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Chelsea v Everton: In-form hosts ready to ruin Lukaku’s return

| 05.11.2016

Whisper it quietly, but after a September slump, Chelsea are arguably the Premier League’s in-form side and the Blues look well poised to maintain their place in the title chase when Everton visit Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Conte’s charges responded to a winless September by winning all four Premier League ties in October.

Factor in their perfect August, and the Blues are seven from seven in matches outside of the seemingly-jinxed September.

That doesn’t bode well for Everton then, who must try and defeat a side which hasn’t conceded in 360 minutes of football.

Chelsea may have come unstuck to the Toffees last term, but the 11/20 odds for a home win suggest that trend won’t be continuing.

Ronald Koeman’s charges, though they sit in an impressive sixth place, actually head to the capital with just one win in five games, and that was against defensively vulnerable West Ham.

That run, coupled with the fact Everton hasn’t won in west London since 1994, goes a long way to explaining their 11/2 odds for victory.

The hosts may have won their last four games to nil, and even though they’ve conceded just three goals at home this term, it will be a surprise if Thibaut Courtous keeps another clean sheet here.

A whopping 13 of the last 19 meetings between these sides in all competitions have seen both teams find the net, and 8/11 suggests they’ll do so again.

Chelsea’s revival has coincided with Diego Costa getting back among the goals.

The fiery Spaniard leads this season’s goal chart with eight strikes, so it’s no surprise he tops the first goalscorer betting at 3/1, with 5/6 saying he tucks one beyond the Everton defence anytime.

Eden Hazard is another man replicating his scintillating form of two seasons ago, and the Belgian wizard is 9/2 to score first and 7/5 at any point on Saturday evening.

But in Romelu Lukaku, Everton will always have a chance.

Hazard’s international team-mate stole the show when these sides met in the FA Cup semi-finals last season, and at 7/1, plenty will be fancying the powerhouse striker to make a statement in front of his former employers with the first goal.

With Kevin Mirallas and Michy Batshuayi also in contention, we’re 2/5 the game sees any Belgian player score.

Even if Lukaku comes back to haunt his old club however,  Chelsea’s current run of form and Everton’s woeful Stamford Bridge history suggests Conte’s men should be making it five wins on the spin this weekend.

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.