle and knee injuries respectively, are still absent.
Elsewhere, Ramires is suspended following his red card at Aston Villa last week while it remains to be seen whether Fernando Torres will start up front following his goalscoring exploits in midweek, or whether the Spaniard, currently holder of the World Cup, European Championships, Champions League and Europa League simultaneously, will be dropped in favour of the returning Demba Ba.
Everton have secured a sixth-placed finish and more importantly, a finish above Liverpool for the second consecutive season as David Moyes takes the reins for the final time as the club’s manager before his summer departure for Manchester United.
Stamford Bridge will also be the curtain call on Phil Neville’s Everton career, though a persistent knee injury means the veteran former England international will miss out.
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