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Chelsea-Everton Preview

By TOM BENNETT

STATS European Football Writer

(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Two of the in-form teams in the Premier League meet at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon when Everton host Chelsea.

Everton (8-9-2) have enjoyed an excellent Christmas, winning their two games, and the Toffees are unbeaten in seven in the league. However, the festive fixtures keep coming thick and fast, and manager David Moyes is eyeing more hard-earned points to take into 2013.

"Over the Christmas period you are just trying to win the games and come out of the other end of it in no worse a position," he said. "We have six points from the two games and we might have settled for that at the start but we have now got another couple of games - Chelsea at home and then Newcastle away - and then you are probably talking about the Christmas period being over.

"We will try to take some points from them and keep moving up."

Chelsea's 8-0 hammering of Aston Villa last Sunday was one of the most stunning scorelines of the season, and the Blues (10-5-3) followed it up with another victory on Boxing Day - beating Norwich City 1-0. However, despite the recent goal-rush, goalkeeper Petr Cech believes that the main difference in the team under new manager Rafa Benitez is their defensive solidity.

"We look better organised now, that is the difference," said Cech, who needed to make only two saves for his two clean sheets. "We were conceding so many goals - we were very open and suddenly we are defending as a team much better. That is the key because we were not defending well. Now we are back to our ways where we are difficult to score against.

"It is great to win a 1-0 game because it shows we were resilient and well-organised. And as well as that we were patient enough to score one goal and control the game until the end. This is a very good sign. It is never easy when you win 8-0 and suddenly everybody thinks, 'Ah, easy, another game.'"

Everton have doubts over Seamus Coleman (hamstring), Tony Hibbert (calf) and Kevin Mirallas (hamstring), while Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand (groin) faces a late fitness test. John Terry (knee) and Oriol Romeu (knee) remain out for the Blues.

Sunday's hosts are one of just two teams in the Premier League yet to be beaten at home this season, along with Stoke City, and the Toffees' 13-match unbeaten run at Goodison Park is currently the longest in the top flight. Everton have scored and conceded in each of their last 14 league games, while only Manchester City have managed more shots on target than Everton (129).

Only Manchester United have picked up more points away from home than the 17 Chelsea has claimed, and striker Fernando Torres has seven goals in his last seven appearances for the Blues, enjoying a resurgence since Benitez took over at Stamford Bridge.

Everton have won the last three league games against Chelsea at Goodison Park, and haven't conceded a goal in 253 minutes there to the Blues since February 2010, winning 2-0 and 1-0 in the most recent meetings.

Updated December 28, 2012

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