Striker warning fired at Chelsea ahead of Everton clash at Stamford Bridge


Leon Osman has warned Chelsea’s defenders to be on their guard when they welcome  Everton striker Beto to SW6 tomorrow night.

The Blues have leaked 52 Premier League goals this term, including 11 in their last five outings.

And that’s something Portuguese striker Beto could exploit at Stamford Bridge thanks to his physicality and ability to work defenders hard.

The ex-Udinese striker has not been at his prolific best with only three goals to his name but Toffees legend Osman, who played 433 times for the club, insists he’s so vital for the economy of Sean Dyche’s game.

Ahead of the meeting with Chelsea, former midfielder turned BBC pundit Osman told the South London Press: “Beto has shown a lot of promise, what attributes he has and what he’s capable of.

“I wonder if he was probably expecting a bigger impact, to have scored at least five or six Premier League goals by this point. It’s not happened but you can’t say it’s because he hasn’t seemed to apply himself.

“The squad seem to love him and he works hard when he can, it’s just that things haven’t quite fallen into place. I think when they do, with a bit of luck, he might get on a run.”

So can that be against the Blues, who just seem so vulnerable defensively and prone to shipping goals against just anyone?

Just like hit-and-miss counterpart Nicolas Jackson, the Everton striker is a confidence player.

And there’s no such thing for a centre-forward than scoring regularly as it does his confidence a world of good.

Osman said: “He’s that type of striker. When you get strikers that are quite physical, like he is, and they run in behind and they rely on their strength, ability and their instincts. Beto is the type that will go on a run and end up scoring four or five goals in 10 games.

“He won’t give you 30 goals a season for five seasons on the run.  But I do think he’ll give you a bag of goals in a small space of time when he has the confidence.”

Six goals in 35 appearances is perhaps not what Everton expected for their bucks, with the Toffees splashing £25.75million to sign him from Serie A club Udinese last summer.

And a price tag like that can be a “heavy” baggage to carry around for footballers.

Chelsea know a thing or two when it comes to multi-million flops with Moises Caicedo,  Benoît Badiashile and even Raheem Sterling nowhere near the level they were at their previous clubs.

Osman said: “That always can weigh heavily on players’ shoulders.

“The price tag and the feeling that you have to live up to something and aspire to something rather than just go out, play your football and be natural and enjoy yourself [can be tough to handle]. But they have to deal with it because I think that most, if not all players these days, generally have a price tag associated with them.”

Everton often field one classic number nine but with Dominic Calvert-Lewin having finally ended a 23-goal drought, Dyche may go for two out-and-out frontmen in west London in a bid to rattle Chelsea and get vital points to stay up.

Osman said: “Looking at both of them there is an opportunity to play them both together [at Stamford Bridge].

“In the last five years both of them have just played on their own and haven’t learned how to play as a duo. But there’s opportunities there if they can learn to play together.”

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