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Everton v Chelsea: Martinez keen to stop Champions building momentum

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is anticipating a strong response from Chelsea when the defending Premier League champions travel to Goodison Park.

Chelsea have endured a difficult start to the new campaign, taking just four points from as many games and suffering a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace before the international break.

Martinez’s men have not fared much better in the early stages of the season and sit only a point ahead of Chelsea in the table, although they did emerge with a share of the spoils from a tough trip to Tottenham last time out.

Everton were unable to take any points off Mourinho’s men in 2014-15 and, despite their early struggles, Martinez is wary of a Chelsea side he expects to quickly return to form.

“They haven’t reached that winning momentum of last season,” Martinez said. “That’s obvious. You can have the same players, way of playing and quality but you need that momentum and that comes with results. 

“Their four games this season they’ve been small margins, except versus [Manchester] City [in a 3-0 defeat].

“I very much expect a strong Chelsea team with right approach, hitting the heights they hit last season when they won the league comfortably. We need to make sure they don’t develop momentum against us.”

Saturday’s game has added spice coming on the back of Chelsea’s failed pursuit of John Stones, who had a transfer request rejected by Everton. 

Martinez says the defender is going from “strength to strength” and will have no qualms about deploying him on the backline.

However, Everton are without left-back Leighton Baines and midfielder Tom Cleverley due to ankle injuries, while Steven Pienaar has a hamstring problem.

Bryan Oviedo is a doubt with a knee injury but Darron Gibson has returned to training following a foot complaint.

Mourinho was understandably angered by his side’s loss to Palace and, in the aftermath of that defeat, indicated his side will have a different look on Merseyside.

“If you ask me if I’m going to accept this, cross my arms, sit in a nice chair and wait calmly for the performance level to be back – no [I am not],” Mourinho said. 

“I have to work, I have to react, I have to analyse, and if I feel the players are not in conditions to react and give more, I have to make changes.

“It is not about being loyal or not loyal, it is for me to analyse if they are ready to give an answer and try to fight against that bad individual form or not.”

One of those changes is likely to come at goalkeeper, with Asmir Begovic in line to replace Thibaut Courtois, who picked up a knee injury in training.

It remains to be seen if Oscar and Ramires will return from unspecified knocks, while defender Papy Djilobodji could feature following his move from Nantes.

Thu 10 Sep, 2015
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