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John Stones out to impress his potential future boss

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This game will certainly be played with a bit of added bite this weekend, with Chelsea's very public pursuit of England defender John Stones stoking the fires between the two clubs.

Everton have actually won two of their last three at Goodison against the champions, however a 6-3 drubbing last season put an emphatic stop to that run of form. A repeat scoreline, however is unlikely.

Everton suffered a 2-0 defeat last time out but at no stage did they look like crumbling against Manchester City. In the end the league's form team had too much for them, however the Toffees can take confidence that they did not look overawed in the game and held out the City onslaught.

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Chelsea on the other hand have endured a torrid start to the season by their lofty standards, winning only one of their first four and losing to Crystal Palace two weeks ago.

Chelsea have developed a bit of a problem out wide, with Branislav Ivanovic especially having trouble against teams with good width, the likes of Bakary Sako and Jefferson Montero having field days against the Serbian enforcer this season.

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In this case Belgian maestro Kevin Mirallas will be a very unwelcome sight for Ivanovic and he will have to improve to his more recognisable levels if Chelsea are to keep a clean sheet. Similarly the centre of Chelsea's defence looks in disarray with Chelsea having already conceded over a quarter of the goals they conceded in all of last season. A stat that will excite Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, both displaying why they were regarded as two of the brightest young talents in the Premier League last year.

Chelsea however, should not be underestimated, they may not have played well in the first four games of the season but to take them lightly would be a grave mistake.

If the likes of Hazard, Pedro and Costa all fire then they should have too much for any defence in the Premier League. Missing Leighton Baines for this match is a disaster for Everton with the England left back looking the ideal candidate to shackle Pedro down Everton's right side.

Now that daunting task will be put on the shoulders of young left back Brendan Galloway if he recovers from injury in time.

This game will be in all likelihood be played at a fast pace with both sides liking to counter attack teams with pace and power both out wide and through the middle, but Chelsea actually look less of a threat than Everton at the moment.

If the home side can start on the front foot, then they could rattle the confidence of Chelsea, which after their poor performances in recent games will already be low. John Stones is in for a big game up against the combative Spaniard Diego Costa and will surely be given a thorough examination, but he will be desperate to prove why Chelsea were reportedly prepared to part with £40 million for his services. 

This will be an intriguing contest and will in all probability be a great watch as these games usually are and unlike last year I can see Everton getting a hard - fought win and condemning the champions to yet another week of soul - searching and pressure. 

Probable Line-ups:

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku

Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Hazard, Willian, Pedro, Costa

Predicted Score: 2-1

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Topics:
Everton
Football
Chelsea
Premier League

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