Everton v Chelsea Preview

English Premier League | Saturday 30 August | Goodison Park | 18:30




Chelsea hope to maintain their 100 percent start to the new season when they travel to Goodison Park on Saturday to take on a formidable Everton side. The Toffees gave up a two goal lead against Arsenal in the last seven minutes to end the game in a 2-2 draw while, The Blues claimed a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Leicester City.

To Win (90mins)
Everton 24/10
Draw 23/10
Chelsea 21/20

EVERTON

For a second week in succession Everton let a lead slip and had to be content with a draw that must have left Roberto Martinez feeling numb all over again.

The Toffees were dominant and cruising throughout the first half, and were well worthy of their half-time advantage.

Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, they will very much regret not converting their possession and superiority into the goals they warranted.

Up next for Martinez’s side is a tough test against title favourites Chelsea, who have won both their fixtures convincingly.

The last time these sides met at Goodison Park, Martinez recorded his first Premier League win as Everton manager with a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a Steven Naismith header.

In order to repeat that feat Everton will need to be on top of their game especially defensively where they struggled to hold off Arsenal as well as Leicester City in their opening game.

Everton can have a great season, building on Martinez's fantastic first year at Goodison Park. But if they are to improve on last season's fifth-place finish, they'll need to stop throwing away leads.

We're only two games into the new season and alarm bells will already be ringing for the fans.

The Toffees got nearly everything right in the first half, but Martinez admitted his players were tired towards the end - which resulted in them switching off at vital moments of the game.

One player who will be raring to go will be Romelu Lukaku. The Belgium striker will want to show Jose Mourinho that he made a mistake in letting him go.

Lukaku has spoken respectfully about Chelsea since completing his move to Everton in July but privately the towering forward will be fixed on proving his old club wrong.

For as much as Lukaku will enthusiastically chase some sort of revenge, Martinez will urge him to keep calm and focus on doing it for the team, not himself.

Martinez will ask him to channel that energy into bullying and battering John Terry and Gary Cahill and not let his eagerness to impress cloud his judgement.

Fire in his belly but ice in his veins, that will be the message. New loan signing Christian Atsu is ineligible to play against his parent club Chelsea while Steven Pienaar remains a major doubt after picking up a groin injury against Arsenal last weekend.

One big miss for Everton will be midfield star Ross Barkley, who is a long-term casualty after picking up a knee injury prior to the start of the season.

Goodison Park will provide the incendiary backdrop to a potentially barnstorming battle as Jose’s boys arrive on Merseyside.

CHELSEA

Thibaut Courtois saves, Diego Costa scores. Not so long ago, a match report carrying that narrative would have seen Atletico Madrid the subject and beneficiaries.

Not anymore. As Chelsea huffed and puffed before blowing Leicester City's house down at Stamford Bridge, they showed the spirit of the reigning La Liga champions.

Last season, it was Courtois' clean sheets and Costa's goals that gave Atletico success, and Mourinho is now replicating it in west London.

The gritty games in the 2013/14 campaign caught Chelsea out at times, but they showed that they can produce the goods in a tense affair that optimised the cliche of a “game of two halves.”

Mourinho teams do not concede goals and this season they look set to be even more secure, with options at centre-half and the full-back berths – the versatility of Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta is made even stronger by the arrival of Filipe Luis – Nemanja Matic to hold and Courtois behind them.

The Blues boss recognises that you have to have solid foundations and that is exactly what he has. While no one can under-mine the defence Chelsea have now, it looks like the ‘Parked Bus’ taunts are far away.

With a brigade of world class midfielders in their ranks, it seems Mourinho has shifted his Chelsea into the next gear. Eden Hazard was electric for The Blues at the weekend and was awarded Man of the Match.

The Belgian international was typically brilliant at beating his man but also created numerous chances, played cutting-edge passes and scored a terrific second-half goal to make sure of all the points.

He could be a nuisance against Everton with his movement and trickery. Further up the pitch, Chelsea have finally got the lethal striker that they’ve been yearning for.

Not only did they desperately need a classy striker but Costa fits the bill perfectly. The former Atletico Madrid striker has more to his game than goals and his hold up play will be very useful as it allows others to run in behind and with Cesc Fabregas' quality final ball, chances should be abundant.

Also, Costa is a natural goalscorer, a poacher, as shown by his first two goals and will trouble Everton’s defence.

Betting Verdict: CHELSEA 21/20
Chelsea are favourites at 21/20, while Everton are valued at 24/10. Jose Mourinho’s men look an irresistible force at the moment, dangerous going forward while remaining solid at the back. They don’t give away goals too cheaply and the addition of Diego Costa makes them frightening up font. It’s by no means an easy game, but Chelsea should have the cutting edge to see off their opponents. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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