Two second-half goals from Harry Wilson and Dan James consigned Everton to a damaging 3-1 loss on Saturday in front of the Goodison faithful at the hands of a Fulham team that had not won in six Premier League games. With former boss Marco Silva in the stands and key striker Aleksander Mitrovic at home due to suspensions earned in Fulham’s feisty cup tie with Manchester United, this match was a fantastic opportunity for Everton to create a bit of breathing room between themselves and 18th-place Nottingham Forest. Instead, Everton only find themselves clear of the drop zone on goal difference. Here are 5 Telling Stats from Everton’s consequential defeat to Fulham.
1. Half of Two Halves
The first half hour of the game belonged almost entirely to the Londoners. The 4-4-2 which Dyche employed to start the match was not effective whatsoever, but upon a change of shape back to the 4-5-1, the game completely flipped. All of the sudden, Everton were in the ascendency and were rewarded with a lovely goal off the boot of Dwight McNeil. They continued to push but were unable to find another goal before half-time due to squandered chances that would come back to haunt them before long.
#EVEFUL stats in the first half:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) April 15, 2023
First 30 minutes:
Goals - Everton 0-1 Fulham
Shots - Everton 1-7 Fulham
On target - Everton 1-3 Fulham
Last 15 minutes plus added time:
Goals - Everton 1-0 Fulham
Shots - Everton 7-0 Fulham
On target - Everton 3-0 Fulham#EFC
2. The Solo Standout
Dwight McNeil’s equalizer was a pure strike off the 23-year-old’s left boot. He was clearly the Toffees’ best player on the day and seems to be the only attacker in the squad capable of adding a quality finish on to the end of promising build-up. His 8.1 match rating according to FotMob was the best managed by a Blue and was joint-fourth overall in the match only behind goalscorers Dan James, Harry Wilson, and Harrison Reed. McNeil and James Garner were realistically the only Everton players that can feel positive about their performance, in my opinion.
Dwight McNeil’s first half by numbers vs. Fulham:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 15, 2023
84% pass accuracy
4 ground duels won
2/3 dribbles completed
2 long balls completed
2 key passes
2 big chances created
Wonderful goal. ✨ pic.twitter.com/lBqjM8NYHs
3. Suspect Striker Selection
Sean Dyche’s decision to start Neal Maupay over Ellis Simms was confusing upon the announcement of the team sheet, but it became far worse than that once the game began. The Frenchman continued his streak of amateur finishing as he was unable to put away either of the two huge chances presented to him during Everton’s spell of dominance at the end of the first half. He was also unable to impact the game in any other way, whereas Ellis Simms has already shown us not only his ability to find the back of the net but also a physical presence which, although not that of DCL, is still exponentially greater than the diminutive Maupay’s is.
It wasn’t until the 74th minute when the Toffees were already two goals down, that Simms came on in replacement of Maupay. That change should have been made before the game even kicked off, and Sean Dyche paid the price for that mistake.
Neal Maupay has had 7 big chances in the Premier League this season but failed to convert any of them.— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) April 15, 2023
He also had 23 shots (excluding blocked) and 15 on target but scored only 1 goal. #EFC
4. Defeated by Disappointments
Due to Everton’s inability to capitalize on the numerous opportunities they had to take the lead, they gave Fulham a chance to completely flip the momentum of the game back in their favor. The Toffees started the second half much like they ended the first; completely dominant. They had Fulham pinned deep and were creating threatening openings. However, all it took was one counter-attack and a simple finish from Harry Wilson to completely take the wind out of the Toffees’ Sails.
All of a sudden, Everton were chasing shadows and could barely get a kick of the ball. Add in some embarrassing defending, and Dan James sealed the deal for the Cottagers. Both Wilson and James have been severely underwhelming this season, having only scored once and twice respectively all year after Saturday’s fixture, but leave it up to Everton to hand them some of the easiest goals they’ll ever score.
Dan James has scored his first Premier League goal since scoring against Manchester United on 13th November 2022. That was 154 days ago.— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 15, 2023
Back on the scoresheet. pic.twitter.com/WIrSDLPwmA
5. Dyche Discernment
Although the absences of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Amadou Onana, and Seamus Coleman certainly did not make Sean Dyche’s job any easier on Saturday, the fact of the matter remains that he got it wrong. On top of getting the Simms v Maupay call completely wrong, the continued selection of Michael Keane does not make any sense outside of Burnley nepotism or the odd screamer. Defensively, Everton were a mess, and the fact Yerry Mina still hasn’t started since Dyche’s appointment is infuriating considering anyone with half a brain knows he’s a much better defender than Keane is. I’d probably give Sean Dyche a 6/10 rating on the job he’s done so far. He inherited what seemed like an impossible job and has done alright, but that performance against Fulham was certainly the worst we’ve seen, and things must change if his goal of saving the Toffees is to be met.