Paul Merson makes ‘hard’ Everton vs Chelsea Premier League prediction amid Kai Havertz demand

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Despite being the overwhelming favourites to sink Frank Lampard’s men and push their opponents closer to relegation, the Toffees, who were boosted by the raucous and intimidating pre- match atmosphere their fans created for this big occasion, overcame the odds and picked up three points on this occasion.

Thankfully, from the Blues’ point of view, match winner Richarlison is not available on this occasion as the Brazilian is now wearing the colours of white for Tottenham.

Lampard’s side have yet to directly replace the 25-year-old but coupled with his exit, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s fresh injury concern has Thomas Tuchel and his team as overwhelming favourites for this Premier League 2022/23 opener.

However, Chelsea know very well that regardless of the Toffees’ form heading into this clash, they are more than capable as shown by previous results of pulling off a big upset.

With Tuchel set to speak to reporters about the current state of affairs ahead of the game, supporters of the west London club will hope that he will be in a lot more of an upbeat mood than he was after that tumultuous affair at the start of May.

Chelsea have had a rocky pre-season campaign but things are starting to look up on the transfer side of things with Marc Cucurella set to become the fifth new addition this summer for the Blues’ first team set-up.

Nevertheless, former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson is predicting a ‘hard’ opening day affair for Tuchel, saving a specific bit of advice on Kai Havertz amid competition from Armando Broja.

“Both these Premier League teams struggled in pre-season,” Merson said via the Metro. “Everton’s a hard place to visit, but they’ve been really poor over the past month.

“Chelsea should play Kai Havertz through the centre – he brings it together for them. I don’t think he’s going to score more than 20 goals for them. Chelsea will have to rely massively on Mason Mount and their midfield to score, and they’re not renowned for that. Raheem Sterling has scored goals for Manchester City, but playing for Chelsea is a different kettle of fish.

“I don’t know where the goals are coming from at Chelsea, and that’s my problem with them. With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen gone, they are weaker than they were last season. Koulibaly has experience behind him, but he’s played in Italy – their football is not as quick and electric as Premier League football.

“Everton will make it hard for them, and Tuchel will need to grind out a result here. Chelsea haven’t been great in pre-season, but I think they have a little too much for Everton this weekend.”

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