IER League football returns to our screens this weekend for the first time since the international break.
Chelsea’s trip to Goodison Park is the pick of tomorrow’s action as the Blues look to build on their strong start to the campaign.
Jose Mourinho has fitted seamlessly back into life at Stamford Bridge with two league wins followed by a goalless draw at Old Trafford.
The Blues have got the better of Everton in four of their last five meetings, including a 2-1 win here last term. England centurion Frank Lampard scored a brace that afternoon as they recovered from Steven Pienaar’s early strike.
Roberto Martinez’s start on Merseyside hasn’t been as fruitful as he would have hoped, playing some of the weaker clubs in the top flight. Yet they remain unbeaten on the back of three draws, two of which were goalless.
That shows how much the hosts have struggled in front of goal and the departure of Marouane Fellaini certainly won’t help matters.
In contrast, Chelsea have struck seven times in their last five outings – and they haven’t completely clicked up front yet. At 13/10 with Coral they are in good shape to take all three points and increase the pressure on Martinez.
Aston Villa flew out of the blocks superbly by beating Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium before succumbing to narrow losses against Chelsea and early leaders Liverpool.
Paul Lambert will be confident of getting back to winning ways when Newcastle visit. A stunning strike from Hatem Ben Arfa secured the Magpies’ first league win of the season against Fulham, yet they were hammered 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium in their only away assignment to date.
Christian Benteke has picked up where he left off last season with four goals in as many games and will fancy his chances of adding to that tally. He scored from the penalty spot in a 2-1 defeat on Tyneside last season.
His strike partner Gabby Agbonlahor hasn’t had the same goals return, but has been a real handful with his electric pace. Defensively Villa have been well organised and I fancy them to contain Newcastle’s forwards.
The Magpies won away just twice during the 2012-13 campaign and the early signs are not promising this time around. Villa look sharper under Lambert and they are a good price at 6/5 to get a maximum.
When the fixture list came out Hull would have circled the home game with Cardiff as a must win. These type of clashes often have a big bearing on promoted sides’ seasons and the Tigers will be aiming to force proceedings with an attacking line-up.
The Yorkshire outfit have given a solid account of themselves to date and won their only home league game against Norwich.
Perhaps most importantly, Steve Bruce’s men have earned clean sheets in their previous two outings and at 13/10 with Ladbrokes they are decent value to edge out the Bluebirds.
Chelsea at 13/10 with Coral
Aston Villa at 6/5 with Coral
Hull at 13/10 with Ladbrokes