Chelsea host Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday once again aiming to keep their unbeaten record intact.
Maurizio Sarri’s side qualified from their Europa League group in midweek after a 1-0 victory over BATE Boris in Belarus.
The Toffees will be the fresher side having not played a midweek game; their last match being the convincing 3-1 win over a lacklustre Brighton.
Marco Silva will have two first team doubts for the fixture, with James McCarthy struggling for fitness and Leighton Baines suffering from illness, however it is probable that both players will be fit for Sunday’s 14:15 kickoff.
For the London Blues, Cesc Fabregas is the only player recovering from illness and all other players are fit, but some may be more tired than others following the European exploits.
Previous fixtures between the sides make comfortable reading for the hosts as Chelsea are unbeaten in five games against Everton, conceding only one goal and scoring 12 in that time.
Their last result however was a goalless draw at Goodison almost a year ago, and perhaps Chelsea can make amends to that this weekend.
Sk Bet favour an amendment for Chelsea pricing them at 2/5, while an away victory can be found at 6/1 and a draw at 19/5.
CHELSEA PREDICTED LINE-UP, 4-3-3
Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Marcos Alosno
Barkley, Jorginho, Kante
Willian, Morata, Hazard.
Chelsea’s line-up predicts itself most weeks, with one change in midfield (Kovacic) being the only switch ever made in an otherwise constant team.
On this occasion however, Ross Barkley is in great form and has a chance to upstage his former employers and will no doubt want to prove how far he has come.
Chelsea’s main problem area has been upfront, but Alvaro Morata has scored four goals in four games and looks to finally have a renewed sense of confidence, and the fans seem to have more confidence in the Spaniard in turn.
As for Marco Silva’s side, here’s how they might line up…
EVERTON PREDICTED LINE-UP, 4-2-3-1
Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne
Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard
With Kurt Zouma ineligible to play against his parent club, Yerry Mina is in line to make his first start for the Toffees since his summer move from Barcelona, having come off the bench last week.
Richarlison has been the danger man for the Merseyside club, but has been rash at times this season. For Everton to get a result, they may need him to keep a cool head.
I think Marco Silva may drop Walcott for this game, and move their Brazilian star to the wing in order to play a more traditional forward in Cenk Tosun, despite being in poor form.
Chelsea need to watch out for Bernard on the other flank, as he caused Manchester United a lot of trouble and should have scored, but was getting in the correct positions.
This will be a tough test for Chelsea, and I expect Everton to be challenging for a Europa League spot come the end of the season, but I think that the home advantage will just see the Blues over the line, 2-1.