It is a game that means little in the grand scheme of things, but the contest represents each team’s last outing prior to a summer of considerable magnitude. Rafa Benitez and David Moyes will walk away from their managerial roles at the end of the season, and with their departures, two of England’s biggest club sides each stand on the brink of a new era.
But this is where the similarities between the clubs end.
Much to the delight of the Stamford Bridge faithful, Chelsea look set to reappoint Jose Mourinho as their boss. When the Portuguese does re-sign, trophies will come as standard; it is part of the Mourinho package. Especially when you consider the fact that Chelsea look set to outlay circa £100 million to thrust themselves back into the race for the major honours.
Not to mention, Mourinho will be taking over a very talented squad. Chelsea have a fantastic blend of youth and experience within their ranks.
The likes of Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and John Terry—all key players in Mourinho’s previous reign—will be at hand to help the development of youngsters like Eden Hazard, Oscar and Cesar Azpilicueta, who will all be looking to build on excellent debut seasons.
It is all set up for Chelsea to go and challenge on all fronts next year. Finally, it seems, they look set for some managerial stability. But for their opponents on Sunday, the future looks far from straightforward.
It feels odd to be saying that about an Everton team that have become renowned for their stability under Moyes. But that safety net has been snatched from beneath them by Manchester United.
The supporters feel vulnerable. Especially as nobody is quite sure who is going to be stepping into the managerial hot seat. Chelsea’s deal for Mourinho by comparison, though it might not be officially confirmed yet, looks all but nailed on. As for Everton, depending on your newspaper of choice, the favorite for the job could be one from 10 different candidates.
Mix in the uncertainty that persists regarding the potential sales of key players, then Everton have an enormous summer coming up.
But there is still much to be positive about from an Everton point of view. Granted, they may not have financial muscle comparable to their final opponents, or most teams in the Premier League. There is, however, a good group of players for the new manager to work with.
Despite reports to the contrary, it’s not all been about Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines this season.
The influence of others has been enormously understated, especially as neither of the aforementioned stars have really flourished in recent weeks.
New club captain Phil Jagielka is the Premier League’s in-form defender, whereas Seamus Coleman has emerged as one of the countries most dynamic full-backs. Darron Gibson offers an unnerving, unflappable presence in the middle of the park and he is flanked by Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas who provide a major threat in wide areas.
So Sunday’s game will give supporters of both sides an opportunity to wave goodbye to their departing managers. Some with a heavy heart, some without.
But this time next year, for better or worse, both of these clubs will have undergone noticeable facelifts under new bosses—interesting facets that will make up a very different looking Premier League next season.