With Diego Costa having picked up hamstring injury in training, Jose Mourinho could some reinforcements in attack. So when Everton line up against his side on Saturday with two strikers who as little as a month ago were Chelsea’s property, you can understand if he’s feeling aggrieved. It is, however, self-inflicted. Mourinho hardly made Samuel Eto’o and Romelu Lukaku, both now on permanent deals at Everton, feel loved. Eto’o’s age was bizarrely questioned and the Portuguese didn’t have enough faith in either player to deter him from bringing in Costa as his main man. Both will be keen to send a message the way of their former boss and the Goodison faithful will be lapping it up.
Chelsea will be confident even in Costa’s absence. They have made a strong start to the season, albeit against newly-promoted opposition, as they swatted Burnley aside with a dazzling first half display before winning away at Leicester. Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba are waiting in the wings if Costa is indeed unable to feature, although the former’s potential move to AC Milan may have to be put on hold. Mourinho may even dip his hand back into the transfer market.
Chelsea’s opposition will be tougher on Saturday but Everton have had a stuttering start to the season with defensive frailties undoing positive attacking work against both Leicester and Arsenal. In the last 10 minutes against the Gunners, Everton completely switched off, which suggests they aren’t where they need to be in terms of match fitness.
Roberto Martínez endured three draws at the start of last season and only a win would represent an improvement as his side look to avoid having to play catch-up in the race for the top four. For Chelsea, coming away from Goodison with three points to continue their 100% record would be an ominous statement and would cement the idea that they have joined Manchester City as title favourites.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.30pm
Chelsea 1 (Lampard) Everton 0, Premier League, February 2014
Everton 1 (Naismith) Chelsea 0, Premier League, September 2013
Chelsea 2 (Mata, Torres) Everton 1 (Naismith), Premier League, May 2013
Everton have won 4 (L1 D1) of their last six home league games against Chelsea
Steven Naismith has scored twice in his last three appearances against Chelsea and in each Premier League game this season
Jose Mourinho has never lost to Everton as a manager
Diego Costa has scored 4 goals in his last 3 games for Chelsea, including pre-season
Everton to win: 4.1
Chelsea to win: 2.1
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