Everton plan to compound Chelsea’s difficult start to the season by taking all three points when they host the reigning champions on Saturday (12:45 BST, live on BT Sport).
Everton finished a slightly disappointing 11th in the Premier League last season but are hopeful of challenging for a top eight finish this time around. They are ninth in the nascent league table, with five points from one win, two draws and a defeat.
Roberto Martinez’s (pictured) side were fortunate to come away with a point from their trip to Tottenham Hotspur prior to the international break. Their hosts created the majority of the chances and Everton were thankful to Tim Howard for making some good saves to keep them in the game. Arouna Kone’s late header was just wide and represented their own best chance.
It has been a mixed start to the season for the Toffees. They twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Watford on the opening day and followed that with an excellent performance in a 3-0 win away to Southampton. They were thoroughly outplayed in defeat to Manchester City and were unable to create much of note away to Spurs last time out.
This is an important season for Martinez. Everton finished fifth in his first year at the helm but last season’s disappointments have raised some question marks over his approach. He is yet to find the right balance between defensive stability and attacking potency so far this season but has a sufficient variety of options at his disposal to do so.
Martinez will definitely be without the injured Darron Gibson (foot), Leighton Baines (ankle), Tom Cleverley (ankle), Tony Hibbert (knee) and Steven Pienaar (hamstring) for this match, while Brendan Galloway (knee) and Bryan Oviedo (knee) are both doubtful. New signings Aaron Lennon and Ramiro Funes Mori are available for selection.
Chelsea were comfortable winners of the Premier League title last season but have found the going a lot tougher in the early weeks of the new campaign. They sit 13th in the table, with four points from one win, one draw and two defeats.
Jose Mourinho’s side lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace prior to the international break. They took double the number of shots of their visitors, but it was Palace who created the better chances. Radamel Falcao Garcia arrived off the bench to equalise after Palace had taken a 65th-minute lead, only for the away side to strike again with an 81st-minute winner.
Chelsea went through the entirety of last season without losing on home soil, and the loss of that record within the first month of the new campaign provided further evidence of the weaknesses that have been apparent during all four of their matches to date. Of primary concern is the ease with which they are giving up good quality chances to their opponents.
The Blues have let in nine goals so far and have conceded more shots on target from inside the area than any other team in the division. The defence has struggled against quick runners, the midfield balance hasn’t been quite right and they are yet to really get going in attack. There is certainly much for Mourinho to work on and improve in the coming weeks.
Mourinho has no confirmed injury absentees for the trip to Goodison Park, although the participation of both Oscar (knock) and Ramires (knock) is in doubt.
Everton v Chelsea Preview’s Betting Tips
Chelsea emerged as 6-3 victors from last season’s equivalent fixture and also triumphed 1-0 in the return at the Stamford Bridge. Indeed, they have won five of the last six league meetings between the sides at all venues. Everton have, however, won four of the last six at Goodison, including a 1-0 victory with both current coaches at the helm in September 2013.
Everton’s best chance of success on Saturday will be to maintain a solid defensive base and then attack quickly and incisively once possession is won. They have players of sufficient pace to cause their visitors problems but should look to avoid the sort of end-to-end encounter that saw them defeated 6-3 by Chelsea’s superior firepower this time last year.
Chelsea will be looking to take all three points from their trip to Goodison Park following a difficult start to the season. Mourinho’s first recourse in such circumstances is usually to adopt a more cautious approach and it would not be at all surprising to see his side line up with two out-and-out defensive midfielders. He will trust in his forwards to get a goal or two.
This is likely to be a much tighter match than last season’s equivalent fixture but one from which Chelsea, with their superior forward options, are still the most likely victors.
With that in mind here are our Everton vs Chelsea preview’s betting tips selections:
- Back Chelsea to win @ best betting odds of evens with Betfred, Stan James or BetVictor.
- Bet on under 2.5 goals @ the biggest available price of 4/5 with Bet365, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Unibet, BetVictor or BoyleSports.