Home advantage can give Everton the edge


Tomorrow – 12.30pm ESPN

CHELSEA’S 4-0 victory at Bolton on Monday night will have given their supporters some belief that their side are finally on the way back. It was an impressive performance and although the first priority for Carlo Ancelotti is to ensure Champions League football next season, a decent run of wins could put them right back in the title race.

The FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend and it surely isn’t going to be a priority for the west Londoners. They travel to Goodison Park tomorrow lunchtime for a repeat of the 2009 final when they beat Everton 2-1. The Toffees have had a largely disappointing season so far and were lucky to take a point against bottom-place West Ham on Saturday.

David Moyes knows that the best his team can manage in the league this season is a top seven or eight finish, so the FA Cup is their only chance of real success. Everton have a strong record in this competition and they have also done well against the champions in recent seasons, winning one and drawing four of the past five league games.

There’s every chance that this tie could end in a draw, but neither manager will want that and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ancelotti field a severely weakened team. Chelsea face a tough trip to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night, in what is a more important game for them, so they make no appeal at even money with Paddy Power.

Everton have won just five of their 23 league games this campaign, but two of those victories came against Manchester City and Tottenham. They have dropped silly points at home against the likes of West Brom, West Ham and Wigan, but they tend to perform better against the elite sides.

I have a feeling Everton can nick this one and they are worth backing at 11/4 with Paddy Power. They have been leaking goals all season, though, and it would be no surprise to see Chelsea get on the scoresheet. Both teams have scored in 12 of the Toffees’ last 14 games and the 2-1 home win is available at a decent looking 12/1 on Betdaq.

For that reason, I’ll also be looking to buy goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index – both teams have been involved in some fairly high scoring games of late.