Everton had their moments on Sunday and almost came away from White Hart Lane with three points that would have been invaluable for their challenge for a Champions League spot. Meanwhile Queens Park Rangers have struggled in recent times and lie second from bottom in the Premier League table, destined for the drop. As John Heitinga noted, both teams will be hungry for the points on offer, and the team that wants it more should be able to get them at Goodison on Saturday.
Rumours continue to abound regarding David Moyes' future, along with a host of other players too who are expected to move on with the Scotsman's departure. This week team captain Phil Neville announced that he would be leaving at the end of the season, a move not unwelcome among the fanbase. The club acted swiftly to name Phil Jagielka as the next captain.
Meanwhile at Loftus Road, Harry Redknapp is under increasing pressure to produce a massive escape act to save QPR from relegation, but appears to have hit his wits end with some disappointing performances in recent games. There is definitely some quality in the side but he has struggled to get cohesive performances out of the group.
Team News -
Moyes will welcome back midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar back from suspensions. Long term casualty Tony Hibbert is back from injury and played in an under-21 outing, but isn't ready for the big stage as yet.A couple of unnamed players have niggling injuries, but no one is expected to miss the game.
Bobby Zamora was sent off last weekend for a horrific challenge and will begin his suspension this week. Shawn Wright-Phillips underwent surgery and will miss the rest of the year. Apart from those two, Redknapp noted a clean bill of health for his side.
Keys To The Game -
With Fellaini and Pienaar back, Everton can go back to their 4-4-1-1 formation from earlier in the season with Fellaini playing behind the sole striker, likely to be Victor Anichebe. Leon Osman did not have the best of outings last weekend, and will have a chance to hold up the ball and control the game as he distributes it to Kevin Mirallas on the right and Pienaar on the left. The defence will Seamus Coleman back at the right from where he has launched most of his devastating runs, while Leighton Baines showed us that the he is only half as effective when playing without his South African sidekick Pienaar.
QPR have been a bogey team for Everton for a while now, and have not been beaten at Goodison for eighteen years now. Redknapp bemoaned having to again change his strike partnership of Loic Remy and Zamora, but all signs point to French striker Remy having an excellent game. Since his arrival from Marseille during the January transfer window, the Frenchman has scored five times and remains his side's best goal threat. Right-sided winger Andros Townsend is on-loan from Tottenham and has plenty of pace and guile to beat his man and get to the byline, and could take advantage of space behind Baines. Junior Hoilett has also had good games against Everton when playing for Blackburn Rovers and is a man to watch.
Match Facts -
- Everton are the only team in the Premier League to have not beaten QPR in the last two years.
- The Toffees have only won two of their last eleven games against QPR, drawing three and losing six.
- Everton are the only Premier League team to have managed 100 headed shots this season.
- Everton also lead the league in headed goals, with thirteen this term.
- QPR have led at halftime only twice all year, and failed to win either of the two games.
- Since the start of last season, QPR have picked up twelve red cards, four more than any other team.