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Prediction: Chelsea vs Everton


Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 5/9

Bookmaker: William Hill

Having revived their title bid with four successive Premier League wins, Chelsea will be looking to put extra pressure on their title rivals when they take on Everton in the final match of Saturday’s programme. However, with the Toffees having finally ended a five-match winless run, they will be determined to spoil the party for their more illustrious opponents.

Chelsea

Even if he has had some bumps along the way, Antonio Conte is proving to be the right man for the job at Stamford Bridge, and it is not his infectious enthusiasm that quickly won over the fans and pundits alike. The Italian is an excellent tactician first and foremost, as well as a great motivator, and he was brave enough to first ditch his preferred style of play upon arriving to Chelsea, before reverting to a three-man defence when things started taking the wrong turn. The latest results are enough to suggest that Conte has found the perfect system for his new side, as the 3-4-3 formation has proved a resounding success, allowing Belgian superstar Eden Hazard to work his magic up front without wasting too much energy in defence, while also making the back line rock solid. If we disregard the EFL Cup defeat to West Ham, where a number of key men were rested, Chelsea have largely impressed since the aforementioned change, winning four straight Premier League fixtures, scoring 11 goals and not conceding a single one. The achievement becomes even more impressive when we know that the Blues faced the likes of Leicester City, Man Utd and Southampton during said period. The challenge now is to keep the run going for as long as possible, and even if Everton could prove a tough nut to crack, we do expect Chelsea to extend the winning streak.

Team News

Branislav Ivanovic has returned into action after recovering from injury, while Cesc Fabregas and Kurt Zouma could be back in contention as well.

Marco van Ginkel has also resumed training, but he is ineligible, whereas John Obi Mikel is the only player on the sidelines at the moment.

Everton

Everton have proved to be a real Jekyll and Hyde team this season as they were absolutely brilliant in the opening exchanges, yet very disappointing over the last few weeks. This is enough to suggest that Ronald Koeman’s side lack the character needed to mount a serious top 4 challenge, but at least they have now managed to arrest the negative trend. A five-match winless run (D2 L3) came to an end last weekend as the Toffees enjoyed a 2-0 triumph over struggling West Ham, with Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and Yannick Bolasie combining for the two goals. It is precisely these three players that will need to step up if Everton are to have any chance of a successful season, and there are no doubts that the Chelsea game will be a good test to their European ambitions. The Toffees have done fairly well on the road this season, defeating West Brom and Sunderland, while losing to AFC Bournemouth and Burnley, and they did manage to hold Manchester City to a 1-1 draw. However, considering that the Citizens were incredibly unfortunate not to record a big win at Etihad Stadium, the Toffees did not exactly impress in that match.

Team News

First choice goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is sidelined through injury, meaning that Joel Robles will start between the sticks.

Idrissa Gueye misses out through suspension, whereas Leighton Gibbs, Darron Gibson and Muhamed Besic are out injured.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Everton are unbeaten in last three matches vs Chelsea (W2 D1)
  • Chelsea won four of last four home games vs Everton (D1)
  • The Blues won last four league fixtures without conceding
  • Everton lost two of last three away matches (D1)
  • Chelsea won five of last six home games (L1)

Conclusion

Chelsea have been absolutely brilliant of late and the Blues are showing no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, Everton were pretty disappointing in their last three away fixtures and despite the slight improvement shown against West Ham, we don’t think they can avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 5/9

Bookmaker: William Hill

Thu 3 Nov, 2016
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