Chelsea’s midweek Champions League demise leaves the FA Cup as the only possible seasonal salvation for the Blues and, with this being the case, they’ll be especially grateful for this particular draw.
Home ties are oft mooted as all-important for teams targeting a cup conquest and rarely is this not the case, but here we have an exception.
Inconsistencies at base camp have undermined what should have been an excellent campaign for Everton and their recurring problem will pave the way for Chelsea to book a semi-final spot.
A potential combatant to the Toffees’ dodgy home form is the fact that Guus Hiddink was robbed of several key men during his side’s continental collapse in their previous game.
The most notable of their absentees is talisman Diego Costa.
Since Hiddink returned to Stamford Bridge, the Spanish international’s standards shot through the roof.
Having scored four prior to the Dutchman’s arrival, Costa has notched 11 since, which contributed directly to the west Londoners winning seven points.
His loss will be sorely missed by the away team, but whether it’s Loic Remy or Bertrand Traore who fill his boots, Chelsea’s chances of perforating Everton’s leaky defence, which tends to be even more porous in front of the faithful, remain high.
Win, Lose or Draw?
The Chelsea win at 9/5 – what a way to make a living – cannot be ignored for obvious reasons.
Since Everton beat the Blues at Goodison earlier in the campaign, they’ve only been able to overcome Sunderland, Aston Villa and Newcastle in the league.
Manchester City and Dagenham and Redbridge were defeated in cup games to complete a very unimpressive quota of five home wins.
Of their previous four visitors, all those who weren’t Newcastle left with the spoils in tow, while the man responsible for Chelsea’s slaying at this venue in September – hat-trick hero Steven Naismith – is no longer at the club.
The away side haven’t lost a domestic road game under Hiddink’s temporary tenure, winning five and drawing two, while their previous pair of entertainers – Southampton and Norwich – were vanquished 2-1.
Recommended bet: Chelsea to win @ 9/5
Recent renewals have been flooded with goals.
The last four face-offs yielded a staggering 20 strikes and there’s every reason to believe a fair few will be posted this time.
Villa and Newcastle are the only top-tier visitors Everton have stopped from scoring all season, while Chelsea have drawn just two blanks home and away under their interim coach.
Between them, their six combined FA Cup games this season have yielded 21 goals.
It’s reasonable to expect at least another three coming here and the price about it occurring is surprisingly generous too.
Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 4/5
Who’s going to score?
With Everton’s most prolific Chelsea slayer shipped out to Norwich and the Blues most potent source of strikes in the sick bay, selecting a winning scorer punt isn’t easy.
For the Toffees, Ross ‘The Boss’ Barkley has two from two FA Cup outings, while Bertrand Traore is 100% in the competition in games he has featured in longer than four minutes.
Both of the Burkina Faso star’s strikes have been the last of the encounter so we’ll place faith in him doing it again.
Recommended bet: Traore to score last @ 6/1
Across the final five renewals between these two, there has been a monster eight goals registered after the 75th minute.
Six similarly-timed strikes have fallen across Chelsea’s last half-dozen domestic games, while there has been five in Everton’s previous three.
Recommended bet: Over 0.5 goals between 75:01 and Full Time @ 21/20