Chelsea saw off Tottenham at Wembley last weekend to claim their first points of the new Premier League season, but can they build on that against Everton? Spirits at Stamford Bridge have certainly been raised after that victory, while the board are still hard at work looking for new signings. Things are starting to look up for the champions, but the last thing they need is to have their momentum sapped by this hard-working Everton side. With an international break right around the corner, Antonio Conte will want his men departing from club duty on something of a high.
However, Everton have shown that they are tricky opponents in their opening games of the season. The Toffees do have a busy calendar after midweek Europa League action, but can they cause a shock at Stamford Bridge? With a poor record at this ground, it’s going to be tough for the visitors to take anything away from this one. With the opening day loss to Burnley in mind, the Blues need to be completely focused heading into this clash, or they could well drop more points.
Team News: Will Conte change his victorious side?
Conte went with a 3-5-2 set up last time out, but we can’t see a repeat of that here. That was a more defensive minded set up with Spurs having plenty of attacking options. At home, Conte will want a little more in attack, so expect a 3-4-3 set up this weekend. That frees up space for another advanced player, with Pedro the most likely to come in. Eden Hazard remains out, and it’s unlikely the Blues want to rush him back and risk him being called up by Belgium for their international games.
Everton played a similar 3-5-2 to Chelsea last weekend, and that is likely to be their approach here. That denied space to City and gave them counter attacking options, and we can see them trying to use that system again. However, Koeman may be slightly worried by the fact that he tried to match Conte’s three at the back here last season, and ended up being hammered 5-0.
Everton have made a strong start to the new season, as they’ve taken four points from their opening two. They came close to winning at Manchester City, but the Toffees had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Etihad. Having beaten Stoke on the opening day, Koeman’s team have also been progressing well in Europe. They’ve managed to keep things tight so far in all their games, while they do have a few concerns up front. Wayne Rooney has two goals in two, but is he really enough up front to be effective for the season? Unless they add another forward the Toffees could be short on goals this term.
Everton’s European ambitions could hamper them here, following their game in Croatia on Thursday night. That’s not much of a window to return back and prepare for this game, so we might see a more undercooked Everton this time around. Antonio Conte knows how key it is to have a week to build up to big games, having enjoyed a season with next to no midweek commitments last term.
Chelsea vs Everton Head to Head
Chelsea were big winners home and away against Everton last year. Their 5-0 win at the Bridge continued a strong record over the Toffees, as the Blues have now won five of the last six meetings at home. Can they carry that on this week and make it two wins from two? Having seen how Ronald Koeman set up at City, it’s certainly going to be a tough test for Conte and co.
- Everton 0-3 Chelsea, Apr 2017
- Chelsea 5-0 Everton, Nov 2016
- Everton 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 2016
- Chelsea 3-3 Everton, Jan 2016
- Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Sept 2015
- Both teams to score – 11/10 with Betfred
- Pedro to score – 7/4 with Ladbrokes
Chelsea are huge favourites coming into this one, with Coral making them just 2/5 to take the three points. Given how the Blues started the campaign, that price does feel a little short. After all, it’s hard to see a heavy victory for the hosts, as Everton have been pretty solid so far. That doesn’t mean the visitors won’t be an attacking threat here, as they’ve scored in every competitive game they’ve played this season. This does seem like a tricky tie for the hosts, as this is easily the best Everton side to visit Stamford Bridge in recent years. Will the Toffees’ take something away from this clash?
We can at least see a goal for the away side here. Everton do have counter attacking talent, especially if Sandro Ramirez is fit enough to start alongside Rooney. Not only that, but the Blues have an awful defensive record in 2017, having kept just two home league clean sheets. They’ve managed a single clean sheet in their last nine at home in the league, and we think that will continue here. A Chelsea goal is widely expected, as they’ve looked great going forwards in both games so far. That’s why we’re backing both teams to score here, which is priced at 11/10 with Betfred.
We expect Conte to go with a more attacking set up in this one, and Pedro is one man who could benefit from that. The Spaniard was key for much of last season, and he showed that across two meetings with Everton. Having scored home and away against the Toffees last season, we can see the former Barcelona man making an impact this weekend. He’s priced at 7/4 with Ladbrokes to find the net at any time, which feels like great value for a key attacking player of his standing. With Chelsea expected to grab at least one goal, Pedro should be one of their main threats, and we predict he’ll get on the scoresheet.