Everton vs ChelseaEnglish Premier League, KO: 12:30 Dec 7, 2019, Goodison Park
EVERTON were taunted with chants of “going down” as they crashed to Merseyside derby defeat and now face another daunting game as Chelsea come calling.
Even with Jurgen Klopp resting star men Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool blew their city rivals apart on Wednesday night in a 5-2 thrashing at Anfield.
With Southampton winning at home to Norwich, the Toffees dropped into the relegation places, with gaffer Marco Silva paying for the latest capitulation when he was sacked by the club on Thursday night.
It would have been a huge surprise had he remained in charge for the visit of Chelsea and the board certainly can't be accused of failing to back him in the transfer market.
In the past five years the Goodison club have spent a whopping £450million on players, the fourth biggest outlay in a Premier League where spending has become obscene.
Having recruited from clubs such as Barcelona and Juventus, owner Farhad Moshiri is within his rights to expect to see Everton competing for a Champions League slot. So there was no way Silva could survive with his expensively-assembled squad in the midst of a relegation battle.
Duncan Ferguson has taken charge on a caretaker basis until the Toffees find a new man and it would take a brave man in the Everton dressing room not to give 100 per cent on the terrifying Scot's watch.
However, even with Big Dunc in the dugout, it's hard to see a Toffees revival starting against a Chelsea side who ended their mini-slump with a midweek win over Aston Villa.
Having gone three games without a win, it looked like Frank Lampard's vibrant young side had hit a dip but they were close to their best once more against Villa.
How the bookies view it
Chelsea are unsurprisingly favourites with the Toffees in such dismal form. Lampard's side are evens with most firms but are available at 53/50 with Marathonbet.
After Silva's sacking Everton are a best 13/5 with BetVictor and some punters might fancy a punt at that price, although the odds could now fall after Silva's sacking. The draw is 72/25 with Marathonbet and that's worth considering at those odds.
Thriller or chiller?
Right at the start of the season, I claimed backing both teams to score in Chelsea games would be a profitable venture and that's how things have panned out. It has come up 16 times, most recently against Villa in midweek, an outcome predicted by our man Slips Tips.
I can see a repeat here, especially with Everton only drawing a blank once in their last eight games and shipping so many goals in defence.
Even though two of the last three games between these sides didn't see a goal, I would be surprised if there was a repeat here. Over 2.5 goals is 3/4 with Marathonbet, which offers value as it has come up in Chelsea's last seven away games in the Premier League. If you want longer odds then over 3.5 strikes is 7/4 with most firms.
Recent head to head
Everton's record against Chelsea has been good in the last few seasons and they are unbeaten in three games against the Blues.
Last season, it ended 2-0 to the Toffees at Goodison, with Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson on target (below) and the two games before that ended in 0-0 stalemates. But Chelsea won the four games prior to that, with an aggregate score of 12-1.
Everton will be praying skipper Seamus Coleman is fit to return after Djibril Sidibe and was ripped apart in the Merseyside derby and hooked after just 35 minutes.
But they still have a long-term absentee in Andre Gomes, while Fabian Delph, Cuco Martina and Jean-Philippe Gbamin remain injured.
Tammy Abraham made a scoring return from injury in midweek and should be fit to start again here, despite going off with a knock. But Willian could miss out after injury forced him off against Villa.
Ross Barkley and Antonio Rudiger are in contention for returns, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek the only long-term injury absentee for Lampard.
Expect both sides to make a few changes from their midweek line-ups during a heavy December schedule.
Players to watch
Jorginho should be restored to Chelsea's midfield after being rested in midweek and is always worth a shout in the anytime scorer market as a designated penalty taker.
Richarlison's form has been one of the few positives for Everton in their woeful run of form. The Brazilian has four goals from his last six games so looks good value at 13/5 with Unibet for another here. He has also been boosted to 8/1 with William Hill to break the deadlock.
For a bonkers bet, BetVictor are offering a whopping 250/1 on Richarlison scoring a header and a goal from outside the box which might be worth a festive quid.
Anything else catch the eye?
Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta has two bookings from his last four games and looks a bit overpriced for a card here at 9/2 with BetVictor. He could be up against Richarlison, who was involved in a few flashpoints against Liverpool and also picked up a booking.
The Brazilian is cutting a frustrated figure at the moment and might pick up another card here at 18/5 with BetVictor.
This English Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea will be played on Dec 7, 2019 and kick off at 12:30