Chelsea are heavy odds-on shots with the sportsbooks to continue their impressive start to the Premier League soccer season when they host Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (9.15am ET).
Last weekend’s 3-1 win at home to Crystal Palace, secured by two goals from Alvaro Morata and another from Pedro, saw Chelsea maintain their unbeaten record and stay in touch at the top of the Premier League table, two points off leaders Manchester City.
The stylistic imprint of new coach Maurizio Sarri is already obvious. Chelsea are seeing more of the ball (an average 63.2% share, up from 54.4%), taking more shots (18.4 vs. 15.9), and creating nearly three times as many of those shots from through balls as they did last season. On the other side of the ball, they are pressing higher and conceding less shots (8.7 vs. 9.9).
Sarri is renowned for his attacking, possession-based approach and his appointment was always going to represent a stark departure from the more defensively minded tactics of his predecessor and Italian compatriot Antonio Conte. What is impressive, however, is the degree to which his ideas have been assimilated and rendered effective in such short order.
One would perhaps have expected Chelsea’s attacking output to have increased, as both the headline and underlying statistics indicate they have, but not for it to have been achieved so cohesively, with only a marginally negative effect on defensive stability. Chelsea have so far looked more or less on a par with Liverpool in terms of being the second-best team in the league behind Manchester City.
The signs have also generally been positive for Everton since the summer appointment of Marco Silva. It was Sam Allardyce who steered them over the line to an eighth-place finish last time out following the early-season dismissal of Ronald Koeman. While they are currently ninth in the table, there has been improvement at both ends of the pitch.
To date, Everton have averaged just over half a goal per match more than they scored last season whilst also conceding marginally less. Those gains are more or less supported by their underlying statistics. A side who were relatively passive on both sides of the ball under Allardyce are now far more proactive under Silva. A team who were comfortably outshot last season are now the primary shot-takers in their matches.
In his spells at both Hull and Watford, Silva stood out as a coach willing to risk pushing numbers forward in order to create overloads in attack at the expense of involvement in open, back-and-forth matches with a good number of chances at both ends. That trend has continued at Everton, whose fixtures have averaged over three goals per match.
It is an approach that has worked pretty well so far. Big-money summer signing Richarlison is regularly finding the back of the net. Gylfi Sigurdsson is enjoying himself in a more attack-minded set up. Everton are very much in the running to compete with the likes of Bournemouth, Leicester City and Watford for a seventh-place finish, possibly even better depending on how Manchester United go over the next couple of months.
At this stage of the season, Chelsea and Everton are equally happy with their new coaches, both of whom have made a clear stylistic impact whilst also improving results. Opinions may, however, diverge a bit more in the run up to Christmas. While Chelsea do have a couple of tough fixtures to come, Everton have a much harder run. After facing just one of the last season’s top six in their first 11 matches, four of their next seven are against such teams.
Our Betting Preview’s Chelsea vs. Everton Predictions & Picks Verdict
Chelsea are the first of those tests and certainly have the necessary attacking quality, particularly in the form of Eden Hazard, to punish Everton’s open approach on Sunday. In a match that is likely to feature plenty of attacking play, shots and goals, Chelsea may just get a tougher game than the form book might predict.
It is no surprise that Chelsea are around 2/5 (-250) to win this match with the offshore USA sports betting sites. However as a wagering proposition that is unappealing and we advise a small investment on the longshot road team who stand a better chance of a surprise result than the odds suggest: