Four to the fore
Matt Le Tiss says Everton and Pompey are in a four-way race for fourth ahead of their Super Sunday clash.
Last Updated: 29/02/08 11:56am
Everton v Portsmouth
3.30pm Sunday, Sky Sports 1
The race for fourth spot is really interesting this season. Everton are in that position at the moment, but Liverpool are still the favourites and Aston Villa are right in there as well.
Portsmouth are not out of it either and now they've got all their players back from the African Nations Cup I would say they're in a four-horse race for that final Champions League spot.
I wouldn't say Man City are in with a shout at the moment. They're on a poor run of form and it was a really disappointing result for them against Everton on Monday night. Their away form hasn't been good enough - apart from a freak result on a strange day at Old Trafford - so I would rule them out.
Some people would argue a case for Blackburn, but they're eight points behind Everton going into the weekend and that's probably a bit too much to make up over 11 games when there's so many teams in between.
If I had a few extra quid I'd probably throw it on Everton, not because I think they're going to finish fourth, but because I think the odds are unbalanced.
Liverpool are odds-on - and I think they will probably do enough to get the spot as they have a game in hand and have a better goal difference. But you can get 3/1 on Everton and that's not bad for the team that are sat in pole position. It's certainly going to be tight and the Premier League is boiling down to a really exciting finish this season.
Everton have been on a really good run and the games between the four contenders from now until the end of the season will be incredibly important. If Portsmouth can win at Goodison Park it would squeeze everything up again and make things even more interesting.
Everton's win against City was absolutely massive as I thought that might be one of the games where they might slip up and let Liverpool back in. I was really, really impressed by that win and it puts the pressure right back on Rafael Benitez.
Joleon Lescott scored yet again and the lad is having an outstanding season. When he was at Wolves there was a lot of talk about him being a future England player and it took a while for him to get to his true potential.
But he's certainly showing that now and his versatility has been really impressive. He plays at centre-back, left-back and he's scored more goals than many Premier League strikers. He really has been a top man.
Yakubu also scored in that game and although eyebrows were raised at how much money David Moyes paid for him, I think he's been a good buy. He scores goals and he'll be one of the reasons why I think Everton's challenge for fourth will go down to the last day. He'll definitely be dead keen to score against his old club on Sunday.
Like a lot of games, I think this one could be won or lost in the midfield. Pompey have got some pretty strong players in that area, but will face a tough test against the likes of Mikel Arteta, who always impresses me, Leon Osman who is in good form, and Phil Neville who is a very steady player.
Pompey are no mugs themselves, and while I didn't expect them to struggle this season, I'm a bit surprised to be talking about them challenging for the Champions League with 11 games to go.
Harry Redknapp has been superb for Portsmouth and has done a really good job there. They went off the boil a little bit when the boys went away to the African Nations Cup, but the manager will be absolutely delighted with the position they're in now.
Jermain Defoe was a great signing and I think he'll score bags of goals, while Milan Baros has come in as well and probably hasn't hit top form just yet, but you've got to give him time to get used to English football again. Plus you've got Kanu and John Utaka up there as well so Harry hasn't got a bad squad to choose from.
The one thing that has let them down this season is that they've drawn a lot of games at home, which is unusual for them. I know they haven't lost many at home, but there have been times when they've failed to beat teams that you'd expect them to beat at Fratton Park. It hasn't quite been the fortress of old.
However, they're away from home on Sunday and are going into the match on the back of three clean sheets. Everton have also had four shut-outs in a row, so you could say this has 0-0 written all over it.
But surely we'll see some goals with so many good strikers on show? I hope so anyway.
Le Tiss predicts
DRAW - We're looking at a draw here, but I don't like predicting goalless games because it's not what the fans want to see. Both defences have been solid, but with the likes of Defoe and Yakubu in good form, there should be goals. I think it will end up being 1-1.
Matt's main man
JERMAIN DEFOE - He decided to make the move away from Tottenham to get regular football and he should be really hungry to score goals. I can see him nicking one at Goodsion Park on Sunday.