Chelsea v Everton: Safety first at Stamford Bridge

Paul Higham expects a low-scoring encounter on Monday night, with Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel playing it safe in their top four battle...

No doubting Thomas at Chelsea now

Thomas Tuchel has now gone 10 games unbeaten to start his Chelsea reign, including 18 points from eight league games with that impressive win at Anfield yielding an eighth clean sheet and providing a huge boost to their top four hopes.

The German's possession-based risk-averse style may not wow everyone, but they're keeping things tight and relying on their expensively assembled array of forward power to pinch goals. They've bagged just 11 goals in Tuchel's 10 games so far, but they've won seven of the eight games they've scored in.

Chelsea have only lost to Liverpool and Man City at home this season and they've got a superb record against Everton at Stamford Bridge - where they're unbeaten in their last 25 league meetings with the Toffees (W14 D11).

Only Man Utd started this matchday shorter in the top four betting market - and a victory over another big rival would be another huge stride forward.

Carlo's clinical Toffees on the road

Speaking of managers making a difference, Carlo Ancelotti has his upwardly-mobile side eyeing a Champions League spot in his first full season in charge.

He's generally made Everton a tougher side to beat, and while they've struggled at times at home they've been as good as almost anyone on the road.

The nine away wins they've bagged is already their best ever return for a season, while their 29 points is just one less than Man City and Man Utd have mustered on their travels.

After putting an end to their Anfield hoodoo, a win here would not only be a first since November 1994, but it would also take them above Chelsea and - with a game in hand - catapult them into the driving seat in that top four contest.

Chelsea will dominate the stats

There's been plenty of talk about Chelsea's defence under Tuchel, but Everton arrive in west London after three straight league wins with a clean sheet.

Seven of their nine away wins have come by a single goal so under Ancelotti they know how to dig in and see a game out - Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey in particular have been excellent at the back.

With Chelsea big 1.55 favourites, Everton are a huge price at 6.5 for the win - especially for a side who have been so good on their travels. Chelsea's form of late though would suggest the draw 4.2 might be the best the visitors can hope for.

Everton have been clinical and crafty under Ancelotti this season - they're the only team in the top ten with a negative xG difference - they've scored more than they should and conceded less.

They also rank down in 14th for possession and 16th for total corners and shots per game this season, all good things to know for same game multis but also an illustration that Ancelotti doesn't mind not having the ball and is happy to trust his defence not to give away big chances and trust his forwards to be clinical in front of goal.

Safety first from both Blues' bosses

Both managers then, and therefore both sides, will take a safety first approach to this game.

The hectic schedule is another factor that points to a low-scoring battle here - under 2.5 goals clocks in at 1.87 and is worth including on any same game multi.

An old favourite is the half-time draw2.2 here, and it has particular appeal given how I expect the game to go and the records of the sides - with Chelsea having nine overall, and having kept first-half clean sheets in six of their last seven home league games.

Everton are experts at the half-time draw having been level at the break 12 times this season.

Richarlison is the main hope of an early goal, he has six goals in his last six games and four of those have come before the break. He's 12 to open the scoring and a more realistic 5.0 to bag anytime.

Goals should be at a premium here though, and while you could see either side pinching the win to scupper the draw after 90 minutes, a half-time stalemate looks well within range.





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