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Of course, the irony of Chelsea winning at Anfield is that would normally be seen as an historic win is now run of the mill result that everyone seems to be getting bar Liverpool themselves. That doesn’t take away from the performance, nor the direction the club is clearly headed under the stewardship of Thomas Tuchel.
Just to reconfirm the equation – a man who has managed in the latter stages of the Champions League, been over some of the world’s best footballers and who has won consecutive league titles is a better appointment than a frat boy who got this just based solely on his playing career. Got it? Terrific.
Both sides come into this game on a serious run of form, with neither side having tasted a defeat in a combined 11 games. And perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Everton’s run is that they’ve notched three consecutive clean sheets, leading you to think they’ve turned a corner.
The issue there is that Chelsea have kept seven clean sheets in their last nine. So, you’d imagine we’re going a scoreless draw, yes? You would be entirely wrong, my friends. Here’s your three best bets ahead of this cracker.
Monday 18:00 – Chelsea v Everton
BT Sport 1
The worrying element about Chelsea is that there does tend to be a creeping desire to be happy with a point if a win is too hard-fought in their minds. They should be beating that Man United team, especially if they have the designs about being City’s only viable contender for next year.
And I think that will hit home now. Maybe the Liverpool victory is put in good context and they can grow from it – but I always believe playing Everton is a terrific fixture to have when you want to convince yourself of your own legitimacy.
They’re good on paper and in practice, but there’s this soft underbelly that they possess which always stops them from being at the top table. Chelsea will take advantage.
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My reasoning for this is based around the idea that Chelsea are due that defining win where everything comes together. So far, we’ve seen them be calm in possession and controlling the time on the clock. We’ve also seen them put together swift attacking passages.
But, we’ve yet to see that combine to produce goals. Everton are the dream match-up because they’re not reserved enough to block every pocket of space for Chelsea’s front three and they’re not outgoing enough to commit four or five forward on the break. It all feels like this could be the one that sends Chelsea into people’s minds as the second-best team in England.
The Blues have had glimpses of brilliance from all of their attacking players now, but the one I was most excited about when they signed him was Hakim Ziyech. You can see how talented he is with his footwork, but he’s yet to have his, as I call it, ‘Premier League Years moment’ – that instance where everyone references him for a special goal he’s scored.
Given he’ll likely line up facing an overly-adventurous Lucas Digne, this could be the time where he’ll most space to work in.
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