Everton vs. Fulham: Match Preview

Alex Livesey

With the Champions League now a distant memory, Everton will attempt to use their home advantage on Saturday against Fulham to stay in the hunt for a Europa League spot.

Everton hadn't lost to Sunderland for entire duration of David Moyes' reign at Goodison Park - that streak ended last weekend. Fulham have also never won at Everton in the Premier League - will that streak end too, or will Moyes be able to arrest the slide? Goodison Park has been quite the house of horrors for Fulham, with the Toffees spanking them 4-0 a year ago.

The lesser-heralded London side have had another typical season by their standards, stuck in the mid-table with little to play for at this point except playing spoiler to other teams' hopes and aspirations. Fulham seem stuck in transition currently, unable to replicate some of their fantastic success in Europe from a few years ago, and losing two key players Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele in the offseason.

Team News -

Victor Anichebe and Darron Gibson both got injured last weekend and could face late fitness tests. Phil Jagielka reopened a cut he had sustained a few games ago just before the game against Sunderland, but could play on Saturday while long-term absentee Tony Hibbert is finally back in the squad.

Steven Sidwell managed to get himself sent off in his first game back from suspension and is done for the season. Damien Duff has been out but is in contention to play. Midfielders Mahamadou Diarra, Ashkan Dejagah and Simon Davies will all miss out while defender Sascha Riether could also miss the game.

Keys To The Game -

Ross Barkley has looked more and more comfortable in the middle and could get another long look in the side tomorrow. Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas have taken over the attacking mantle on the right, with Leighton Baines looking tired lately while Steven Pienaar has been jaded too. By the way, what happened to John Heitinga? He was abysmal to begin the season and then his light went off and he's been more of his solid self that we saw last year.

Fulham can be dangerous with an infusion of speed and youth, which Alexander Kacaniklic and Stanislav Manolev provide on the wings while AC Milan loanee Urby Emanuelson has looked more steady in recent weeks. Dimitar Berbatov is always a potent threat despite his languid appearance on the pitch, and will be a factor as long as he has service from Bryan Ruiz behind him.

Match Facts -

  • David Moyes celebrated his 50th birthday this week, eleven of which have been at Everton.
  • The Toffees have won 19 straight games at Goodison against Saturday's opponents Fulham.
  • The Blues have scored 57% of their goals in the first half, highest in the Premier League.
  • Everton are now going on 214 minutes of Premier League football without scoring.
  • Fulham have only gained five points from losing positions this season, worst in the League.
  • Berbatov has scored 13 goals this term, with ten of them coming in the first half.
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