As strange as it may sound, these two outfits are similar than one may first imagine. Everton might be one of the Premiership’s top performers, but from a financial perspective their opponents are probably paying out a similar sum in relation to wages. Nevertheless, following their relegation last term QPR are now in the Championship and it will be interesting to see how they perform now they are pitted against one of their former rivals.
Everton approach this game having collected four points from their last three matches and the fact that many pundits are classing this as a ‘stutter’ highlights just how successful their season has been. They now occupy 5th place in the division and with just seven points separating them from top spot, some could argue that they are outside title contenders. Still, Roberto Martinez will be placing a lot of importance on the FA Cup, with the Toffees supremo knowing that it could be one of their only realistic chances of silverware. Despite all of the progress made under David Moyes, he wasn’t able to bring any trophies to Goodison Park and this could be where Martinez makes his true mark on the club.
QPR meanwhile are flying high in the Championship, although Harry Redknapp’s men currently find themselves outside the automatic promotion slots. Still, it’s only by a point, while the R’s also trail league leaders Leicester by five points. Even though some would suggest that their main concern will be achieving promotion back to the top flight, the fact that Redknapp has won this competition in the past may whet his appetite for another unlikely bid for glory. It may also prove to be an occasion to spark an upturn in form, with the Loftus Road outfit currently on a run which has seen them win just one of their last four games.
There are suspicions on Merseyside that Roberto Martinez could give some fringe players a start this week, with Nikica Jelavic thought to be one of the lucky ones after not featuring for the Toffees in months. Strangely, word around London is that Harry Redknapp is taking a similar approach and in a bid to preserve their promotion bid, he is also going to rest some of his regular starting players. One man who could feature is Benoit Assou-Ekotto though, with Tottenham inserting a clause that will allow him to participate in the competition.
Harry Redknapp may have won this competition in the past, but we just can’t see past Everton for this game. The Toffees have experienced a superb campaign and with the club also holding the home advantage, our tip is going to be a 2-0 win for Roberto Martinez’s side.