Chelsea have had a topsy-turvy start to life as defending champions. They were humbled by Burnley on the opening day. But then bounced back with a win at Tottenham Hotspur.
Punters could be forgiven for asking the real Chelsea to stand up when they take on Everton at home in front of the television cameras on Sunday. But, in truth, they may already have seen the genuine article.
If one was to look at the result against Spurs, one might say that it was a typically disciplined Chelsea performance against a team who bottle the big games. And Antonio Conte’s men surely adapted their style to make Tottenham feel uncomfortable at their new home.
But it wasn’t actually like that. Chelsea were extremely lucky. Tottenham twice hit the post and were all over the Blues. They did everything but notch another goal.
So, despite the three points, it is fair to say that Chelsea are out of sorts. And not at full strength. Gary Cahill remains banned after his red card against Burnley while Eden Hazard, the fulcrum, is injured.
And that means we will look to take them on against Ronald Koeman’s team. Chelsea are no better than -214 with Unibet. Everton are +750 (Bet365) while the stalemate is +360 (Bwin).
Everton have strengthened over the summer, splashing the cash. Wayne Rooney seems to be rejuvenated while the long, drawn out pursuit of Gylfi Sigurdsson has now been completed. He could well be the missing piece in the jigsaw which sees the Merseyside club mount a genuine challenge for a top-four spot.
And last time out in the league they looked the business. They held Manchester City at home, the highlight of an impressive start to the campaign which has seen them undefeated in five. It is possible that they have benefitted hugely by playing in the Europa League, allowing their new signings to settle without too much pressure.
The City point is a huge pointer for punters. Everton sides of old would roll over at the big clubs – as an example they haven’t won at Chelsea for 23 years - but their impressive shape and discipline suggests they are close to the real deal. So we are happy to take Everton +1 on the Asian handicap with BetVictor, who offer +123 odds.
Other prices of note include Rooney, who is making those late runs into the box again, at +370 with Unibet to score at any time. He has two goals so far. Sigurdsson is +550 With Bet365.