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Chelsea must avoid Arsenal’s error and play Willian at Everton

| 29.08.2014

Although they have only picked up two points from their first Premier League games this season, the signs are there that Everton are in the fight for a top-four spot again.

The Toffees were pegged back late on by both Leicester City and Arsenal, who grabbed two late goals to steal a 2-2 draw after largely being outplayed by Roberto Martinez’s side.

Chelsea are the next team to head to Goodison Park, where they lost 1-0 last season, and if the Blues are to maintain their 100 per cent record they need to learn from the mistakes made by title rivals Arsenal.

Jose Mourinho’s side are 23/20 to win the game, with Everton priced at 5/2 and the draw 12/5.

Arsene Wenger opted to play Alexis Sanchez as his striker at Goodison Park, a reasonable enough decision but one that ended up pushing Mesut Ozil into a wide position to catastrophic effect.

The German is a luxury player in every sense of the word, and his lack of defensive workrate allowed Everton to run riot in the space left behind him, most notably when he abstained from tracking Seamus Coleman for the opening goal.

Ozil made no tackles, no interceptions, no blocks and no clearances in the game. Defensive work simply isn’t his bag, and Arsenal paid the price.

So far this season Mourinho has opted to use Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Oscar as his attacking midfielders behind Diego Costa.

Oscar is one of the most hard-working attackers you will find, but Hazard almost never pitches in defensively and although Schurrle is more diligent, Mourinho must sacrifice him for Willian to ensure the brilliant Belgian’s laissez-faire approach doesn’t harm the Blues.

The Brazilian has all the flair of a playmaker, but combines it with a work ethic that would have him up for employee of the month in an anthill.

Add in the fact that Chelsea also have a proper defensive midfielder in Nemanja Matic, and they look far better set to deal with Everton’s attack than the Gunners.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune