Toffees to take advantage of struggling QPR’s sticky situation
Inconsistent Everton, 13/10 favourites with Coral to win, must bounce back in style to provide fans with a show of strength, after their abrupt Europa League exit and drubbing at the hands of Dynamo Kiev.
Luckily for the troubled Toffees, who hover just six points above the drop zone themselves, a tussle with relegation candidates QPR should provide the perfect chance to banish midweek blues.
The Hoops, 23/10 to grind out a draw, have been in disarray recently. Eight defeats in their past nine Premier League outings, including four losses in a row at Loftus Road, does not bode well for their already slim survival chances.
Chris Ramsey’s reign has certainly not gone as planned, and the interim coach has failed to stop the rot since Harry Redknapp’s resignation.
In a boost for the hosts, however, Joey Barton is a slight injury concern, but could still be available for this clash after seeing out a three-match ban.
QPR can also take confidence from the fact they have lost just one of their last six duels with the Toffees on home turf, so are 23/10 to snatch a victory with their backs to the wall.
Sharpshooter Charlie Austin must shrug off transfer speculation and capitalise on Everton’s rickety rearguard if his side are to stand a chance. The prolific marksman is sensational value at 7/2 to strike first, or 6/4 in the anytime market, after hitting 15 league goals so far this season.
Wingman Matt Phillips was the last player to be on target for the Hoops, and is 11/4 to net again anytime, while former West Ham United man Bobby Zamora is 13/2 to have the final say.
As for Everton, Gareth Barry continues to serve a ban, but the Toffees should still have too much quality to be troubled by QPR. Last time out in the league, Martinez’s men illustrated some of the flair they were famous for last season, with a 3-0 thrashing of Newcastle United.
The Merseysiders must find that form again, but are notorious for struggling after midweek excursions, and have won just three games from nine following continental clashes.
Unbeaten in their past five meetings with the Hoops, however, Everton should arrive with attacking intent. England starlet Ross Barkley has two in his last two against calamitous QPR, so is a smart punt at 11/4 to hit home anytime, while tenacious Scotland international Steven Naismith is a terrific 2/1 in the same market.
The visitors’ record signing, Romelu Lukaku, is finally justifying his huge pricetag. After grabbing three in his last three outings across all competitions, the big Belgian is 9/2 to bully QPR’s backline first, or 6/1 to bag a brace or better.