Everton v. Blackburn: A Redemption Preview

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Bradley Orr of Queens Park Rangers competes with Louis Saha of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park on August 20, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

After a lackluster start to the Premier League, Everton travels to take on relegation contenders Blackburn in their second match of the EPL season. The Chicken Eaters have been in fine form this season, losing their first two matches of the season to Wolves and Aston Villa. For Everton the season has had an all to familiar start with their loss to QPR marking the low point for many Evertonians. Their victory at midweek against Sheffield United was a brief spite for the team, and only a quality performance tomorrow will be able to satisfy the critics.

Despite the injuries that have built up the last few weeks, David Moyes has no new concerns, and only Gueye and Coleman have been ruled out of the match due to injury. Hopefully Beckford and Cahill will be available after not being selected due to injury for their match against Sheffield United. Additionaly Billy has returned from his suspension and could see some playing time this weekend due to depth problems.

For Blackburn the injury front is completely bare except for Chris Samba who by all indications will return to the squad this weekend. Except for that the only problem they have is an inability to win matches this season.

With the availability of Fellaini and Arteta, it will be interesting to see what lineup Moyes picks. It is possible youngster Ross Barkley will be the odd man out despite his rather impressive performances.

Predicted Lineup:



Osman - Fellaini - Rodwell - Arteta

Baines - Distin - Jagielka - Neville


Saha gets the start up top after returning to full fitness, and Cahill recovers enough in time to man his usual place between the midfield and forward. Should Cahill be unable to play either Billy or Barkley will get the start up top.

Moyes will revert  to a more typical midfield look with Osman on the left, Arteta on the right, and Fellaini and Rodwell starting in the center. One change that would be nice to see would be Barkley taking Osman's place on the left. Barkley's tendency to cut into the middle of the field gives Baines ample space to move into the attack. It would also be nice to see Rodwell take note of Barkley's performances the past two games and try to emulate it. Too often Rodwell will settle for the back pass when a quick give and go or through ball would give the team a scoring opportunity.

Nothing unusual at the back, but all eyes will be on Phil Jagielka who has not started the season well. He has been responsible for two goals, and has not looked as sharp as he did last season. His place is probably secure though given Heitinga's lack of anything approaching talent.

Off the bench Billy, Beckford, and Barkley are the three most likely candidates to make an appearance. Beckford just because of Saha's injury prowess and Billy and Barkley are the first two options in the midfield. Look for Barkley specifically to make an appearance if a repeat of the QPR match appears to be likely.

This should be a game Everton easily wins, but the slow start coupled with a midweek game in the Carling Cup means this is likely to be a lot more difficult than it needs to be. I'll go with a 1-1 draw and Saha opens his scoring account a little earlier this season. COYB!

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