Michael Owen doesn’t expect Chelsea to drop points against Everton on Sunday despite Wayne Rooney’s impressive start to the new season.
The Premier League champions will host the Toffees at Stamford Bridge this weekend in search of a first home victory of the 2017-18 campaign.
The west London side suffered a surprise 3-2 loss to Burnley in their season opener to raise questions about their ability to defend their title.
However, Chelsea were 2-1 winners against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Sunday evening following Marcos Alonso’s goal either side of half-time.
The west London side are still trailing Everton by a point after Ronald Koeman’s side eased to a 1-0 win against Stoke City at Goodison Park before a 1-1 draw with Manchester City at The Etihad on Monday.
Former Manchester United striker Rooney scored both of Everton’s goals against Stoke and Manchester City to make a bright start to the new season.
Ex-Liverpool striker Owen is backing Chelsea to beat Everton at Stamford Bridge despite tipping the Toffees to get on the score sheet.
“I was impressed by the way the champions bounced back at Wembley last weekend,” Owen told BetVictor.
“It is hard to see how Everton can get anything in West London on Sunday given they faced Manchester City at the Etihad on Monday and, at the time of writing, are due to face Hadjuk Split in Croatia in a vital Europa League tie on Thursday evening.
“I was not surprised to see Wayne Rooney retire from international football earlier in the week after a magnificent and record-breaking career for the Three Lions – well played Wazza!
“Rooney has already shown enough for Everton this season to suggest he can help his boyhood team take the next step up the ladder – although I would be surprised if they got anything at the Bridge a ground where they have not won in the Premier League since November 1994.”
Chelsea won the Premier League title with two games to spare last term after finishing seven points clear of closest title rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
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Bakayoko reveals injury made him feel useless
Tiemoué Bakayoko, one of the heroes of Wembley from Sunday, has revealed his colors as the latest card-carrying member of the Cult of Conte, the rapidly growing club that’s starting to rival the Cult of Mourinho that once got so many quality players in through the doors at Chelsea.
N’Golo Kanté wanted in so badly he delayed his Champions League participation for an entire season to join a mid-table side. Álvaro Morata had been looking forward to this since 2014. David Luiz wanted to finish unfinished business at Chelsea, though being told that Conte could make him the best in the world a la Leonardo Bonucci undoubtedly helped. Even Antonio Rüdiger, who’s been on the Chelsea shortlist for two years, spoke of his anticipation for working with the man who’s hopefully in no danger of being replaced by Thomas Tuchel anytime soon.
So now it’s Bakayoko’s turn, and he believes Conte has had an eye on him since he first popped up at Rennes some four years ago, when Conte was in what would turn out to be his final year at Juventus.
“He yells at me in training every day, I have got to be as precise as possible in everything that I do.”
“When I was at Rennes and he was coaching Juventus, he was already watching me. I wanted to work with him and I am convinced he is going to improve me and help me reach my goals, personal and team.”
“If you talk about the coach and not the club, the choice is logical. He is going to make me progress tactically, technically and mentally. I know where I signed and what the coach wants of me — I am not worried on that subject. It is only if I mess about and I don’t work that I will not play.”
While Bakayoko’s transfer dragged out for one reason or another, there’s little doubting his commitment to the cause, making himself available for selection after just a couple days of training and playing through the full game on one leg against Spurs, after perhaps receiving some friendly encouragement from a certain Didier Drogba. Gritting it through a bit of pain is nothing new for the 23-year-old, though hopefully he won’t have to do it too often anymore.
“I first suffered [the knee injury] two years ago with the Under 21s. It was more or less okay but last season, after pre-season, I started to feel pain. It worsened steadily then it was aggravated so much that I suffered a crack in the meniscus. I tried to get through the whole of the season.”
“It was always there a bit. From the match against PSG, last August, I felt it, People don’t know but throughout the whole of last season I suffered because of my knee. I really had to grit my teeth in every match. It was difficult.”