Monday 27 January 2020

Martinez wary of in-form Chelsea

Samuel Eto'o could make his Everton debut against former club Chelsea
Samuel Eto'o could make his Everton debut against former club Chelsea

Everton boss Roberto Martinez expects Chelsea to provide a formidable test of his side's mettle this weekend.

The Toffees have impressed in their opening two Barclays Premier League games but they twice surrendered leads to draw 2-2 with both Leicester and Arsenal.

Martinez knows the punishment for any mishaps could be even more severe as the title favourites visit Goodison Park on Saturday evening.

Martinez said: "We know it is going to be a difficult test, but we feel hurt about the points we have dropped so late and everything is down to us to try to be as good as we can.

"But unless you are at your top level you can't really compete against teams like Chelsea.

"It is clear Chelsea and Manchester City have started really strongly. They have shown they have no stopping period, they have just started where they left off.

"They are looking in top form straight away and it could be a really difficult sign for everyone else.

"We know how they played last season and now they have got more flair and more options in attack. That makes them a very complete team."

Martinez guided Everton to fifth in his first season in charge and expects to be challenging at the top end again.

He has seen plenty of positive signs but knows his team need to sustain their stronger spells.

This was highlighted last weekend as they allowed Arsenal to come back from 2-0 down with seven minutes remaining.

Martinez said: "It has been very curious (so far). We have shown incredible signs of the team that we can be.

"We need to extend the first 45-minute performance for 90 minutes. When we do that I think we are going to see the potential of the squad."

Martinez will check on the fitness of his two former Chelsea strikers before deciding if he can unleash them on their old club.

Samuel Eto'o, released by Chelsea at the end of last season, this week joined the Merseysiders on a two-year contract.

A lack of match fitness might make him an unlikely starter while Romelu Lukaku, whose successful loan from Stamford Bridge was made permanent for £28million this summer, has a toe injury.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho is not expecting Fernando Torres to leave Chelsea before the end of the transfer window, admitting they will be in trouble if the striker does depart.

AC Milan are reportedly closing in on a move for the one-time £50million man, but widespread talk of an exit before Monday night's deadline was downplayed by Mourinho.

Torres' departure would leave Chelsea short of the three strikers Mourinho believes will be necessary to fight on all fronts this season.

Mourinho's task was made slightly easier with news that Diego Costa could make an appearance on Merseyside following a minor muscle injury.

The 25-year-old has been quick to make his mark with the west Londoners since arriving from Atletico Madrid in the summer.

Costa has netted both of Chelsea's matches this season but looked set to miss this weekend's trip, as t he injury forced him to miss training for the last two days, with manager Jose Mourinho admitting on the eve of the match the Spain frontman was a "big doubt".

However, Press Association Sport understands Costa came through training on Friday afternoon unscathed and will travel with his team-mates to Goodison Park.

PA Media

The Left Wing: Schools rugby special - 'The St Michael’s dream team are the side to beat'

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport