It’s not an unusual lament on Merseyside in recent times. David Moyes has been wistfully pondering what could have been had Everton’s early season form been a little more like their current run.
Despite the on-going injury problems, four wins and two draws from their last six has seen the Toffees pull close but not quite close enough to their city rivals and the coveted European places. With six games to play and just four points separating the blue and red halves of Liverpool, there is still the chance of over-taking Kenny Dalglish’s side but finishing fifth will require a monumental collapse from either Man City or Spurs.
Moyes will be looking to finish the season on a high note and with games coming up against United, City and Chelsea, Everton could have a big role to play in this season’s Premier League title battle.
No game in this league is easy, or at least that’s the maxim we all respectfully adhere to, but on their current run of form the fans will be expecting a home win over Blackburn this weekend at 7/10. Rovers are grinding their way to safety with four draws from their last six games but with just one win in their last ten Premier League fixtures and only three points between them and the relegation zone, they have a very nervy run-in ahead of them.
Everton may only have pride, and the possibility of trumping Liverpool, to play for but at Goodison Park these are very potent motivators. Seamus Coleman and Jack Rodwell could be fit to play this weekend and with Tim Cahill nearing a return, the squad could receive come timely boosts to help maintain their form. If he’s fit enough to start, Seamus Coleman will be worth a bet to score first at 12/1. Jermaine Beckford, who is likely to lead the line alone, is the 5/1 favourite to break the deadlock. With this likely to be a very physical battle, set-pieces could prove key and Phil Jagielka is always worth a small punt at a big price. The defender is 25/1 to score first and 9/1 to score anytime.
The long ball game Blackburn are liable to adopt isn’t something which should trouble Everton’s backline too much and an Everton clean sheet at 7/5 is worth a look. Everton to win 2-0 at 7/1 shouldn’t be too far off the mark but another win is sure to have Moyes wondering what could have been.