Everton are the visitors to Stamford Bridge this weekend, as they look to build on their win last weekend. The Toffees saw off West Ham on Sunday, which moved them up to sixth in the table. Can they climb even further with a shock win at the Bridge? They do have a pretty strong record against the Blues of late, but the home side are in great form.
These two last met in the FA Cup back in March, when Everton ended Chelsea’s last hopes of a trophy and chances of qualifying for Europe. That was a bitter blow in a tough season, especially going down to Roberto Martinez, who ended up losing his job at the end of the campaign. Ronald Koeman is now looking to improve this side and get them competing for a place in Europe. He’ll be hoping for a result against the team who currently round off the top four.
Team News: Conte selection consistency paying off
Antonio Conte has named the same team for three consecutive league games, and he’s likely to do the same here. While he made plenty of changes for the West Ham match in the EFL Cup, he’s settled on a regular starting 11 in this 3-4-3 formation. John Terry should sit out once again, as this system would leave him pretty exposed. Kurt Zouma is still awaiting a return, while Cesc Fabregas is injured, he’s doubtful to appear on the bench.
The only potential change we could see is Willian coming in to play off Diego Costa. The Brazilian lost his place after heading home following the death of his mother. Since then, Pedro has kicked on and put in a few impressive displays. He seems to have a real understanding with Eden Hazard. While last season’s player of the year deserves a chance, it’s easy to see Conte sticking with the side who have won the last three league games.
Everton head into this game with a considerable injury list. Idrissa Gueye, often compared with N’Golo Kante, is suspended. His most likely replacements, Muhammed Besic and James McCarthy, are both injured. Goalkeeper Martin Stekelenburg is a doubt, and he’s been in inspired form for the Toffees this term. The visitors don’t have the biggest squad to work with, so they could be a little bit thin here. They do have former Blue Romelu Lukaku leading the line, which could prove significant.
Everton started the season in brilliant form, drawing their opener and then winning four in a row. That run put them just behind City, and it sparked talk of a Champions League push. However, since then they’ve won just once in five, and crashed out of the EFL Cup to Championship side Norwich. Having been second after five games, they’re now sixth after 10. That makes Koeman’s reign difficult to judge. So far, he has a lot of support, even during a poor run of form.
Everton did get themselves a win last weekend, as they beat West Ham 2-0 on Sunday. That was a much-needed triumph, travelling here without a win in five would have been tough. The Toffees have had a little morale boost, and they’ll be hoping to claim a big scalp this weekend to aid their European push. They did claim a 1-1 draw at Manchester City recently, but they were helped by City’s awful run of form and Champions League distractions.
Chelsea v Everton Head to Head
Chelsea have won none of their last three against Everton, all of which came last season. The Toffees saw off the Blues at Goodison twice last term, while these two drew 3-3 in this fixture. The visitors were 2-0 up at one stage in that game, so it ended up being a good result for the Blues. Can Conte take the team back to their title winning form of 2014/15, when they won home and away against this weekend’s opponents?
- Everton 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 2016
- Chelsea 3-3 Everton, Jan 2016
- Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Sep 2015
- Chelsea 1-0 Everton, Feb 2015
- Everton 3-6 Chelsea, Aug 2014
- Diego Costa to score – 19/20 with Betfair
- Chelsea to win to nil – 19/10 with BetVictor
The head to head form between these two may throw you off the scent a little, but Chelsea are firm favourites for this game. Coral make them 8/13, and that’s the biggest price you can get on a home win here. Meanwhile, Everton are 9/2 outsiders for an away victory. That’s hardly surprising, seeing as the Toffees have won twice in their last 11 away league games.
We’re backing Diego Costa to find the net again on Saturday. The forward is the Premier League’s top scorer, finding the net eight times in his 10 matches this term. He’s back to the form from the Blues’ title winning season, and he’s on course to better his total of 20 goals from that season. We’re backing him to grab his ninth of the season in this clash. The Spain international has four goals in four games against Everton since joining the Blues. He’s priced at 19/20 with Betfair to score any time this weekend.
Our second bet is Chelsea to win to nil, after Conte’s side kept their fourth consecutive clean sheet against Southampton. The Blues have looked incredibly solid since switching to the 3-4-3. They adopted the new formation at Arsenal while 3-0 down, and they’ve not yet conceded a goal with three at the back.
This set up needs to face pacey, intelligent wingers to have problems, and that’s not something Everton have in their side. Their wide threat isn’t great, Yannick Bolasie and Kevin Mirallas both tend to drift inside. We can’t see Lukaku getting the service he needs, and we expect the back three to marshal him well. That’s why we’re backing another win and clean sheet, which is priced at 19/10 with BetVictor.