The lunchtime game on Saturday will deliver an intriguing matchup between Everton and Chelsea. Roberto Martínez is attempting to prove in his third season that last year’s 11th-place finish will not happen again, while José Mourinho and Chelsea are already staring at an eight-point gap from behind Man City.
Mourinho appeared to have a bad transfer window in which a last-minute acquisition of Pedro helped him to save face. Ambitious moves for Paul Pogba and Everton centre-back John Stones never panned out, leaving Chelsea to make do with a weaker spine to the team than Mourinho would have liked.
Martínez will be delighted that Ross Barkley has started the season strongly, considering how he struggled last year. Barkley has scored four in two games and has been pivotal in Everton’s midfield, providing a link between the anchor-men and striker Romelu Lukaku, who is also on two goals.
Everton actually have a better chance against Chelsea than they did in losing 2-0 to Man City. Chelsea’s central midfield partnership of Nemanja Matić and Cesc Fàbregas have not started the season well. They just haven’t controlled games like they are capable of, which could play to Everton’s advantage.
For Chelsea, they need to target Everton’s fullbacks. Leighton Baines is out with a long-term ankle injury, while Séamus Coleman might also be absent with a hamstring injury. Everton’s defence was so horribly bad last season and there is no reason to think that they have addressed all of their problems.
What also needs to be considered is whether or not Stones can focus on a game against a team that he would prefer to be playing for. Everton resisted a couple of extremely lucrative bids for the youngster, so he could become unsettled when facing Chelsea.
Tip one: Chelsea to win @ 1.90 with Betfair
Tip two: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.00 with Betfair
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Mourinho has only taken four points from a possible 12. You have to think that he figures out how to get the win here, especially as he has won five from his last six against Everton.