After the international break I am sure that all fans will be excited to have the Premier League back with us this Saturday. This is also the first game after the end of this year’s transfer window which saw the two clubs come to an agreement for the loan of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker managed to score 17 league goals last season for West Bromwich Albion. There are no doubt many Chelsea fans who are anxious about this decision because of the lack of fire power they possess and even with the addition of Eto’o, many will be wary about how, at 32, he adapts to the pace and power of the Premier League. Due to Premier League regulation, Lukaku will be unable to play against his parent club.
This season has seen Everton unable to score in their last two games, however they are looking solid at the back with two consecutive clean sheets. Everton fans probably knew Marouane Fellaini was likely to leave for Manchester before the window shut. However, with replacements being brought in by Roberto Martinez, their current squad looks in a good position to have a good season. Since Everton have been lacking a player who can finish off team moves, Lukaku could be a really exciting signing for them who could score the goals that others have been unable to.
Chelsea’s most recent league result against Manchester United was the first match this season that Jose Mourinho’s men were unable to score against the opposition. Jose will be desperate to win this match and try and put as much pressure on their title rivals as possible. Whereas, Roberto Martinez will be hoping for his first league win.
Ross Barkley received an England call up for the recent World Cup qualifiers for England, and has looked a fearless player drawing comparisons to Wayne Rooney because of their similar styles and club education. If given the opportunity on Saturday, Barkley could be a key player for Everton because of his fearless style, combined with his footballing brain. He has shown himself to possess match winning talents after his goal against Norwich.
Frank Lampard will be a key player, provided he gets the nod from Jose to start this game. He just played his 100th cap for England whilst still starting all the games for Chelsea this season. If this game is tight, then expect Frank to be the deciding factor with a winning goal. He is now the current top all-time goalscorer at Chelsea. A fantastic achievement from a midfielder.
Eden Hazard and new arrival Samuel Eto’o both suffered small injuries whilst away on International duty, however reports suggest that they have overcome their injuries and will be in contention for Saturday. Defender Tomas Kalas could make a surprise start for Chelsea after overcoming a small fracture of the lower leg. He managed to travel with the squad for the UEFA Super Cup match against Bayern Munich which saw the club lose on penalties. This match also saw David Luiz return in the place of Captain John Terry. It will be interesting to see who Jose picks in defence, as he has more options available than the start of the season. I believe he will probably opt for Ivanovic at right back and a pairing of Cahill and Luiz in the centre with Cole on the left. New signing Willian, from Anzhi Makhachkala, could also feature and make his debut.
Darren Gibson is still expected to be side lined after suffering a knee injury in preseason, however Everton’s Antolin Alcaraz may be fit enough to make the squad after suffering a hamstring injury. New signing James McCarthy’s £13 million move from Wigan boosts the squad after the departure of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United. Both Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry signed for Everton on season-long loans. Whilst Lukaku will be out due to Premier League rules. Barry will be eligible.
- The two teams played four times last season with three of the results ending in a 2-1 win for Chelsea. Over 2.5 goals at Pinnacle is at a good value of 2.1.
- Marouane Fellaini was Everton’s top scorer last season with 11 goals but has departed for Manchester United so who will step up?
- Leighton Baines made the most crosses for Everton last season with 353, the closest rival to Baines in crosses was Kevin Mirallas.
- Baines had a crossing accuracy of 30% last season
With both defences being quite impressive already this season and both managers will be hoping that this continues, I think we’ll see a close game between the two sides. As Chelsea will be playing away from home and possess terrific pace on the counter attack whilst maintaining a solid defence, I expect Chelsea to win this game. Mourinho will expect the best from his team and he will believe he can do a job at Goodison Park. However, Chelsea may find it difficult to break Everton down, if Everton sit back and look to attack on the break. It’s a real shame that Lukaku is ineligible to play, as I would have fancied him causing havoc against Chelsea defence. Overall however, I expect Chelsea to edge it and win 1-2.
Chelsea are favourites to win this game at Goodison Park with odds of 2.4, whereas Everton are 3.4 to win. A good bet could be under 2.5 goals at 1.8 as both teams are quite capable of keeping clean sheets. However I still expect some open football to be played and both teams can definitely score so there could be good value in over 2.5 goals at 2.1. Last season’s result at Goodison was a 1-2 win for Chelsea.