Everton vs Chelsea preview, betting tips and prediction: Big Sam to suffer first Toffees defeat

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Chelsea travel to Everton for a crucial Premier League clash on Saturday; the Blues have often struggled at Goodison Park and will meet a team brimming with confidence having remained unbeaten since Sam Allardyce took charge. Relegation fears are a thing of the past and they are looking up the table. Chelsea, too, are in decent form despite a recent loss at West Ham, as they look to keep the pressure on Manchester United in second place.

Wayne Rooney will be looking to his five goals in six games, as he continues to prove doubters wrong in an Everton shirt. This one is certainly a tough one to call, especially because they will set up in a similar fashion tactically. There won’t be much space at either end and it could be a crucial game for the likes of Eden Hazard. It doesn’t have the makings of a classic, but it could come down to the odd gosl. The Blues may have to battle for the points, but we are backing them to get the win with a big performance, ending the Allardyce unbeaten streak.

Form

Just a matter of weeks ago, Everton looked in serious trouble. They lost 4-1 at Southampton, a side who struggle to score goals usually, and David Unsworth, the caretaker boss, looked devoid of ideas. But in the five games since Allardyce arrived, the new boss has reinvigorated an ageing, slow defence and given the likes of Wayne Rooney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin their confidence going forward. The pair, and record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, netted in the 3-1 win over bottom club Swansea at Goodison on Monday night, and they will be a huge threat.

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Chelsea, meanwhile, have been winning games ugly recently. Eden Hazard is not in the best shape at the moment, having not scored since bagging a brace against Newcastle at the start of the month, and Alvaro Morata has barely featured since then either because of injury. As a result, the Blues have been relying on goals from elsewhere, but both Pedro and particularly Willian have stepped up in recent weeks. A Marcos Alonso penalty was enough to get past Southampton last time out; Chelsea can go level on points with Manchester United in second if they can get the win here.

Team News

Phil Jagielka is a doubt for Everton, as is Leighton Baines, but they shouldn’t have too many other issues with selection. Allardyce may give teenager Tom Davies a start after a few good cameo appearances from the bench.

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For Chelsea, Alvaro Morata may start but is still struggling and may only make the bench. Eden Hazard will likely play up front if that is the case. David Luiz is still out with a knee problem, though Conte has said he doesn’t know if he can usurp Andreas Christensen at the back when he finally returns.

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