Chelsea’s top-four credentials will be put to a stern test when they host Everton this Sunday in one of the picks of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
The Blues come into this fixture on a high after knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup earlier in the week with a fine display in a convincing 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, where they have mightily struggled to impress over the course of this season. They have lost eight games at home in all competitions and have only managed to pick up 21 points from the 14 games Premier League games they have played this season.
Coach Frank Lampard will be pleased with the effort against Liverpool and will draw a lot of positives from that FA Cup triumph. Granted, neither they nor Liverpool were at full strength but that is something we have come to expect and have become accustomed to in so far as domestic cup competitions are concerned. That win eased a lot of pressure off Lampard and his charges following a string of very poor performances, particularly at the Bridge, in the Premier League, that has seen their grip on the final fourth Champions League slot loosen up, precariously opening the door for the chasing pack that is outside looking in, waiting to pounce on any further slip-ups.
Injuries have been a recurring theme in Chelsea’s story this season. Yet again, it reared its ugly head in the Liverpool match. Both Willian and Kovacic were substituted with Achilles problems. With Jorginho under suspension and N’Golo Kante still out, that central midfield looks woefully out of depth. Lampard may be forced to call upon the services of teenage sensation Billy Gilmour who had a standout performance against Liverpool. Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Ochoi are racing to be fit ahead of that match.
Everton have undergone a remarkable transformation since the arrival of manager Carlo Ancelotti. They have collected 18 points in the 10 matches that he has overseen as manager, with just two losses in that span. Only Liverpool and Manchester City have picked up more points in that period. Against Arsenal and Manchester United in their last two matches, although they only picked up a point, they put up two terrific performances against these big boys and on another day, they could easily have won both games. They lost 3-2 against Arsenal despite dominating the games for long stretches and creating twice as many scoring opportunities as their hosts. At home against United, it was a tale of two halves. Disappointing in the first and lucky to be level at the break thanks to a fortuitous goal from a De Gea howler, but completely dominant in the second leaving the visitors gasping for their breath and they were unfortunate to have what they thought was a winner ruled out by a controversial VAR decision and ended up sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
The Toffees have European football ambitions themselves. Picking up points off of one of the teams occupying one of those slots they are targeting would certainly help their cause. They currently lie 11th on the Premier League log but those European football qualification slots are within a striking distance, with only 8 points separating them from 4th placed Chelsea and 5 points from 6th placed United.
They beat Chelsea 3-1 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season at Goodison Park with a goal from Richarlison and a brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a game that marked their turnaround in fortunes this season. They have not won at the Bridge in years but if there was ever a better time to do it, it is now. That strike duo that killed Chelsea at Goodison has been tearing down defences and have proved to be a force to reckon with. Calvert-Lewin’s goal against United took his season’s tally to 13 goals. The two have clicked very well under Ancelotti’s system and could be a handful against Chelsea’s rather porous backline.
Unlike Lampard, Ancelotti virtually has a clean bill of health as far as injuries are concerned. Lucas Digne could make a return this weekend after a long injury layoff. Jean-Philippe Gbam and Morgan Scheiderlin are the only injury worries for the Toffees.
This game has goals written all over it. Chelsea’s clean sheet against Liverpool in the FA Cup was more of an outlier than the norm. They have really struggled to keep clean sheets and the defence has been even more porous at home. Everton lethal strike partnership of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison who have been scoring goals for fun will certainly cause them some problems. Chelsea scoring hasn’t been much of a problem. Even with the Absence of Tammy Abrahams who is their leading striker this season, they have still found ways to score. Our first betting tip for this game is, therefore, BTTS @ 1.58.
Calvert Lewin to score at Anytime has a price of 3.25. He is having a season to remember and is in fine form at the moment. He scored a brace last time these two teams met and should bag at least a goal when they meet again on Sunday.
Our final betting tip for the game is a bit of a risky one. We are backing Everton to Win here @ 4.25. We fancy them to run Chelsea’s midfield rugged and dominate that end of the pitch and get the job done this time and unlike their last two games where they dominated and failed to win. A safer alternative here is to go for the Double Chance Everton or Draw @ 1.90.
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