Everton Vs Chelsea, Spurs Vs Liverpool
Everton host Chelsea on Saturday in the first of two high-profile matches this weekend, the second being Liverpool’s trip to London this Sunday to take on league leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
Of course this means that The Reds play a second successive tough away fixture against a team widely expected to be among the league’s frontrunners. Chelsea, meanwhile will hope for victory in the blue half of Merseyside to affirm their title-challenging credentials.
Most would have expected the Manchester United / Burnley match to be a relative no-brainer, but given United’s struggles of late – and particularly their Capital One Cup humiliation against third-tier MK Dons – this is a match that should draw significant attention.
Elsewhere, Arsenal travel to Leicester to take on The Foxes who gained a credible 2-2 draw against Everton on the opening day of the season, so this is another fixture that’s hardly cut and dried.
Everton Vs Chelsea
Everton have thus far had a rather indifferent start to their bid for a European berth as they’ve recorded two draws from their opening two matches. In the first of these, they would have expected to win away at Leicester and indeed were headed toward victory, but for a late Chris Wood strike that robbed them of two points.
Similarly, Arsenal came from 2-0 down at half time to snatch a draw at Goodison Park last Saturday, thanks to two very late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. As a result, Everton will not be riding a wave of confidence going head to head with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
On the other hand, this will be Chelsea’s first stern examination of the current campaign, as they’ve swept aside Burnley and Leicester in their opening two matches. These are teams Chelsea would have been expected to dominate, and though they have done, we should not take anything away from Chelsea’s performances in those matches.
Diego Costa is looking good value for the £32million Chelsea paid for him, while Cesc Fabregas is a veritable bargain at £30million having assisted with three of his team’s five goals scored so far.
Prediction: 2-0 to Chelsea. Everton, under Roberto Martinez, have been great to watch, but I can’t help but feel that Chelsea’s sparkling new attack and sure-footed rearguard will prove too much for the Toffees this time around. Everton may also have suffered a knock in confidence having taken only two points from their first two games – both of which could easily have been won.
Burnley Vs Manchester United
I’ve had my fingers burnt after predicting a win for Manchester United against Sunderland last weekend, so I am loath to put my neck on the line for them a second time around – even more so following the aforementioned 4-0 drubbing at the hands of a team two divisions lower than them.
Having that said, I have considerably more faith in Louis Van Gaal as Manchester United manager than I ever had in David Moyes. The Dutchman has the pedigree required to steer a team like United, having won several league championships and a string of European honours. However, I read an interesting comment this week stating that he’d only managed established teams in leagues with little competition for the traditional fraternity, namely Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
But on matters concerning Tuesday night, Manchester United fielded six full international players against the team from Milton Keynes, and were still outplayed. Jonny Evans’s unforgettable and unforgivable error that led to the first goal suggests that players’ hearts may no longer be in it at the club – and heart is something much harder for a manager to instil in his players than any set of tactics.
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