Two teams enjoying sharp contrasts in form clash on Saturday afternoon. QPR have won one of the last 14 and it is 17 games since their last clean sheet. Their league position only compounds their struggles with the Hoops out of the bottom three on goal difference. Everton head into the match on a seven match unbeaten run with the Toffees losing only two of their last 14. Everton can point to recent victories over Manchester City and Chelsea whilst QPR have lost their last three in the league.
QPR won this season’s first meeting, thanks to Tommy Smith’s winner. Everton have won two of the nine Premier League meetings, with QPR winning six; including the last two, and the other fixture ending level. QPR have won one of their last six at home, in the league, with Everton winning one of their last six away.
QPR boast the league’s highest percentage of first half goals (56%) with Everton having the league’s highest percentage of second half goals (73%). Everton have another league high with 46% of their goals coming after the 75-minute mark. Based on first half performances, Everton would be languishing in 17th. However, based on second half performances, Everton would be 6th.
The problem for both teams is scoring with only Wigan (23) failing to score more than Everton (26) and QPR are only slightly better off (27). Everton have scored 11 in their last 12 league games and registered just four times in their last six away games. The difference lies in goals conceded, as only Manchester City (19), Liverpool (23) and Manchester United (26) have conceded less than Everton (27). QPR (45) find themselves at the other end of the scale with only four teams conceding more.
QPR’s Achilles heel has been their inability to hold onto a lead. The London side has lost 15 points from winning positions – a league high. Mark Hughes will be very concerned that 13 of those points have been at home. At the other end of the spectrum are Everton. The Toffees have acquired 10 points from losing positions; only Wolves (14), Arsenal (13) and Aston Villa (11) can better that.
Everton welcome back Steven Pienaar (cup-tied), as the injuries begin to clear up. Phil Jagielka is training again but remains weeks away from a return. Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Nikica Jelavic will all come into contention, after stepping up their progress. The Toffees will be without their lucky Irish charm, Darron Gibson (Knee); the midfielder is unbeaten in his last 21 Premier League games. Victor Anichebe (Groin) and Tim Cahill (Various Knocks) could return after recent injury troubles.
QPR will be without two of their January signings, Djibril Cisse and Samba Diakite (Suspension). Key midfielder Alejandro Faurlin is out for the season (Knee) along with Kieron Dyer (Ankle). Rangers have doubts over four of their first team squad: DJ Campbell (Hamstring), Heidar Helguson (Groin), Luke Young (Hamstring) and Taye Taiwo (Calf).
Everton rely heavily on Leighton Baines and QPR will look to stop his creative partnership with Pienaar. Baines is Everton’s biggest threat, in terms of chance created (55). Everton’s next best are Leon Osman (21), Seamus Coleman (17), Royston Drenthe and Landon Donovan (both 16). Despite only playing 778 minutes of league football, this season, Drenthe leads the way for Everton with five assists. The Dutch winger will be pushing for a start after his match-winning display against Blackpool in the FA Cup.
Everton will be full of confidence against a team that has lost nine of their last 12. QPR’s Premier League record against their visitors will spur them on, as they have the edge in past meetings. Everton will look to impose themselves early on against QPR’s leaky defence with midfield being a key area. Marouane Fellaini will look to stamp his authority on the game with the Belgian in dominant form of late, ending 12/20 league games with a 100% tackle success rate.
- QPR failed to win a league game in February
- QPR’s 1 – 0 win at Everton, in August, came from their only shot on target
- Everton have conceded the lowest number of goals from crosses – 4
- Sylvain Distin has made 99 starts for Everton, in all competitions
- Everton’s next defeat will be David Moyes’ 150th as Everton boss