Everton’s inability to hold on to the hard-earned lead has cost them dearly in the opening two fixtures, and the Toffees will have to improve in that department if they want to frustrate the number one candidates for the Premiership title. Chelsea did not impress at the start of the season, but having defeated newly-promoted Burnley and Leicester City, the Blues will want to continue the trend at Goodison Park.
Having pushed Arsenal all the way in the race for the top 4 finish last season, Everton seemed well prepared for another assault on the Champions League berth, having tied Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry to long-term deals while also signing talented youngsters Muhamed Besic and Christian Atsu. But, the Toffees were incredibly unfortunate to have star player Ross Barkley suffer a serious injury just as the season was about to start, while they have since experienced few more problems. The somewhat surprising signing of Samuel Eto’o should provide much needed cover for Romelu Lukaku, who appears to be far away from the desired form at the moment, but poor defensive displays are certainly the biggest issue at the moment. Even with Lukaku misfiring, the Toffees have bagged a total of four goals in the first two Premier League fixtures, but they have conceded some cheap goals as well. Roberto Martinez’s charges first twice squandered a one-goal lead against Leicester before allowing Arsenal to come back from two goals behind and earn a 2-2 draw at Goodison. With Steven Pienaar the latest first team regular to pick up an injury, the Toffees could find it hard to carve out chances against rock-solid Chelsea, especially if Aiden McGeady is again left on the bench.
For the second year running, Chelsea have been made the favourites for the Premier League title, and they certainly seem more than capable to live up to the billing. Jose Mourinho has made all the right signings this summer as Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis will have a big role to play this term, while the return of Thibaut Courtouis, arguably one of world’s top goalkeepers, is another major boost for the club. Even if they experienced some problems along the way, the Blues eased off to victories over Burnley and Leicester City, showing some ruthlessness in front of the opposition goal, with new signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa proving their worth early on. The first goal of the season for Eden Hazard was another major positive as the Belgian needs his confidence back following some under-par performances at the 2014 World Cup, while the big strength in depth is something that could ultimately win them the title. Diego Costa and Andre Schurrle look likely to miss the trip to Goodison, but with Didier Drogba and Ramires set to be drafted into the starting line-up, Chelsea still look like the favourites to win.
Everton will be low on spirits after squandering a two-goal advantage against Arsenal and given that their back line does not look too impressive at the moment, the Toffees could end up suffering the first defeat of the campaign. Diego Costa will be missed in the away side, but the Blues, nonetheless, look a good bet to extend their winning run.
Verdict: Away win Chelsea (2)
Best Odds: 6/5