Chelsea return to EFL Cup action on Wednesday night, as the Blues look to wrap up a place in the quarter-finals. This is a competition that Antonio Conte’s side crashed out of early last season, but can they hang in and try to claim League Cup glory? While this will be bottom of Chelsea’s list of priorities, there’s still silverware on the line, and it’s a competition in which the Blues have been successful over the last few years. The champions have a big test to make the next round, as they host Everton.
The Toffees started this season as one of the dark horses for silverware, after a big spending summer at Goodison. Things haven’t been going so well for them lately, but they still have a strong squad and plenty of talent to choose from in this game. The Toffees have enough quality to cause problems at Stamford Bridge, but can under-fire boss Ronald Koeman get them into the next round of the cup?
Team News: Conte Expected to Make Sweeping cup Changes
Chelsea have almost always made big changes in cup games. The FA Cup run last season was built on a second string side, even in the semis Eden Hazard and Diego Costa started on the bench. The EFL Cup isn’t a competition that’s worth risking the likes of Alvaro Morata in, so we expect an almost entirely different 11 where possible here. Michy Batshuayi should get a start, while there could be room to test a few youngsters against Premier League opposition. Charly Musonda would have been a contender to start, but his recent Instagram rant could see him left out of the side for this one.
Everton’s dismal results in the league and Europe recently mean that they should take this game seriously. We could see Wayne Rooney brought into the team, given that he has a decent record at Stamford Bridge in his career. Overall, the Toffees are struggling for pace in their side, but Ronald Koeman seems reluctant to start any of their younger players. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse were the two scorers in the last round for Everton, and they’re both in contention to start this trip.
Everton come into this game in awful form, and they’re on the verge of an early exit in Europe. Their defeat at home to Lyon leaves them with one point from their opening three group matches in the Europa League. That loss to Lyon was the 10th time in 12 matches that the Toffees have failed to win, with their only clean sheet in that run coming in this competition against Championship side Sunderland. Can they improve on their recent run at the home of the champions?
It’s hard to make a case for the Toffees here, given that they’ve failed to win their last six away games. Their only victory on the road this term came at Ruzomberok in the Europa League, and that was almost three months ago. Ending that wait is going to be difficult for the Toffees, who have lost seven of their last nine meetings with top six sides. They’ve not got a lot of hope coming in to this one, they’re just going to have to rely on an understrength Chelsea side failing to click here.
Chelsea v Everton Head to Head
Everton had a decent run of form against Chelsea, until Antonio Conte arrived at the Bridge. The Blues have since won three meetings with Everton, scoring 10 and conceding none. The champions already have a result against the Toffees this term, having won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge at the end of August. Will they be able to secure another home win this week and move in to the quarter-finals of the cup?
- Chelsea 2-0 Everton, Aug 2017
- Everton 0-3 Chelsea, Apr 2017
- Chelsea 5-0 Everton, Nov 2016
- Everton 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 2016
- Chelsea 3-3 Everton, Jan 2016
- Both teams to score – 10/11 with Bet365
- Over 2.5 Chelsea goals – 6/4 with Coral
Chelsea are widely expected to make it through, as they’re 2/5 favourites with BetVictor for this game. They’ve surely benefited from Everton’s poor form, which has the Toffees out at 7/1 with Ladbrokes for the points. Meanwhile, the draw here can be backed at 39/10 with Betfair, so obviously few are expecting this to be a long night. There’s not a huge amount of value in backing the home win at that price, especially when there’s going to be a huge number of changes being make by Antonio Conte. However, we believe we have found value elsewhere here by looking towards the goal markets.
The hosts have been far from solid at the back in recent weeks, and their second string side are likely to suffer the same kinds of issues. The Blues have played two home League Cup games under Conte, which have seen them concede three against Bristol City and Nottingham Forest. All four of their matches in this competition under Conte have seen both teams score, so we’re backing that as our main tip for this game at 10/11 with Bet365. While the visitors are struggling for results, they should have enough quality up front to take advantage of a changed Chelsea defence.
We’re also backing Chelsea to grab a few goals here, with over 2.5 for the hosts priced at 6/4 with Coral. The Blues have Michy Batshuayi in impressive form when he gets a chance outside of the Premier League, after he hit a hat-trick in the last round. With genuine squad depth now, the Blues should have a strong attack on show against Everton, and we can see them racking up a few goals against a side who are in awful form. That makes us think that over 2.5 goals from the home side is the best value bet here.