Two teams with similar recent runs, but different positions on the table meet on Saturday in the Premier League when Everton entertain Chelsea. All the recent talk in England, however, has been about the national team manager.
Off the pitch and there's plenty of talk about Fabio Capello’s resignation and Harry Redknapp's acquittal, and any connection between the two, but in the wide world of football there are still actual matches to be played; for instance Everton versus Chelsea.
Uninspiring runs (like the English cricket side)
Looking at the last five games in all competitions for these two sides, it’s honours equal as both have won two and drawn three, what’s more, both sides endured embarrassing draws in their last game. Everton left it late to salvage a point when they faced bottom of the table Wigan Athletic on Saturday, while Chelsea let a three goals to nothing lead slip through their fingers when they entertained Manchester United in a thrilling 3-3 game on Sunday.
If you want to bet on a draw it is offered up at 9/4 for this game, 1-1 is 5/1 and 3-3 is 80/1, although the vastly different soccer odds should tell you something about each score’s probability.
Chelsea have had the better of the recent head-to-head matches beating Everton 2-1 and 3-1 in their last two meetings, both in October last year (one in the Carling Cup and one in the Premier League). If you think history will repeat itself you can get 8/1 for a 1-2 away win or 16/1 on the game ending 3-1 in Chelsea’s favour.
The last time this fixture was played in the Premier League, in May 2011 Everton took all three points and added a little icing to the cake of disappointment that was Chelsea season with a 1-0 scoreline, a repeat of that score is available at 15/2.
Hardly sitting comfortably
As things stand in the table Everton are pretty much dead centre, one of the three teams on 30 points, with their goal difference placing then between Swansea and Stoke after 24 matches. That means Everton are 10 points away from the drop zone and similarly 10 points away from sixth place Arsenal.
Everton are 40/1 to be relegated this season and 8/15 to record a top 10 finish, the fact that they are 66/1 to record a top six finish with the sportsbooks should tell you pretty much all you need to know about their season.
It looks like it's another season of mid-table mediocrity for the Toffees while Chelsea, who are currently 13 points and 18 goals better off than Everton are sat forth in the table. Already, the Barclays Premier League 2011 – 12 has been a thoroughly disappointing season for the Blues. Things should have been so very different for the London club, with the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas, who was supposed to inject youth and vigour into the club, and mount an attack on the two Manchester clubs in the title race. However Chelsea are now 17 points off table topping Manchester City, which means Everton are actually closer to Chelsea than Chelsea are at the top of the league. Ahead of Saturday’s kick-off, Chelsea are just one point ahead of fifth-place Newcastle and three points ahead of sixth place Arsenal, a defeat at Everton, offered up at 23/10 coupled with the right results for Newcastle and Arsenal would see Chelsea end the weekend in sixth place. At time of press Chelsea are 4/7 to record a top four finish, but 200/1 to actually win the league.
All in all I think Chelsea will pull a win out of the bag, for no other reason than that their very average run can't continue indefinitely and Everton, who have only won four of their 12 games at home could be just the sort of opponents to allow the London club (who have only won three of their last 10 league games) string together a decent score and a win. Chelsea have won five and drawn five of their 12 away games this season so I feel that they are definitely due a win and after managing to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory at the weekend I expect them to offer no quarter to Everton.
Prediction: Chelsea win 3-1 available at soccer betting odds of 16/1.