12th April 2013
Even if they ended up conceding late at White Hart Lane, Everton remained in the race for a top 4 finish thanks to a 2-2 draw against Tottenham, and they are looking to further close the gap behind their rivals when they tackle QPR. The injury-time goal Rangers let in against Wigan means their survival chances are now slim to none, so no doubt they face a mountain to climb at Goodison Park.
Despite playing at a very high level throughout the league campaign, Everton have achieved nothing yet and strong finish to the season is crucial if the Toffees are to ensure European qualification. David Moyes’ side missed an excellent opportunity to virtually secure a place in the FA Cup final as they were beaten at home by Wigan, but the fans must have been impressed by team’s response to the major setback. Everton completely outclassed reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the very next game before seeing off Stoke at home in spite of both Fellaini and Pienaar missing. The Toffees then came really close to upsetting Tottenham at White Hart Lane, again without the key duo, but even the 2-2 draw keeps them in good stead for the visit of QPR. With the two players finally available after serving two-match bans, there is every chance team’s excellent run at Goodison Park is set to continue. Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert continue to miss out, but David Moyes has no fresh injury worries.
Harry Redknapp has done really well to give this team a realistic chance of staying alive, but it appears that the Rs have squandered an excellent opportunity over the course of last three games. Brimming with confidence following back to back wins over Southampton and Sunderland, QPR were presented a great chance to seriously boost their survival chances with three points from Villa Park, but they ended up losing the match despite taking the lead through Jermaine Jenas. Rangers then shipped in some very cheap goals against Fulham in what was another winable game, before failing to beat Wigan at home by conceding with the last kick of the match. Having squandered three amazing opportunities in a row and being eight points adrift of safety, Rangers will probably feel as if Premiership survival has become mission impossible. It will be difficult for ‘Arry to motivate his players after such a huge setback and I, therefore, seriously doubt they will be able to match in-form Everton at Goodison Park, the ground that has become a genuine fortress of late. The visitors are without the suspended Bobby Zamora, whereas Shaun Wright-Phillips, Luke Young and Samba Diakite are injury doubts.
Seeing as how the players are buoyed by the nice string of performances as well as by the return of Fellaini and Pienaar, Everton can be trusted to go all guns blazing at their opponents and there is a good chance they will be up by half-time. QPR are all over the place at the moment and they are unlikely to produce anything worth mention at Goodison.
Verdict: Home win at half-time
Best Odds: 1/1