Thereâ€™s nothing like a little righteous indignation to provide some motivation and after Rodwellâ€™s farcical sending off ruined a Merseyside Derby which the Blues were edging at the time.
David Moyesâ€™ motivational speech should pretty much write itself this weekend. Although the three points are gone the card at least has been rescinded, allowing the midfielder to travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend. A ground which Everton have found less intimidating than many others in recent seasons.
Last season Moyesâ€™ side edged their meetings with two wins (if you count winning a penalty shoot-out, which we are) and two draws in all competitions. They have lost only once in their last five trips to Fulham Road and, despite suffering two consecutive 2-0 defeats, are in good form going in to this game. Chelsea on the other hand, despite some impressive looking score-lines, are still very much a work in progress under Andre Villas-Boas and have shown real signs of inconsistency.
Spurred by the injustice they suffered at the hands of the card-happy Atkinson, Everton wonâ€™t be sitting back and trying to grind out a draw here. Ironically Jack Rodwell, now cleared to play, is struggling to be fit for this game after injury kept him out of Englandâ€™s U21 game but other than him and the more long-term absence of Anichebe, Moyes has a fully fit squad to choose from. Of them the fragile Louis Saha is the one heâ€™ll most want in the starting line-up. The Frenchman has scored five goals in his last five appearances against Chelsea often getting better of John Terry and at 10/1 to score first and 3/1 to score anytime, if he starts then you have to back him to score. Tim Cahill is the other obvious choice in the goalscoring markets. He was causing plenty of problems for Liverpool, particularly prior to Rodwellâ€™s red, and he should now be fully up to speed after his recent injury. The Aussie is 11/1 to score first and 7/2 to score anytime.
Though Chelseaâ€™s backline have looked shaky at times, up front theyâ€™ve shown signs of really clicking. Fernando Torres is starting to look something like being back to his best. Frank Lampard is on a mission to prove heâ€™s still relevant. Sturridge and Drogba are linking up well and Juan Mata has settled in quicker than expected. So Everton will need to work hard to close down in midfield and really keep their concentration at the back.
It would be nice to predict a 3-0 win for Everton at 250/1 (almost worth a small bet just in case) but the reality is that there looks to be goals for both sides in this game. A 2-2 draw at 18/1 wouldnâ€™t surprise but then neither would an Everton 2-1 win at 25/1. The draw looks to be a sensible bet at 15/4 but as we saw with Atkinsonâ€™s officiating, sensible doesnâ€™t always come into it out on the green stuff. Everton are a tasty 9/1 to win at Stamford Bridge and as long as they can keep all eleven men out on the pitch, it wonâ€™t be as long a shot as that price suggests.
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