Chelsea is not off to the start they’d hoped for to their latest defense of a Premier League title, but they have a chance to start getting their season rolling with a win over Everton on Sunday that could put them back in the top four.
Chelsea’s season got off to a rough start as a sloppy performance against Burnley saw them ship three first-half goals and then come short in the second half as they chased a comeback. They bounced back with a win over Tottenham but nearly threw away two points in a poor second-half performance in that clash at Wembley Stadium. They need an authoritatively strong performance to start showing the rest of the league that they’re going to be a title contender again, and right now they’re not guaranteed to do that in any way.
Everton has started well, with a win over Stoke and a draw to Manchester City, but thanks to a Europa League qualification tie they’re stretched a little thin at the moment, looking fatigued and dealing with numerous injuries. They’re a stronger team this season, but they lack the depth to deal with such issues, especially against a club like Chelsea. This is going to be a long and difficult match, and probably not a pleasant one for Everton fans.
Everton will be without several key players, including Ross Barkley, Davy Klassen, James McCarthy, Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie, and Seamus Coleman all being out injured, plus Morgan Schneiderlin sitting with a red card suspension. Worse, Sandro Ramirez and Idrissa Gueye are facing late fitness tests, and won’t be at full effectiveness even if they can play. For Chelsea, only Eden Hazard is in doubt as he continues to work his way back to fitness after a summer ankle injury, though Gary Cahill is still out suspended after his red card n the season opener.