Everton vs Chelsea – Match Preview – Sam Allardyce faces his toughest challenge yet as Everton manager as Champions Chelsea come to Goodison Park in a historic Premier League fixture.
Since taking over, Allardyce’s Toffees are unbeaten, winning four of his five games in charge and drawing the other in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.
Such an upturn in form has seen Everton rocket up the table and they now sit comfortably in 9th on 25 points, closer to Liverpool in the Champions League places than the relegation zone – a far cry from the desperate times faced under Ronald Koeman and caretaker manager David Unsworth.
Despite receiving many knockbacks throughout the year, Antonio Conte and Chelsea keep plugging away – reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals after beating Bournemouth 2-1 on Wedenesday courtesy of a late Alvaro Morata goal.
Eight wins from the previous 10 league matches have maintained Chelsea’s push to be the best of the rest – with Conte conceding a couple of weeks ago that Manchester City were uncatchable – and The Blues are in 3rd, just three points behind Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Whilst they will back themselves against Barcelona, drawing the Catalan giants in the last 16 of the Champions League could well end the European foray for Chelsea. And following the year where Chelsea didn’t make Europe after defending their title last time, that means ensuring a top four finish this season is absolutely pivotal, and will be the bare minimum requirement imposed by owner Roman Abramovich.
This is an exciting fixture for various reasons, it sees two of the league’s form teams meeting, but additionally, meetings between the two sides often produce explosions and that’s just in recent memory; the 2009 FA Cup final, the 6-3 at Goodison in 2015, and Chelsea’s 5-0 annihilation of Everton last season – the latter described by legendary commentator John Motson as the ‘best ever Premier League performance’.
The three games mentioned above all resulted in victories for Chelsea, but under Allardyce, Everton will more than fancy themselves to pull off a shock result – albeit with a defensive, resolute performance.
Before Big Sam was announced as Everton manger (they played the West Ham match immediately after), the blue of Merseyside had managed a solitary clean sheet all season. Naturally, the defensive areas of their game have improved since and including the win over West Ham have kept four clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions.
As Champions of England, you would expect Chelsea to be at the top end of the defensive charts, which is the case, they are fourth in our club clean sheet stats table with only Burnley, Arsenal and Manchester United obtaining more shutouts.
Surprisingly, Everton are bottom of our club corner stats table, after only earning a dismal 56 in the league this season, a huge 19 away from the next nearest sides West Ham, West Brom and Swansea – not great company.
An Allardyce team tends to focus on set pieces, and with the outstanding delivery of Gylfi Sigurdsson you would expect this low total to increase. Chelsea, by contrast rank in 5th in this stat, highlighting their tendency to be higher up the pitch and pressuring opposition.
Everton have been good value for booking points this campaign, ranking joint third in our club card stat table for average booking points per match with 1.9. This has been a result of their joint-fifth highest total of 30 yellow cards and by being awarded an additional two red cards.
- Skybet Price Boost – Chelsea to win 3-1 – 14/1
- Skybet Price Boost – Gylfi Sigurdsson to score from outside the penalty area – 20/1
- Skybet OPTA Price Boost – Hazard to Assist a Goal – 11/4
- Skybet OPTA Player Offsides – Dominic Calvert-Lewin 2+ Offsides – 5/2
- Skybet Both Players to Score – Wayne Rooney and Eden Hazard – 13/2
- Skybet Player Carded Accumulator – Jonjoe Kenny and Alvaro Morata both to be carded – 11/1
- Skybet Total Goals, Corners Taken and Booking Points – Over 2.5 Goals, Over 10.5 Corners, Over 35 Booking Points – 7/1
- Bet365 First Goalscorer – Alvaro Morata – (link no longer available)
- Bet365 Double Chance – Everton or Draw – (link no longer available)