Graham Potter’s much-improved Chelsea side host Everton in the evening match of this Saturday’s Premier League action, with the managers of both sides desperate for three points to build on and maintain their recent uptick in form.
The ex-Brighton manager’s struggles since becoming the new Blues manager back in September have been well documented, with the Potter failing to make his mark in the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
Before their nervy 1-0 win over Leeds on the 4th of March, Chelsea had failed to pick up a single win in the prior seven weeks. But their form has somewhat improved since that win over the Whites, picking up wins against both Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and a 3-1 league win over Leicester just last weekend. Can they carry on this recent upshot in form against Everton this Saturday?
The Toffees’ struggles this season have also been well-documented, having teetered around the relegation places for most of the season, having struggled for form. They have spent ten of 27 matchdays within the relegation zone, and have spent eight matchdays just outside the relegation zone in either 16th or 17th place. However, they have somewhat stabilised under the management of Sean Dyche, picking up crucial wins against Arsenal, Leeds and most recently Brentford. Can Dyche keep his men on track and beat Chelsea this weekend to bring Everton a step closer to Premier League safety?
It has been a season to forget for Chelsea, with the Blues exiting both domestic cup competitions at the third-round stage and look set for a finish at the lower end of the top half of the Premier League table.
Indeed, Chelsea have been stuck in 10th place since Gameweek 18. Their only hope of some silverware to salvage a largely forgettable season is the Champions League, with the Blues currently at the quarter-finals stage. But despite their dire form in recent weeks, the Blues do seem to have somewhat turned a corner recently, picking up three consecutive wins in their last three matches after losing three matches prior.
After successive 1-0 losses to Borussia Dortmund and Southampton, and a 2-0 loss at Tottenham, the Blues then picked up two crucial, confidence-boosting Premier League wins against Leeds and Leicester. And perhaps summing up their seeming change recently was their 2-0 win over Dortmund in the Champions League, showing spirit and resilience to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first-leg.
Now, Graham Potter isn’t completely out of the woods yet, with Chelsea still having to face seven of the sides currently above them in the top half of the table over the next few weeks. But their promising recent performances stand them in good stead going into the final few weeks of the season, and going into this match.
Like their opponents, Everton have struggled for a majority of the season. The Toffees have picked up just six league wins and have lost 14 – form that has consigned them to the bottom half of the table all season. The highest position that they have managed to achieve this season is 11th place after matchday nine, securing the spot back in early October after going unbeaten in six matches (4 draws and 2 wins). The Toffees would go on to lose 12 of their next 19 league matches afterwards, eventually costing Frank Lampard his job.
Sean Dyche’s appointment seems to have stabilised the Toffees, leading them to a shock win against league leaders Arsenal, and also picking up key wins against Leeds and Brentford. It means that Dyche’s record now reads three wins, 3 losses, and one draw in the seven matches he has taken charge of.
Last week’s surprise win over top-half Brentford has now bumped Everton up to 15th place, a welcome fact considering that they have spent eight of the previous ten matchdays in the relegation zone and haven’t touched 15th place since October. If Everton can build on the improvements they have made and grind out some results over the coming weeks, then they can still secure their top-flight status. But this weekend’s clash with the improving Chelsea will be a tough test, and Dyche will need his men at their best to secure another important result in their fight for survival.
This is ultimately a clash between two clubs who have struggled for the majority of this season, and have also seen their respective managers struggle as well. Both sides seem to have improved as of late, but we are predicting Chelsea to emerge victorious from this one.
Despite Everton’s spirited performances under Dyche, Chelsea’s squad is far superior in terms of player quality and we can see them carrying on their recent good form to pick up what would be their fourth consecutive win. Also working in Chelsea’s favour is their opponent’s horrid record at Stamford Bridge, with the last time that Everton won there in any competition coming in the FA Cup back in 2011, and their last league win there coming back in 1994.
Graham Potter’s men are priced at 4/9 odds to emerge as the winners from this game, with the Toffees being priced at 7/1 odds.
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