The chant expected to ring around Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime concerns money and a certain player on Everton’s, not Chelsea’s, books.
Unless you have been cryogenically frozen this summer, Dr Evil style, or taken your holidays in one of the few places on earth still out of the internet’s clutches, then you’ll know that player is John Stones.
Incidentally, the chant aimed at Jose Mourinho’s cash-rich visitors goes something like this; “Money can’t buy you Stones, everybody tells you so, can’t buy you Stones, no, no, no,no” – sung to the tune of a well-known ditty by Merseyside’s most famous musical exports.
Joking aside, managing to rebuff Chelsea’s advances for Stones is sure to be pivotal in Everton erasing last season’s painful domestic campaign from the memory banks and, more immediately, preventing the sort of results the champions inflicted on them last season.
Indeed the two fixtures against Mourinho’s side last term offer quite a neat evaluation of the reason Chelsea were wafting figures just shy of the £40m mark under Everton’s nose this summer to pinch the young English centre-half.
Having sat by on the bench to watch his teammates mauled 6-3 at Goodison last August, Stones was in from the start at Stamford Bridge, where only an 89th minute Willian strike robbed Roberto Martinez’s troops of a point.
Perhaps it’s a little trite to focus on such a microscopic sample. However, it’s plainly obvious from a return of two clean sheets in four Premier League outings this season, with Stones partnering skipper Phil Jagielka in the rearguard, that this boy’s prospects are sizeable.
When the two sides pop the lid on the weekend’s top-flight action on Merseyside this Saturday lunchtime, calling the result is a treacherous business given Chelsea’s dire start and Everton’s faulty home form which has seen a single point of six banked.
For this reason hopping onto the fence appeals with the draw priced at 12/5 with Ladbrokes.
Stones’ presence in the Everton team certainly arouses suspicion a repeat of that 6-3 barnstormer is unlikely, pushing the case for under 2.5 total goals being notched at a none-too-shabby 4/5.
Given the subplot to the contest, keeping an ear on terraces may bring ample entertainment anyhow.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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