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Everton vs Fulham: Match Preview | Can the Toffees follow up their cup heroics with three points?

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Clash with the Cottagers kicks off a huge week for the Blues

Fulham v Everton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

After that epic FA Cup thriller against Tottenham, Everton have to rouse their weary limbs for a return to Premier League action against Fulham.

Wednesday’s game against Jose Mourinho’s side will live long in the memory, as a gutsy Toffees side kept rolling with the punches and eventually edged through to the next round after extra time.

It was mentally exhausting to watch, especially as Spurs looked like scoring every time they won a corner, but to go through in such a fashion is exhilarating and says much about spirit of the squad.

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur: The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester City is the one side we did not want to get in the quarter-final, but fate had other ideas.

It is not ideal, but if you want to win the trophy you have to beat the best sides and they don’t get much better than Pep Guardiola’s relentless Juggernaut.

One of the tasks facing Carlo Ancelotti is to shift the club’s mentality. Years of underachievement have permeated the club and fanbase to the extent that we shy away from any challenge rather than embrace it.

City will be tough, but they are beatable. And if Everton show the same spirit and determination as they did on Wednesday then they will have a chance.

Before then of course is a tough run of Premier League fixtures, starting with the visit of the Cottagers on Sunday before City and Liverpool next week.

Though Fulham are struggling, last month’s game against Newcastle was a lesson as to what can happen if you don’t approach a game properly.

The opposition

After their miserable relegation season of 2018-19, Scott Parker managed to drag Fulham back up at the first attempt with victory in the play-off final.

A scatter-gun transfer policy was one of the reasons why they struggled in the top flight last time, so their summer shopping was a little more measured this time, with Parker sticking with the core of the side got them promoted.

Sadly for Cottagers fans, it has not bought an immediate upshot in results. They lost five of their first six matches and have won just twice all season.

West Bromwich Albion v Fulham - Premier League Photo by Geoff Caddick - Pool/Getty Images

However, since a 1-1 draw against Liverpool in early December Parker’s side have lost just three out of 11 league games, drawing the rest.

It may be at the pace of an oil tanker, but a corner does seem to be turned.

To that end, the one match they didn’t want is the most one-sided fixture on English top-flight history at a ground where they have never won.

Everton have won all 14 of their Premier League matches at home to the Cottagers. Stretching back beyond that they have won 22 consecutive home top-flight matches against them, the longest home winning run for a team against an opponent in top-flight history.

If ever a side was due a win, it’s Fulham at Goodison.

Previous meeting

Fulham 2-3 Everton, November 22, 2020

Fulham v Everton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

This is a result which looks more impressive now as it maybe did then, with Everton withstanding a second half barrage from Fulham to hold onto the victory.

A double from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a first Toffees goal for Abdoulaye Doucoure was enough to earn the Blues their first league win in five games.

Recent form

Everton

Tottenham (H - FA Cup) Won 5-4 AET

Man Utd (A) Drew 3-3

Leeds (A) Won 2-1

Newcastle (H) Lost 2-0

Leicester (H) Drew 1-1

Fulham

West Ham (H) Drew 0-0

Leicester (H) Lost 2-0

West Brom (A) Drew 2-2

Brighton (A) 0-0

Burnley (H - FA Cup) Lost 3-0

Team news

Everton will be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the striker was forced off with a minor hamstring injury against Tottenham. Jordan Pickford is also not yet ready to return from a rib injury.

However, James Rodriguez is fit to play after a calf problem, while Andre Gomes is available after missing the cup win with a minor knock.

Josh King is also free to play after being cup-tied in midweek.

What they said

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti: “The last league game we played at home [against Newcastle] was a defeat, a surprise, we don’t want surprises against Fulham, while knowing it is a difficult game for a lot of reasons.

“We are not far from the first four places and our target is to stay there.

“Fulham, in my opinion, are playing really good football – with courage and intensity.

“We have enough time to recover properly [from Tottenham] but we have to pay attention in this kind of game.

“I was really pleased with the effort and spirit against Tottenham.

“The spirit of Seamus Coleman who came on in a position [right-midfield] he is not used to playing.

“They are all good signs but we have to put that game away because we have another to focus on.”

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-FULHAM Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Fulham boss Scott Parker: “When you’re going through a little bit of a hard time in front of goal, you need some real core fundamental basics to fall back on.

“And that’s my point to the team now, and it’s not just the forward players and the midfield players, even the defenders. Set-plays as well; we need to be more clinical, we need to chip in here with some set-play goals, which we’ve not managed to do a lot of.

“But to be able to do that, you need to strip it all back and get back to basics, and hold your game on some real core fundamentals. Me sitting here trying to help the players, I need to weigh up both [psychological and technical factors] really.

“We’re creating chances, now we need to work out where we can actually convert them.”

Final word

It is easy for this fixture to get lost given it is sandwiched between games against Manchester United, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool. However, picking up points in games like this is vital if Everton are to challenge for Europe and something they have failed to do at times this season.

With Newcastle still fresh in the memory you’d hope they would approach this game in the right manner. But with legs weary after midweek and minds possibly wandering to challenges ahead, you hope that will be enough.