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Blackburn vs Everton – First test of Moyes’ Champs League credentials

| 14.08.2010

Everton have emerged as many people’s outside tip for a place in next season’s Champions League and collecting points at locations such as Blackburn will be crucial if they are to achieve this feat.

David Moyes’ side were one of three Premier League teams to leave Ewood Park with maximum points last season as Tim Cahill conjured up a stoppage-time winner in a 3-2 success.

A repeat of the same scoreline is a 25/1 chance, while Cahill is 9/4 to find the net at any point within the 90 minutes.

If Everton are to become fully involved in the Champions League picture then much will depend on whether they can keep their most influential players fit.

They finished eighth last season, nine points short of Champions League football, despite missing playmaker Mikel Arteta and key defender Phil Jagielka for a large portion of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Everton begin at Blackburn defending an 11-game unbeaten record in the league, stretching back to February when they were defeated 2-1 at Tottenham.

At Blackburn, Sam Allardyce will be hoping to continue the stability he has brought to the club since taking over in 2008.

They have finished in the top ten in four of the last five seasons and also have a previous track record of taking three points off Everton on the opening day of the season.

Two seasons ago they themselves sealed a 3-2 win and did so thanks to an injury-time winner by Andre Ooijer.

Among the decisions facing Allardyce is whether to start Nikola Kalinic and Chris Samba after both missed virtually all of pre-season, while Mama Biram Diouf, who is on loan from Manchester United, is another short of game time.

Everton will be definitely keen to avoid the same result as the opening day last season, when getting thumped at home 6-1 by Arsenal and are 6/4 to open the campaign with a victory.



Ed Needham