Currently sitting at fifth place with 33 points, Everton is just two points behind Chelsea, who fell victim to the Toffees, 2-0, in February.
After reeling off two straight wins the past week, the Toffees enter the matchup with momentum and their eyes set on third place as they play host to the Blues.
Where: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
When: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 8:30 a.m. ET
What's at Stake?
Besides a shot at moving up the standings, a win for Everton would affirm the club's dominance over Chelsea in recent years.
Since 2009, Everton has squared off against Chelsea in six Premier League games and has gone 3-1-2.
A win Sunday would put a quick stop to Chelsea's own winning streak, as the Blues have reeled off three consecutive wins. During the streak, the Blues have outscored opponents 14-1.
What They're Saying
"We are certainly a developing team and have developed a lot over the last year or so. We are playing some good football and we tend to show that more when we play against the teams at the top end of the table."
While Everton just edged out Wigan thanks to a deflected strike from Osman, Chelsea has been on a goal-scoring tear as of late.
Averaging 4.5 goals per game in their last three contests, it's been a big turnaround for a club that struggled in the previous month (via Soccerway.com):
Benitez stated at the beginning of his tenure Chelsea's squad were exhausted, singling out the three young playmakers as some of the worst affected after Roberto di Matteo stuck with the same starting line-up as much as possible at the beginning of the season.
Chelsea's new squad rotation system under Benitez seems to be paying off based on their results since returning from the FIFA Club World Cup and they remain well on track to qualify for the Champions League.
Everton Player to Watch: Leon Osman
With star scorer Marouane Fellaini serving the final game of his three-game suspension, it's midfielder Leon Osman who's stepped up.
The 31-year-old is a longtime Everton veteran, as he began his career with the Toffees all the way back in 2000.
Tied for third on the team with three goals, Osman isn't a go-to scorer like the talented Fellaini, but his steady leadership has been key for a team missing its best player.
Chelsea Player to Watch: Fernando Torres
One of the best pure scorers on the planet, Fernando Torres, has been a key to Chelsea's recent routs. The world-class striker has netted two goals in the Blues' past three games, putting himself in a tie with Juan Mata for the team lead in goals scored (seven).
Torres is always a threat with the ball, so the Toffees will need to constantly keep an eye on the ultra-talented Spaniard.
Both teams are on a roll, but one of their winning streaks will come to a halt Sunday morning.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, they will be on the losing end of the Premier League showdown. Everton's improved depth has shown with Fellaini out of the lineup, and the Toffees have a lot on the line in this matchup.
A win Sunday could put Everton over Chelsea in the standings and would be a huge win in front of a packed home crowd.
Everton 2, Chelsea 1
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