Everton Football Club are rolling right now, and Sean Dyche is demonstrating his mettle and vision with a team better than anything he ever had at Turf Moor. Sure, he has some old favorites from his time as Burnley’s boss - Michael Keane, James Tarkowski, and Dwight McNeil - but this entire Toffee squad has purpose and belief that supporters haven’t seen since the fleeting days of Don Carlo Ancelotti.
Four straight wins. Four straight clean sheets. Tenacious defense and aggressive attacking. The side is transformed from those groups that suffered for much of the time under both Rafa Benitez and Frank Lampard; sure, there were moments, and this writer often excitedly highlighted those in the past, but the consistency and toughness of this side, along with the attacking qualities the team now possesses, has Sean Dyche and company looking like he’s found a formula to end the follies that have long been witnessed on Merseyside
Against Fulham to open this current Premier League campaign, the Blues played well but fell short, dropping all three points to start the new year poorly. Now, Everton will look to pay Marco Silva and the Cottagers back by knocking them out of the Carabao Cup at the quarterfinal stage.
To win would be massive for each side, yet only one will move on; who will it be? Well, only time will tell, and Tuesday’s match draws ever closer.
RBM: Firstly, with Fulham going through an inconsistent Premier League season, what are the feelings like around the supporters and Craven Cottage?
RG: I think it has taken a bit to come together for Fulham, but they are finally putting it all together and are heading in the right direction. Regardless of the loss against Newcastle United, Fulham are playing together as a team now and spreading the goals around.
RBM: What can Everton expect from Fulham in the Carabao Cup?
RG: This match is important to Fulham, so I expect them to play on the front foot and take this match seriously. Everton are playing very well, but so are Fulham. I am expecting a tough match for both sides.
RBM: Why is the team less potent this year than last? Is it as easy as Aleksandr Mitrovic?
RG: They have finally moved on from Mitrovic, as it has taken a while for the players to adapt to playing together but they now have an identity and that is exciting for the rest of the season. I think Tom Cairney has been key to Fulham’s resurgence with goals.
RBM: How have Marco Silva and company coped?
RG: He has coped by not changing his approach at all, and he is starting to see the results from the hard work. I think when he signed his new contract, everything changed with Fulham.
RBM: Will Fulham be looking to innovate this January? Any names or positions being eyed?
RG: They need a striker, and possibly two CMs so I expect Fulham to add quality to what they already have.
RBM: What are the ambitions for this side across all competitions for the rest of this year?
RG: I predicted 7th when the season began, so I am not ruling that out if they get the recruitment right in January.
RBM: How do you expect Fulham to set up on Tuesday? Which of Fulham’s players do you think could cause Everton the most problems?
RG: Well I expect Fulham to play their 4-3-3 system under Silva, but there might be some rotation from the regular starters. I think Alex Iwobi is someone that Everton knows well, and he has been one of Fulham’s best players. I would also be concerned with Palhinha, who controls everything from the midfield.
RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for the match?
RG: I am going with a 2-1 Fulham victory, but it will be a very close match against two very good sides.
Our thanks to Russ for his time.