Season So Far
Everton’s first three Premier League games have seen the spoils shared on each occasion. The sense of optimism emanating from Goodison Park after new England cap Ross Barkley’s sparkling opening day performance at Norwich has dissipated somewhat following successive stalemates against West Brom and Cardiff.
Transfer deadline day signings James McCarthy and Gareth Barry could make their Toffees debuts against Chelsea next time out, but on-loan forward Romelu Lukaku will not face his parent club as the terms of his temporary move make him ineligible to play.
Everton have a good recent record at home to the west Londoners, winning two of the last three renewals on Merseyside, but with Chelsea also unbeaten and looking imperious, Roberto Martinez may have to wait a few weeks for his first league win at the club. A fourth draw of the campaign at 23/10 looks a decent bet.
Lukaku – who scored 17 times in the league when on-loan at West Brom last term – cannot be available to Martinez soon enough as his strikers are yet to register a goal between them in this campaign, with Nikica Jelavic continuing his poor form from last season and Arouna Kone awaiting his chance on the bench.
Chelsea will be the first team Everton face this season that finished above them in 2012/13 and that should motivate their languid goal-getters to do their jobs properly. A repeat of the 2-2 scoreline in the season opener at Carrow Road is priced up at 12/1.
The Blues have had four scorers claim a goal apiece so far this season, when the 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Stevenage is included and one of those players, Marouane Fellaini, is no longer at the club.
Barkley looked dangerous during his half-hour cameo for England against Moldova, flashing a shot inches wide and linking up well with Rickie Lambert and Steven Gerrard. He could be value in the ‘to score at any time’ market against Mourinho’s men, having already bagged a Premier League goal at Norwich.
Other Notable Trends
David Moyes failed in each of his six attempts to beat Chelsea during Jose Mourinho’s first spell at the club. Martinez’s Wigan won their first Premier League game against the Stamford Bridge side under his watch 3-1, but lost six and drew one of the subsequent seven meetings.