After seeing off Southampton on Tuesday night, the Blues head to Merseyside on Sunday as they continue their Premier League title push. The Blues made it back to back 4-2 wins after beating the Saints, which was another step towards sealing the title. However, they’re facing possibly the toughest of their remaining games, as they make their penultimate away trip of the league season. Could former Blue Romelu Lukaku cause problems here, and get in the way of the leaders’ title push? With a £100 million price tag and rumours linking him with a return to Stamford Bridge, he’ll surly be out to impress.
Ronald Koeman had his Everton side on the verge of the Champions League fight, but they seem good for a top seven place at least. They could yet move into the top six in the final stages of the campaign, repeating the finish that the Dutchman achieved with Southampton last term. Of course, the Toffees will still remember the thumping defeat they suffered in their trip to west London earlier this season. Just how will that loss play on their minds ahead of a crucial game for both sides?
Team News: Eight goals in a week gives Conte a headache
It’s been a brilliant week for the Blues ahead of this game, booking a FA Cup final spot and claiming another Premier League win. Eight goals have propelled the league leaders towards the double, but it’s left Antonio Conte with some questions to answer. Having started four players in the two attacking midfield spots, he now has to decide who has earned a place. After how Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas played together, they could keep their place in the side.
With Diego Costa scoring again we can’t see too many changes from the side which beat Southampton, although that’s quite harsh on Pedro and Willian, who were both very effective at Wembley last weekend. With no injury worries, Conte has plenty of room to make changes, something the opposition manager wishes he had.
Everton have a considerable injury list ahead of this clash, with Irish duo Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy still out. Ramiro Funes Mori and Yannick Bolasie both miss out this weekend, while Aaron Lennon is another who is set for the sidelines. That leaves Koeman with limited options, but they’re expected to continue with their usual 4-3-3 set up, which looks to involve Lukaku as much as possible.
That’s a distinct change from Chelsea’s former policy for the Belgian, who will be looking to show his former side exactly what they’ve missed out on this weekend. Both he and Ross Barkley are set to start in attack, with both players making noises about potential moves to Champions League sides in the summer.
Everton have been strong in the Premier League overall, they’re certainly much improved from their dismal campaign under Roberto Martinez. The Toffees are on course for European football, which was probably the minimum aim as their new owner is promising to take the club to new heights. They were in the mix for the Champions League spots, which would certainly have been a new height for the club, but recent form has seen them fall away from the top four.
The Toffees have managed just two wins in their last five, which has left them six points shy of fourth, despite having played two more games than the team around them. However, they are impressive at Goodison Park, having won their last six outings at their own ground. Can that run continue when Chelsea come to town?
Everton v Chelsea Head to Head
Chelsea were in the midst of a poor run against Everton, but their brilliant form in late 2016 brought that to an end in impressive style. A 5-0 win for the Blues followed up three meetings without a win. Can Conte guide his side to another success over the Toffees on Sunday? After two defeats at Goodison last season, each under a different manager, the Italian has his work cut out.
- Chelsea 5-0 Everton, Nov 2016
- Everton 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 2016
- Chelsea 3-3 Everton, Jan 2016
- Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Sept 2015
- Chelsea 1-0 Everton, Feb 2015
- Both teams to score – 7/10 with Bet365
- Eden Hazard to score – 29/20 with BetVictor
Chelsea come into this game priced as favourites, but they’re still 21/20 with Betfred to secure the points. Meanwhile, the draw is priced at 5/2 with Sky Bet while Everton are 12/5 with Ladbrokes to claim a victory. There’s certainly value in backing the leaders to take the win, but as this is the toughest match in the run-in, we’ve looked elsewhere for our betting tips on this clash. The Toffees are strong opposition at home, as shown in recent meetings with the Blues, and we don’t expect things to be anywhere near as easy as that 5-0 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.
After conceding another two goals on Tuesday night, the Blues’ defensive woes continue to bug them. With a trip to Everton this weekend, we can’t see their run getting any better. As we mentioned, Everton have six straight home victories ahead of this meeting. The leaders have now conceded in 11 straight league games, which is an awful run for a side of their stature. We can’t see things getting better any time soon, so we’re backing both teams to score at 7/10 with Bet365.
Our final tip for this game is another goal from Eden Hazard. We’re expecting Chelsea to grab a goal on Merseyside, and the Belgian’s form should see him cause problems. Having opened the scoring against Southampton, after hitting a vital third goal against Tottenham, we Hazard will play a key role this weekend. After all, he has scored the title winning goal in the last two seasons, so he’s coming into form at the right time. The winger is 29/20 with BetVictor to score any time on Sunday.