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Can Everton avenge last season’s humiliation at Stamford Bridge?

Everton’s 5-0 hammering at the hands of Chelsea in November was the undoubted low point of last year - surely the only way is up?

Chelsea v Everton - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

With European qualification safely in the bag, Everton wrap up their busy opening chapter of the new season with a trip to the champions Chelsea.

It’s difficult to argue with the start the Toffees have made to the season - four points from two league games and progression through to the Europa League group stages represents a job a well done for Ronald Koeman and his side.

Another result on Sunday and a successful end to the transfer window next week would be the icing on the cake and send Evertonian optimism soaring into the stratosphere.

The opposition

If Everton are to win on Sunday it would mean exorcising some ghosts of season’s past.

Stamford Bridge was the venue for Everton’s lowest ebb last season. The Toffees were utterly dismantled against a rampant Chelsea side under Antonio Conte.

That thumping victory in November was Chelsea’s fifth in a row and they would go onto win another eight in succession, a run that provided the platform for their impressive title victory.

As good as they were that day Everton were also unashamedly bad. The decision to match Chelsea’s 3-5-2 formation was abandoned after 36 minutes but by that stage they were already two goals down. Another went in before the break before quickfire goals in the second half saw Chelsea 5-0 up after 65 minutes.

It was only the Londoners taking their foot of the gas that spared Everton further humiliation.

Thankfully Everton have progressed since then and head back to west London a much more settled and confident unit.

Instead it’s Chelsea who look in a bit of a mess after A disruptive summer that saw Diego Costa go AWOL and Conte fail to land many of his major targets.

As a result the Chelsea squad looked strangely stretched heading into the new campaign, with the pressure on Conte and the board ramped up by their shock 3-2 opening day defeat at home to Burnley.

They discovered some of their fighting spirit to secure an excellent win against Tottenham last week but there’s no doubt they are some way from the levels achieved last season.

To that end it may well be a good time to play Chelsea as the Toffees chase their first league win at the Bridge since 1994.

Predicted starting XI

Pickford, Martina, Keane, Jagielka, Baines, Besic, Gueye, Davies, Sigurdsson Calvert-Lewin, Rooney.

Team news

Everton’s early exertions have taken its toll and they are already looking stretched, particularly in midfield.

Davy Klaassen (foot) is out, Morgan Schneiderlin is suspended while Sandro Ramirez (foot) and Idrissa Gueye (hamstring) are doubtful.

Chelsea are without the suspended Gary Cahill but Cesc Fabregas is available after a ban of his own.

Eden Hazard played 73 minutes for the U23 side against Everton U23s on Friday but isn’t yet ready for a first-team return.

Final word

It has been an incredibly challenging start to the season for Everton, with two of the league’s toughest away games either side of a trip to Croatia in the space of seven days.

But this new-look Toffees side seem to have a newfound resilience and they have coped with everything thrown at them so far.

Sunday will be another stern challenge, especially coming so soon after the Split game. But to rule Everton out completely would be foolish.