WILL DYER (@w2dyer) assesses the challenge that Chelsea have before them at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. Everton have won seven on the bounce, could they put this title race well and truly on?
Everton v Chelsea | Sunday 14:05 | Sky Sports 1
Chelsea can go seven points clear at the top of the Premier League for at least two hours with a win at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. It’s another chance to put the ball in Spurs’ court but this time victory doesn’t look so certain.
Everton have lost just one home game in the league all season. At Goodison, they are in sublime form winning seven on the bounce and scoring 26 goals in the process. Which equates to a goal per-game average of 3.7. If their away form was anywhere near as good, they too would be pushing for the title.
Chelsea have suffered two wobbles that threaten to derail the title push; defeat at home to Crystal Palace and on the road to Manchester United. During this period, they’ve conceded two or more goals in four of their last six games in all competitions and if we look further back, it’s just one clean sheet in their last 10 outings.
This defensive slip does not bode well with the league’s top scorer on the prowl against his old club. Romelu Lukaku has scored two goals in six games against his former club and boasts a record of W2-D1-L3, very respectable. Both of those goals came last March when Chelsea were knocked out of the FA Cup in a quarter final on Merseyside.
The Toffees have scored two or more on each of the last three occasions that they’ve hosted the Blues, they’ve also scored two or more in seven consecutive home games and with the pressure Chelsea are under and their recent record at the back, I have to back Everton to score two or more at 2/1 with Bet365.
Chelsea have been prolific in recent weeks and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they concede twice and still win this. At just over even-money they are good value to take all three points too but I don’t like to oppose Everton at home.
Toffees upset the applecart
Diego Costa found his scoring boots last time out, bagging a brace and assisting Eden Hazard for the opener against Southampton. Chelsea deserved the win but it was another victory that was rather unlike the ones we became accustomed too in late 2016.
Earlier in the season the same formation wasn’t allowing the opposition any time on the ball in the Blues’ half. Antonio Conte was producing victories in carbon copies, a watertight defence, seamless transition from midfield to attack resulting in a 1-0 or 2-0 victory.
That spell has ended for whatever reason and Everton can take advantage of that to continue their home flurry. Don’t be surprised if come 6pm on Sunday we have a title race separated by one or two points.
Everton v Chelsea – Everton to score 2+ goals (2/1 Bet365)