Chelsea (4/9) host Ronald Koeman’s Everton on Sunday afternoon and Antonio Conte’s side will be hoping to avoid another home capitulation after their home woes against Burnley on the opening weekend. The defending Premier League champions were poor when losing to Sean Dyche’s side and ill-discipline cost the Blues dearly on that occasion.
Meanwhile, Everton have started the season well – keeping a number of clean sheets and positive results in both the Premier League and Europa League. Wayne Rooney has settled quickly into life on his return to Goodison Park and the Toffees will be expecting the former Manchester United star to continue that form in this encounter.
Early Momentum Key For Defending Champions Chelsea
Winning against Tottenham last weekend was huge for Chelsea – another defeat could have severely damaged their confidence before the end of August. Conte knows that the Blues cannot afford to drop too far behind in their pursuit of defending the crown and securing another win here is an absolute must.
Diego Costa is still AWOL and Eden Hazard probably isn’t ready for a return to the first team just yet. Chelsea are not at full strength by any means but they should still have enough to emerge victorious. In Alvaro Morata, currently 49/50 to get his name on the scoreboard on Sunday, they have a competent striker that is capable of making the difference.
Chelsea tend to score at least once in fixtures against Everton – the Blues have bagged in each of their last seven Premier League outings against the Toffees. With that in mind, the over 1.5 home goals market has some appeal at 11/20. They may be depleted but Chelsea still have the quality to blow teams away at Stamford Bridge...
Everton Won’t Just Shut Up Shop Against The Top Six
In years gone by, the Toffees have rolled over away from home against England’s top clubs – that won’t happen anymore. Koeman is building a monster at Goodison Park and it would take a brave man to back against Everton in any fixture this campaign. They aren’t quite the finished article just yet but they are certainly heading in the right direction.
Rooney has been exceptional so far this season and another solid performance could be on the cards here. The Everton man announced his retirement from international football this week and he can now concentrate all of his efforts on the Toffees. He is currently priced at 18/5 to add another top flight goal to his growing tally.
For Everton, it might be more about restricting Chelsea than going all out to score more goals than their opponents. The Toffees will attempt to take their chances when they arise but they won’t go hammer and tongue at expense of their defensive efforts. Keeping a clean sheet will be Jordan Pickford’s number one objective as per usual...
It might not be the prettiest game of football you’ll watch this season but Chelsea should be good enough to get the job done. Everton will give a spirited effort and they may push the hosts close but this may be a step too far. Koeman’s men are on an upward trajectory but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the defending champions come up trumps here.
CHELSEA 2-1 Everton (7/1 at the time of writing with 888Sport)