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Chelsea have won three games on the bounce in all competitions under Graham Potter
Everton are still involved in the Premier League relegation battle despite recent win
Chelsea should triumph in front of their own fans at Stamford Bridge this weekend
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Back Chelsea to win to nil on Saturday. Graham Potter’s side have some momentum behind them and they should prove too strong for Everton at Stamford Bridge.
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For the first time since October, Chelsea have won three games in a row. Last
Saturday’s 3-1 triumph over Leicester City built on victories in previous days over Leeds United (1-0) and Borussia Dortmund (2-0). Graham Potter has bought himself a bit of breathing space after a horrendous run of results before that.
This has still been a disappointing campaign for Chelsea. They are out of the FA Cup and were eliminated from the EFL Cup in the third round.
In the Premier League, they are 11 points adrift of the top four and a whole 29 points behind Arsenal in top spot. Despite the Leeds and Leicester wins, Chelsea are still a lowly 10th in the standings.
In truth, the Champions League is the only thing they have left to play for. The 2-0 triumph over Dortmund earned Chelsea a 2-1 aggregate victory, sending them through to the quarter-finals. Their performance in that match was excellent, and the three-game winning streak has potentially saved Potter from the sack.
Whether he is the right man for the job in the long term remains to be seen, but the Chelsea hierarchy has made it clear that it still believes in Potter.
The former Brighton & Hove Albion head coach is demonstrably a talented coach, but there are doubts over whether he has a sufficiently big enough personality to manage a club of Chelsea’s size. Still, a recent switch to a three-man backline has helped.
"It's been a really good week. Three wins,” Potter said at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
“A determined performance against Leeds and then a great one against Dortmund and to back it up today is really good from the players because it's not easy to do that in the Premier League, so I'm delighted for them. I'm delighted for the supporters, they were fantastic.”
Everton boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation to the Championship at the weekend, as they ran out 1-0 winners over Brentford thanks to Dwight McNeil’s goal within seconds of kick-off. Sean Dyche’s side are up to 15th, although they are only one point above the drop zone.
Everton’s results under their current manager, who replaced Frank Lampard at the helm at the end of January, have followed a familiar pattern. Since then, the Toffees have won three out of four games at home, but have taken just one point from a possible nine at opposition stadiums.
Only Leeds, West Ham United and Nottingham Forest have taken fewer points on the road this season than Everton, who have won just one match away from Goodison Park in 2022/23.
If they continue winning games on home turf, Everton might not need to improve their record on their travels. But four of their five remaining games at Goodison are against teams currently in the top half of the table.
As such, Everton might need to start picking up more points at other grounds. A draw would be an excellent result in the late kick-off on Saturday, and Dyche’s men did show some battling qualities in their last away game against Nottingham Forest, a 2-2 draw.
"At the end of the day, you can still have good away records by structuring the team and by suggesting the team maybe have to work in different ways, but most of all the mentality is important,” Dyche said on the issue last month.
“At home, the crowd can help give you that edge but when you're away you have to bring it in through the collective on the pitch. I think that's important."
Chelsea were unable to keep a clean sheet at the King Power Stadium last weekend, but a record of one goal conceded in their last three outings is not to be sniffed at. In fact, Chelsea have been pretty solid at the back throughout the campaign, with their struggles coming at the other end of the field.
Only Newcastle United, Manchester City and Arsenal have conceded fewer goals than Chelsea since the beginning of the season. The Blues have kept nine clean sheets in total, which ranks them sixth in the Premier League.
They have been particularly hard to break down at home. Visiting teams have scored just eight times at Stamford Bridge, which gives Chelsea the joint-best record in the division.
Given that only West Ham and Nottingham Forest have scored fewer goals away from home than Everton, this could be a tough assignment for Dyche’s charges.
We recommend backing a win to nil in this one. Chelsea have enough attacking quality to breach Everton’s backline, while they have the defensive resolve to keep their opponents out at the other end.
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Teams: Chelsea vs Everton
Location: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Date and Time: Mar. 18, 2023, 1.30 p.m. EST
How to Watch: NBC Sports, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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