Chelsea and Everton will duke it out at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with ambitions of securing all three points for their domestic campaign aims.
The Londoners did the double over the Toffees in the Premier League last season, but this game should be a tighter affair given Everton’s summer strengthening plans and Chelsea’s inconsistent start to 2017/18.
With a whole host of mini clashes set to play out on the pitch, here’s four where we think the difference can be made in west London:
1. N’Golo Kante vs Idrissa Gueye
The Premier League’s two most dynamic, tireless midfielders will lock horns in the capital, providing Gueye passes a late fitness test on a slight hamstring injury.
Both players will be vital to their sides’ respective causes in breaking up opposition attacks, recycling the ball and giving that cliched 110% to contest every ball when they can.
If Gueye manages to start against Chelsea, both he and Kante will try to win the midfield battle for their teams, and whoever does so should help secure the victory on the day
2. Pedro vs Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford has already begun paying back his £30m fee in spades for Everton with a number of crucial saves already this term, including Thursday’s penalty save against Hajduk Split.
The young goalkeeper will come up against another formidable foe in the form of attacker Pedro, and the Spaniard’s movement, eye for goal and pace will be a worry for the Toffees.
If Pickford manages to prevent Pedro from notching his third goal in as many matches against the visitors, it’ll go some way to earning Ronald Koeman’s men at least a share of the spoils.
3. Marcos Alonso vs Mason Holgate
Last Sunday’s match-winner Alonso will head into the weekend’s clash buoyed by his two-goal salvo that sunk rivals Tottenham at Wembley.
The towering wing-back will, however, be made to work hard for space down his left flank if he comes up against Everton full-back Holgate.
The 20-year-old should be preferred to Cuco Martina on the right side of defence due to his more able defensive attributes, and if Alonso harbours hopes of firing Chelsea to victory again then he’ll have to see off Holgate’s challenge to do so.
4. Wayne Rooney vs Gary Cahill
Two league games. Two league goals. It isn’t a surprise to say Rooney is enjoying life back at boyhood club Everton.
The veteran striker has revelled in the opening weeks of his second spell at Goodison Park, but if he plans on compounding Chelsea’s misery at home he’ll have to get the better of former England team mate Gary Cahill.
The duo have battled on many an occasion during their careers, and another bruising encounter will be on show this weekend.
If Cahill keeps Rooney out then he will certainly have helped his side earn a point and maybe more come Sunday afternoon.