Everton v QPR
The English Premier League’s Monday night fixture brings Queens Park Rangers up to the north-west, where they meet Everton at Goodison Park, desperately looking for the positive result that will keep them out of the bottom three.
After recovering from a shaky start to the season, Everton’s form has again taking a dip in recent weeks since the secured their place in the knockout phase of the Europa League with a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg three weeks ago. Since then, only a dour 1-1 draw at home to Hull City has interrupted a run of three straight defeats, albeit all by just a one-goal margin. They were spared the presence of Sergio Aguero for most of last weekend’s game at the Etihad after the Argentinian star damaged his knee ligaments in the opening minutes, but nevertheless were still unable to take advantage of a strangely subdued Manchester City, losing out 1-0 to a first-half Yaya Toure penalty. Thursday night’s 1-0 home loss to Krasnodar in their final Europa league group game is hardly worth worrying about for Roberto Martinez, who understandably took the meaningless tie as an opportunity to rest some of his more experienced players and to give some of his untried youngsters a taste of European action. With the added rest time before this Monday fixture, his rested stars should be refreshed and recharged to take their best game to their visitors from the capital.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp had no European commitments to distract him, and will have spent the week trying to build on the two wins in the last three games that has helped his side climb clear of the relegation zone. Sadly he must come to Merseyside without his inform talisman, Charlie Austin, who was redcarded in the 2-0 win over his former club Burnley last Saturday. Before his dismissal, he still had time to add QPR’s decisive second goal, taking his season’s tally to eight and making him the top English-born goalscorer in the Premier league. Vital for QPR’s survival is an improvement in their away form, as they are yet to pick up a single point in any of their seven trip around the country so far.