Everton vs Chelsea Preview

English Premier League | Saturday 12 September 2015 | Goodison Park | 13:45

Chelsea face a tricky trip to Everton on Saturday as they look to return to winning ways in the English Premier League. This fixture was voted match of the season last campaign, with Chelsea ousting Everton 6-3 in what was a humdinger of a game.

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To Win (90mins)
Everton 3/1
Draw 26/10
Chelsea 8/10


Everton have started the season fairly well, taking five points from a tough run of games which included trips to Southampton and Tottenham, as well as a home clash with Manchester City. Roberto Martinez made a couple of late signings in the summer transfer window, with both Argentine defender Ramiro Funes Mori and former Spurs winger Aaron Lennon joining on permanent deals. The addition of Lennon may not get the blood racing, but nonetheless it was a pretty important signing and his wide play will surely be welcomed within the Goodison Park camp. Martinez will be happy the transfer market is now closed with John Stones remaining an Everton player. 

Chelsea made a sustained and very public effort to lure the England defender to Stamford Bridge but Everton held firm, rejecting three bids and a transfer request. Martinez will be hopeful Stones will get over the fact that he couldn’t join the Premier League champions and continue his solid performances. Everton haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last three attempts, but Martinez will feel his side have enough quality to cause an upset. The Toffees play an exciting flexible style of football, adept at pressing high up on the pitch and also sit deep if need be and catch teams on the counter with ruthless efficiency. They work extremely hard and have a boundless energy which is capable of overwhelming opponents. 

Ross Barkley runs the show in midfield with his quick-feet and fantastic dribbling skills. He can turn defence into attack in a matter of seconds and has the ability to create something out of nothing. Barkley brings creativity and invention to Martinez’s side and he could be a nuisance for Jose Mourinho’s men on Saturday. Up front, Romelu Lukaku gives the team an unshakeable focal point in attack. He is powerful, strong and a cunning poacher relying on his speed and athleticism to sniff out the tiniest of chances and convert them into goals. Everton will be without the services of Tom Cleverley for six to eight weeks having suffered a nasty ankle injury against Tottenham last time out. The setback is a huge blow for Cleverley, who was finally turning the corner and playing some of the best football of his life. However, Martinez can turn to the likes of Gerard Deulofeu for a regular starting spot in his absence. The Barcelona youth product may never justify the tag of La Masia’s ‘next big thing’, but the 21-year-old is unquestionably a promising prospect. Tony Hibbert, Steven Pienaar, Leighton Baines and Darron Gibson will all miss out due to injury.  


Chelsea welcome their star-studded squad back from international duty and will be looking to get their season back on track following a shaky start. The reigning Premier League champions have taken just four points from their opening four matches, suffering two defeats against Manchester City and Crystal Palace last time out. The Blues have been shambolic in defence having conceded nine times so far which has led Mourinho to sign Senegalese defender Papy Djilobodji from Nantes after having a string of bids for 21-year-old Stones turned down. Chelsea will be looking to punish Everton for their refusal to do business with them and will be motivated by their impressive head-to-head record that has seen them win five of their last six meetings including three on the spin. 

Mourinho has a treasure chest of talent in his team. In the attack, a precious luxury exists, which under his leadership, will be sculpted into a masterpiece. Cesc Fabregas is the conductor of a wonderfully fluid attack, whose intricate passing and subtle movement create a crescendo of relentless pressure that few can survive. Chelsea's midfield triumvirate of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Pedro will have the likes of Phil Jagielka and co. having sleepless nights to the build-up of this match. Hazard brings the magic that can win matches in one action and has the flair and artist's touch of the football. There are a few players blessed with the ability to create something out of nothing and not only does the Belgian create goals but he can score them in a moment of brilliance. Oscar keeps things fluid, flowing and synchronised; he drifts into the perfect position to receive the ball; he makes defence-splitting passes, and has outstanding goal scoring abilities. 

The arrival of Pedro from Barcelona means there is now a Spanish quartet pulling the strings in the Chelsea starting XI. Pedro adds a new dimension to Chelsea’s attack bringing with him immense talent and flair taught at the hallowed grounds of La Masia. The Spaniard is willing to attack the wing in a way unlike any other Chelsea player. And when he gets into position, he doesn't dally in possession—Pedro is quick-thinking and only has one thought on his mind, which is to get the ball into the danger area. His incredible speed allows him to swiftly get down the field and be a thorn for the opposite defenders and his quick feet give him the dubiousness to weave throughout the defence and get himself into goalscoring opportunities. Chelsea have two world-class strikers in Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao who both scored a brace against Everton last season – Falcao scoring for Manchester United. Costa, however, is expected to get the nod up front. He is quick, powerful, tenacious, strong, and superb at holding up the ball to link up with midfield runners. He sniffs out chances, and when opportunity presents itself, he executes to perfection.  

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Probable line-ups:

Everton: 4-2-3-1
Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Oviedo; Barry, McCarthy; Barkley, Deulofeu, Kone; Lukaku

Chelsea: 4-3-2-1
Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Oscar, Pedro; Costa

Betting Verdict: Chelsea 8/10
As a Chelsea fan, I’ve been extremely disappointed with their dismal start to the season. The defence has been chaotic and Mourinho will need to address those issues or the title race will be over before it ever really began. That being said, Chelsea have far too much quality in their side not to bounce back and they can’t afford any more slip-ups. Form is temporary, class is permanent. Back the champions at 8/10.   

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