These two teams head into this blue versus blue clash with contrasting starts to the season behind them. Roberto Martinez’s Everton have drawn both of their opening games against Leicester City and Arsenal – the latter included an implosion from 2-0 up – whilst Jose Mourinho’s side have started as Chelsea teams usually do: with wins under their belts immediately.
Chelsea have won both of their opening Premier League games and have scored five in the process, including a 2-0 home win over Leicester City last Saturday. Everton will be desperate to get their first win onto the board especially after failing to beat a vulnerable Arsenal last time out. A win could put Everton into fifth with the Premier League still in complete flux, whereas a win for Chelsea could see them leapfrog Spurs into first place.
Everton have five injuries to contend with before this heavyweight meeting at Goodison Park. Most important is Romelu Lukaku, who provided the assist for Steven Naismith’s goal last weekend, but who is a slight doubt with a foot injury which forced him to be substituted against Arsenal. Midfielder Steven Peinaar is definitely out until September with a groin strain, whereas Ross Barkley (knee ligament), Bryan Oviedo (double leg break) and Arouna Kone (knee) are all out of action for the foreseeable future.
In the Chelsea camp, Mourinho has just two injuries to concern him – although concern is perhaps the wrong word with a squad like Chelsea’s. New striker Diego Costa, who has already scored two league goals for Chelsea, is out with a hamstring tear whereas Andre Schurrle could be out with a leg injury.
- A Steven Naismith goal decided this fixture last season with the Scottish striker beating Petr Cech just before half time – the victory was Roberto Martinez’s first win in charge of Everton.
- During the course of last season, on average, Chelsea created 13.32 chances per game compared to Everton’s 10.92.
- In keeping with Roberto Martinez’s mantra of possession based football, Everton averaged more successful passes per game than their expensive counterparts – leading 393.55 to Chelsea’s 391.05.
- Chelsea scored ten more goals than Everton during the course of last season – 71 to 61 – but created almost 100 more chances than Martinez’s side – 506 to 415.
If Romelu Lukaku can prove his fitness this weekend and get himself onto the pitch this Saturday teatime he will surely be the most determined player on the pitch. Lukaku was never given a chance at Chelsea and his time there was spent, well, not being there and out on loan before he found his home at Goodison Park. The blue side of Merseyside love the big Ivorian and Everton’s side now looks like it will be shaped around him for years to come.
Evertonians love the way Lukaku powers his way around the pitch and at 21 years old the striker can only improve – especially with such a gifted manager watching over him. As well as working on his goalscoring exploits, Martinez has been keen to develop Lukaku’s all round game – even deploying the striker on the right hand side of the attack to teach the striker positioning and show him new ways to attack rival defence’s. This had led to an improvement in Lukaku’s team game and he regularly creates more than one chance per game for his team (stats used are from last season). But most of all, Lukaku is a threat to the opposition goalkeeper and his confidence whilst shooting is his main weapon. If fit Lukaku is a 13/2 favourite for Everton to be first goalscorer with Betway and the other former Chelsea man, Samuel Eto’o is at 9/4 to score at anytime.
Lukaku is confident enough to shoot on site and this means he shoots almost four times per game, on average, with an astonishing 63% shot accuracy – better than Luis Suarez (53%) and Daniel Sturridge (49%) from last season. However, contrary to popular belief, Lukaku is not quite as dominant in the air as he should be. The Ivorian hitman only won 37.82% of his aerial duels last season which can obviously be improved upon – although Liverpool’s Sturridge (the highest goalscorer from last season still in the Premier League) only won 17.50%, which perhaps suggests Lukaku’s figures are excellent given he’s competing with aerially powerful centre-backs. Lukaku will certainly be an intriguing watch this Saturday tea time.
Oscar had to endure a slightly stalled season last year with the Brazilian seemingly more shackled by Mourinho’s hard working, and sometimes defensive, style but everybody knows what talent the player possesses and most will back him to come out of Brazil’s disastrous World Cup with a big comeback. However, this hasn’t been the case so far this season. Last season, Oscar created, on average, over two chances per game for his fellow teammates – whereas he has only averaged 1.2 so far this term.
The case is similar in the key passes department with Oscar only making 1.2 per 90 minutes played compared to last season’s 1.94 – this could be down to Brazil’s long World Cup, which saw Oscar play and score in the tournament’s semi-final stage. Clearly Oscar has not yet gotten up to his usual standard and pace having had, like a lot of internationals it must be said, a smaller summer holiday. However, there are signs of positivity with Oscar winning almost 70% of his total duels this season whereas he only won 41.47% last season. Oscar is also doing marginally better in the dribbling department with 40% of his take-ons being successful. Hopefully, Oscar will jump back into full flow soon, starting this weekend at Goodison Park.
Goodison Park has often been the bane of the big boys in recent years and Chelsea have suffered a fair few knocks down the years. However, this time I see a different story. I can see Chelsea continuing their impressive start with a 2-1 win for the Londoners. And if you’re a neutral, why don’t you spice it up with a bit of a flutter? Betway offer a fantastic range of bets across their site including a great in-play menu.
Betway, like me, have Chelsea down as favourites at 20/21 compared to Everton’s higher 13/5. The draw is at 23/10. Get yourself down there and snatch yourself a free bet worth up to £50! You could try Betway’s Match Special of Eden Hazard to Score and Chelsea to win at 6/1!