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Rupert Wyman 21st Apr 2009 - 21:56

Drogba to bring Everton back down to earth

Everton are on a high after reaching the FA Cup final following their semi-final penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday.

On Wednesday The Toffees are back in London, this time at Stamford Bridge as they face third-placed Chelsea in what will be a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final in May, as Guus Hiddink's side won their own semi-final on Saturday against Arsenal.

Everton produced a committed display against Man Utd but despite the victory the game was pretty dire in places and arguably Everton's supporters were the stars of the show rather than David Moyes' side.

The FA Cup semi-final win came against a very much second-string Man Utd and if they perform like that at the Bridge on Wednesday against a first-choice Chelsea line-up then there can only be one winner, as the odds of 4/9 for a home win suggest.

Guus Hiddink has had his side firing on all cylinders in recent weeks and none more so than the talismanic Ivorian Didier Drogba. The hitman has five goals in his last four matches in all competitions so he is well worth a punt at evens to get on the scoresheet against Everton. He can be backed at 4/1 to open the scoring but the preference would be to back him in the anytime scorer market.

Drogba's goals have come against some of the best defences around including Liverpool and Arsenal, so despite Everton having a strong back four which will be marshalled by the all-English pairing of Joleon Lescott and Sunday's winning penalty taker Phil Jagielka, the powerful frontman should have enough about him to add to his tally for the season.

A shock away win is priced at 15/2 with the draw at 3/1. But if Everton are going to take anything away from Stamford Bridge they will need to show much more creativity than they did at Wembley against Man Utd.

On Sunday Louis Saha led the line, but he was hardly match-fit, so David Moyes will be glad that he will be able to welcome back Jo to the starting XI. The Brazilian was ineligible at the weekend having previously played in the FA Cup this season for his parent club Man City.

The on-loan striker has been a hit at Goodison Park having scored five goals in his nine appearances for the Merseyside club, despite at times looking rather lost in a City shirt earlier on this season.

Jo is a 10/3 shot to score against Chelsea but he is yet to score on his travels for Everton so might be best avoided. While he will add some much-needed firepower to Everton's frontline it is hard to imagine Everton scoring on Wednesday.

Therefore it could be wise to back Chelsea to keep a clean sheet at odds of 4/6. The west London side have struggled defensively in recent weeks, conceding eight goals in their last three matches but their defence is better than that and it should have enough quality to keep Everton's attackers quiet.

A win for Chelsea will see them move within a point of Liverpool and Man Utd although the latter do also play on Wednesday, a very winnable match at home to Portsmouth.

Guus Hiddink still believes his Chelsea side can win the title and if they are to have any chance they most certainly need to pick up three points against Everton and at odds of 4/9 it is hard to back against them.

William Hill are offering a fantastic bet one, get one free deal on this match. If you place a £20 single on the 90 minutes market then you get a £5 free bet on the in-play live correct score market. Full details of the offer can be found here.

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