Paddy’s Preview: Blackburn vs Everton

An actual striker scoring in an Everton shirt has been a rarity this season. Granted he didn’t start the game so the run of no starting striker scoring for Everton this season continues in to game twenty-two but still.

That was the second point earning goal Victor Anichebe has scored in the last five games, which by rights should be enough to earn him a starting spot with Saha not scoring since late October. However he has had the greater impact from the bench so he may be kept in reserve again this weekend. The young Nigerian is as in-form as Everton have amongst their ranks so if he doesn’t start then he’s worth backing at 5/1 to score last. In fact the only chance he may have of scoring is to come off the bench.

The man who set up the goal was the real star performer at Villa Park and though he’s yet to score Landon Donavan has had the expected positive impact since the start of his latest truncated visit to the Premier League. The American will be pulling the strings against Rovers and if he doesn’t score the first goal at 6/1 he’s very likely to be involved in the build-up.

Anichebe’s goal against Villa earned Everton a welcome away point and with or without their goal-scoring concerns, that would be a solid result and one which Moyes will want to follow up with a win over Blackburn at home. Rovers are enjoying something of a resurgence, lifting themselves out of the relegation zone but the news that star defender Christopher Samba has handed in a transfer request is sure to weaken the team spirit which has been on display over the last few months. One defeat in a four Premier League run which included trips to Anfield and Old Trafford has to be taken seriously but if Samba’s head isn’t in the game it will seriously weaken them at the back. It’s going to be interesting to see whether Steve Kean decides to feature him at Goodison Park. They managed well without him against Fulham but the Londoners had a poor day going forward and his loss could well prove fatal to Blackburn’s survival plans. One player who will certainly be absent is former Everton-man Yakubu. He has been in excellent goal-scoring form this season and would have relished returning to his old home. Thankfully he won’t get the opportunity this season.

Everton are going to need to battle to win this game at 4/7 and though without Samba Rovers will cough up enough chances to make that bet a winner, will the Everton players find the composure to take them? An early goal, before the 27th minute at 10/11, would really help the players and fans to relax and despite the fact that Rovers won at Old Trafford their away form isn’t great and without the motivation of playing the defending champions there should be a drop in the level of their performance. Though they’ve conceded twenty-two goals away from home they’ve also scored sixteen so a shut-out seems unlikely. Which means Everton would have to score at least two goals to take the points. Everton to win 2-1 is a solid bet at 13/2. It’s tricky predicting exactly where those two goals come from but as long as all three points are secured nobody is going to care.

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