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Another uncomfortable encounter awaits vulnerable Chelsea at Everton

11 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Another uncomfortable encounter awaits vulnerable Chelsea at Everton

A post-international break visit to Goodison Park is far from ideal for Jose Mourinho’s languishing side, who have just four Premier League points

Having the majority of his squad jet off around the world to represent their respective countries was hardly conducive to Jose Mourinho’s plans to arrest Chelsea’s wretched start to the season.

Following their 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge before the international break, the Portuguese’s side have made the second-worst start to a title defence in Premier League history.

And while the four points accrued from as many games is only one more than Blackburn Rovers managed in 1994/95, it is their disarray in defence that has been most alarming.

Months on from conceding the fewest goals in the division, Chelsea have now conceded the most of any team after bottom-club Sunderland.

The underwhelming transfer deadline-day signing of Papy Djilobodji – who has not even been named in their Champions League squad – does not appear to be the solution.

A Saturday lunch-time trip to Goodison Park, then, is not the kindest fixture for a team bereft of organisation and reliability to return to action after almost two weeks apart.

How the Chelsea manager must wish he could select John Stones, the stylish 21-year-old England international who he was prepared to pay close to £40m for.

Stones is almost certain to start to the fixture, of course, but he will be wearing the shirt of Everton, who fought so hard to keep him throughout the summer.

That will undoubtedly be a boost for the club and manager Roberto Martinez.

As will their recent home record against Chelsea, which currently stands at four victories from their previous six encounters.

The North-West club are 11/4 to make that five out of seven on Saturday.

The performance of striker Romelu Lukaku will be crucial to the Toffees’ attempts to claim all three points.

The Belgian international has never scored against his former club, but his pace and power should trouble the uncertain Chelsea backline – even more so after first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was ruled out with a knee injury.

Lukaku, who has four goals in five appearances this season, is 13/2 to score first and 9/4 to do so at any stage of the match.

Ross Barkley is another player who has the dynamism to cause discomfort.

The 21-year-old has two goals this campaign – already matching his previous season’s tally – and opened his England account against San Marino last weekend.

Barkley is 9/2 to find the net again on Saturday.

Despite their inauspicious recent record at Goodison, Chelsea memorably claimed a thrilling 6-3 victory at the stadium 12 months ago.

And while Diego Costa’s goal drought for Spain continued during their recent internationals against Slovakia and Macedonia, he will relish returning to Merseyside.

The combative striker scored two of his side’s six that day and is 13/2 to score first in a win for the visitors.

Goals, it seems, are likely.

Chelsea’s only victory this season was the 3-2 triumph at West Brom last month and, considering their current penchant for conceding, it might require a similarly cavalier performance to secure all three points.

It is evens for there to be more than 2.5 goals in the match.

Such high-scoring encounters is, of course, the antithesis of Mourinho’s values as manager.

But until he is able to get time with the players at his club’s plush Cobham training ground, he will presumably be grateful for any sort of victory.

It is most needed.

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