Everton travel to Loftus Road in the hope that they can sugar the pill of Europa League elimination with victory over a QPR side that have lost nine of their last ten games in all competitions.
Rangers were woefully out of form when last seen, with BBC summariser Phil Neville describing their first-half showing against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park as among the worse he had ever witnessed in the Premier League.
Yet there are reasons to suspect that that the Toffees may not just fail to justify 6/5 favouritism in the match betting, but pass up the X/X-rated draw too.
Chris Ramsey’s side look intriguing at 12/5 for three points for the following reasons.
In a league table based on home matches against the current bottom half the Super Hoops sit sixth
Rangers have lost their last four Loftus Road league games, but Man Utd, Southampton, Arsenal and Tottenham were the visitors that vanquished them, the latter three by a single goal.
Against those who currently reside below the top-flight equator they’ve been far more effective winning five and drawing once in seven games – a better record than not just Everton, but Liverpool too.
QPR have won 28% of games Joey Barton has started this season and only 8% when he hasn’t
The midfielder is available again after suspension and, providing a training ground knock can be overcome, Ramsey should be able to call upon a player whose presence makes a home win far more likely.
Everton have avoided defeat away from Goodison Park three times in their last 12 attempts
Travelling Toffees have had a miserable time of it this term wherever they’ve roamed, but particularly in league action, where the club have lost on eight of their last nine road trips.
Rangers’ visitors have won just one of four Premier League matches that followed Europa League away games this season.
Significantly that win came against a Burnley side struggling to keep their heads above water having only recently arrived at the deep end of English football.
It came after a Eurostar short hop to Lille too, whereas losses at Man Utd and Tottenham followed trips to Russia and Germany, while a hapless 2-2 home draw against Leicester came days after their visit to Young Boys of Berne in Switzerland.
The Toffees haven’t won at Loftus Road since 1995
Admittedly they’ve only visited it three times in the interim, but Roberto Martinez’s side have drawn on both trips to west London since returning to the top-flight for the first time after a lengthy absence in 2011/12.
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