Chelsea vs Everton – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 18th March 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we examine Everton’s visit to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have won three games in a row for the first time since October – have they turned the corner? Read on with our Chelsea vs Everton prediction.
Chelsea vs Everton Match Preview
Chelsea come into this game in better form. Indeed, after a dreadful run of results, the Blues have won their last three competitive games against Leeds, Dortmund and Leicester. The victory at the weekend against the East Midlands side was fortunate: Leicester had an xG of 2.51 to 1.64 and 17 shots to 12. This has been a familiar story for the Foxes and was a role reversal for Chelsea as the London club have so often found themselves in a similar position – dominating games but being unable to convert their chances.
At home, Chelsea have been average in the league this season, with six wins, three draws and three defeats in their twelve games. However, no team has conceded fewer goals than them at home (8). Their issue has been scoring, registering only 14 (22 goals scored for both sides across their 12 league games is low). However, Chelsea are undefeated in their previous 29 home matches against Everton in all competitions. Therefore, they will feel confident about continuing their mini-revival. With 37 points from 26 games, Europe looks out of reach, but they are still in the Champions League this season, with a two-legged quarter-final tie against Real Madrid approaching.
Everton travel south on a slight resurgence under Sean Dyche. Indeed, since he was appointed, Everton have won three and drawn four of their seven Premier League games. These ten points could go a long way to staving off relegation. It looked like results had stalled as they were on a three-game winless run, but a surprising 1-0 defeat of Brentford last weekend was the perfect tonic. McNeil’s first-minute goal proved crucial, but the Bees had 67 per cent possession and xG of 2.23 to 1.09, so it was a classic counter-attack performance by the Merseysiders.
If Everton are to stay up, they will likely have to rely on their home form: they haven’t won in their previous nine away league games, and their only away win all season was at fellow strugglers Southampton in October. They are one of only four sides to win only once on the road this season. Accumulating only eight points away from home, Everton are also the joint-lowest scorers in the division (alongside Wolves and Southampton). In 15th and with a mere five points separating the bottom nine, Everton must fight for Premier League survival.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Mendy, James, Aubameyang, Kante
Will Not Play: Azpilicueta, Silva, Mount, Broja, Sterling
Might Not Play: Patterson, Calvert-Lewin
Will Not Play: Townsend
Chelsea vs Everton Lineups (Predicted)
Chelsea (3-4-3): Arrizabalaga; Cucurella, Fofana, Koulibaly; Chilwell, Kovacic, Fernandez, James; Mudryk Havertz, Felix
Everton (4-5-1 / 4-3-3): Pickford; Godfrey, Tarkowski, Keane, Coleman; McNeil, Onana, Gueye, Doucoure, Iwobi; Gray
Chelsea vs Everton Analysis
Chelsea Might Be Improving And Must Control The Game
This season, Chelsea have averaged 59 per cent possession in the league and had 306 shots. They have been creating chances recently, but their xG could have been more impressive in their three recent wins. Therefore, accounting for the weaknesses of the xG metric, the jury is out on whether Chelsea are actually improving or if the ball is running more for them. ‘Luck’ is a nebulous concept in life as well as football. However, Chelsea were dominating games and not winning them earlier in the season, and now that tide has turned a little.
Still, we are wary of proclaiming their fortunes changed based on a small sample size of three games. A convincing home win over a relegation candidate would prove that Chelsea can win the games they are expected to. Chelsea need Fernandez and Kovacic to control the game in midfield. Chilwell and James (an injury doubt) will bomb up and down the pitch from wing-back. They’ll try to create chances and provide overloads for the Chelsea wingers (Mudryk, Felix or Ziyech likely). The wingers must try to dribble in behind Coleman and Godfrey and generate opportunities. They must find little pockets of space in the box to shoot or create chances for Havertz.
The game’s flow will likely be Chelsea mainly dominating and controlling possession while looking to break down an obdurate Everton defence. How can Everton soak up this pressure and counter?
Everton Will Play A Low Block And Counter
Again, Everton will probably play in a stubborn low block and look to resist Chelsea, then hit them on transitions. Therefore, Tarkowski and Coady must not allow spaces in the box for the Chelsea forwards. The full-backs, too, must try to show the wingers down the line and prevent them from coming inside. Havertz in the middle is tall, and has shown some improvement in the air (he is generally more of an elegant technical ground player), so Everton must not allow balls to be delivered into the box.
Everton will likely pack the midfield with five men. Dyche likes his wingers to have a defensive work rate, which is why he has been playing the more industrious Iwobi and McNeil (plus, he doesn’t really have anyone else). Both will help their full-backs. However, the midfield three can try to win the ball. Doucoure and Onana can break to offer some assistance in the attack if they do. McNeil’s crossing is good, and the two breaking midfielders are tall and decent in the air, so deliveries into the box and set pieces might be an area where Everton can hurt Chelsea.
The Everton midfielders can also quickly feed the wingers, who can burst forward against an exposed Chelsea backline. Gray is a tricky wide player playing central for Everton and is the one footballer in their squad who can create something from nothing. This commodity is priceless in a team as lacking creativity as Everton are.
Above all, defence is critical. Everton must not allow any spaces or gaps to appear between the lines where tricky players such as Felix can create a moment of magic. Mudryk’s pace might be rendered ineffective given Everton’s low block, so he will probably have to be cuter and more unpredictable.
Chelsea have experienced a torrid season where they have only won ten of their 26 league games and been eliminated in both domestic cups by Man City at the first hurdle. Therefore, unless they can go all the way in this season’s Champions League, it appears improbable that they will play in the competition next season. They might be tempted to put all their eggs in the European basket. Unfortunately for Everton, Europe only resumes in three weeks. With this being the final matchday before the international break, under-pressure Chelsea coach Graham Potter will look to go into it with a positive result.
The tactical setup might suit Everton. They can come to Stamford Bridge, allow Chelsea to dominate, and try to hit them on the break. However, Everton have scored only 20 goals this season, with only eight away. If Chelsea score first, you can imagine it is curtains for Everton, as they’d have to gamble more and risk being torn apart on the counter. Allied to Chelsea’s insanely good home record against them, it is tricky to foresee the Merseysiders getting anything here. This fixture has also been lacking goals over the last ten games, with eight of those games having fewer than three goals registered. Resultantly, we will predict a low-scoring, but comfortable Chelsea win. They should be more confident now.
Chelsea 2-0 Everton
Chelsea vs Everton Betting Tip – Chelsea Odds:
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