Everton v Chelsea: Big prices appeal at Goodison

Andy Schooler picks out some big prices for Saturday's Everton v Chelsea clash in the Premier League, one which looks likely to feature plenty of goals...

Everton v Chelsea
Saturday 12 December, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 1

Chelsea target league lead

Chelsea will go top of the Premier League if they win at Everton on Saturday night and it's not hard to see why they are 1.84 to claim the three points.

They will arrive at Goodison Park unbeaten in 17 in all competitions and a major part of that run has been a miserly defence, one which looks unrecognisable from that which started the season in such shaky fashion.

Given the level of summer recruitment, it's perhaps no great surprise that it took a few weeks for boss Frank Lampard to find the right balance in his team but he's certainly done that now with keeper Edouard Mendy and the experienced Thiago Silva bringing calmness to that defence.

Further forward, Timo Werner is getting better all the time and Mason Mount a regular star in midfield.

In recent games, Olivier Giroud has emphasised the squad's strength in depth, although it could be needed here with both Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi ruled out.

At least Christian Pulisic is fit again and he looks likely to start of the right-hand side of the attack and that area of the pitch could be a key one.

Defensive woes for hosts

Everton4.5 for victory, remain without Lucas Digne at left-back and it seems likely new recruit Ben Godfrey will start on that side after enjoying a good game (or rather most of one) at Burnley last week.

The Toffees switched from a wing-back system to a flat back four following an injury to Fabian Delph and were unquestionably better after that move.

However, the fact remains that Godfrey is very much out of position at left-back and the quality of Pulisic and Reece James may prove tough to handle.

Likewise, it could be a long afternoon for Alex Iwobi if he continues in the right-back slot (Seamus Coleman is injured on that side for Everton). He'll have Werner and Ben Chilwell to deal with.

Chelsea will surely target those wide areas and with Everton's defence a definite weak point, it is easily where the game could be won and lost.

The hosts have conceded at least twice in seven of their 11 Premier League games so far, with their only clean sheet coming on the opening day at Spurs.

Goals can be expected

Over 2.5 goals is available to back at 1.63. That's pretty short but, with Everton also carrying a goal threat at the other end, you can see why.

Everton showed at Tottenham that they are capable of competing with the best teams in the division (albeit Spurs weren't at the races) and they also bring a decent record against Chelsea into this one.

They've won seven of the last 11 league encounters at Goodison so clearly this trip won't bring the best memories for some visiting players. 2,000 fans being allowed in should also help the home side to some extent.

While Everton's defence highly likely to crack, they should at least cause some problems in attack.
In Dominic Calvert-Lewin, they boast the league's top scorer and his ability to poach a goal is growing by the week.

He's a player who can find the right space at the right time and should give Chelsea's solid defence something to think about - if Everton can get balls into him.

Back home pair

Richarlison should certainly create something. The Toffees really struggled while he was suspended and he offers a threat like no other in their squad with his running both on and off the ball.

On the other side, James Rodriguez has come in for criticism during Everton's recent downturn - it's just one win in seven for the early pace-setters - but I wouldn't be surprised to see him step things up here.

It's his first game at Goodison in front of a crowd and those present are likely to really get behind a player who has the ability to excite. The Colombian has also delivered in big games so far, impressing at Spurs and also in the derby against Liverpool.

He's certainly shown he knows where the goal is, landing a shot on target in eight of his 10 league appearances so far.

He's 10/11 to repeat the trick here which looks lumpy, even accepting that Chelsea's defence has restricted opponents in terms of shots taken.

Richarlison also looks overpriced in the anytime assist market at 9/1, especially given Calvert-Lewin's goal-grabbing ability.

The Brazilian has assisted in three of eight league games this season and seems likely to give James one of his tougher games on that side of the pitch.

James also looks big in this market at 15/2 given the makeshift nature of Everton's backline.

He has an assist in three of his 11 starts in all competitions this season so looks worth a poke.

Zouma looks a big price

One final big price worth a mention is Kurt Zouma to score at 9.2.

The Frenchman has netted in four of his 10 league games so far which is a fine record for a defender.

Here, he also has inside knowledge of the men likely to be marking him at set-pieces - Michael Keane and Yerry Mina - having spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Goodison.

Everton have long had issues defending balls into their box so a player on a hot streak in front of goal is worth backing.


Opta fact

Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his last six Premier League starts for Chelsea - only Mark Stein (seven between December 1993 and February 1994) has scored in more consecutive starts for the Blues in the competition.

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