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Everton vs Fulham: Match Preview | Here We Go Again

The Toffees kick-off the new season against Marco Silva’s Cottagers

Everton v Sporting Lisbon - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images


It only seems like yesterday that Abdoulaye Doucoure was blasting Everton to safety on that nerve-shredding afternoon against AFC Bournemouth, yet here we are on the cusp of yet another season.

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

I usually find the summer break between seasons tortuous, but after the trauma of last campaign I’m not sure I’m totally ready for more Everton.

The Bournemouth game was supposed be yet another reset moment for the club, yet despite some resignations at board level Bill Kenwright remains and the investment deal with MSP has yet to be completed.

On the pitch Sean Dyche has brought in three players, just one costing a fee, while the likes of Yerry Mina, Ellis Simms, Tom Davies, Asmir Begovic, Conor Coady, Ruben Vinagre and Andros Townsend have either been released, sold or returned to their parent clubs.

Stoke City v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images

It is clear there is more rebuilding work to do but budget constraints mean Everton have to be clever with their dealings in the market. That inevitably means transfers will be pushed closer to the deadline as all parties push for the best deal. Therefore I do have some sympathy for them in that respect.

But given Everton’s recent rack record you can understand why fans are getting a bit edgy as we begin the season with the smaller squad to the one than ended the last one.

The key to all this is Dyche. The former Burnley boss dug Everton out of a hole last season as they were sinking like a stone under Frank Lampard. Extrapolate his record over a season and the Toffees would be comfortably in mid-table. That gives me hope that he can keep mastermind enough results to keep Everton away from danger.

My nerves are relying on it.

The opposition

Fulham v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

Fulham defied pre-season predictions of relegation last season to finish in a credible 10th place, their highest finish for more than a decade. However, their summer has been dominated by speculation linking star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and manager Marco Silva with moves to Saudi Arabia.

Silva has pledged his future to the club despite big money offers, while the Cottagers have so far resisted bids for Mitrovic, who is reportedly still keen on leaving. Star midfielder Joao Palhinha also remains, though Fulham fans will not rest easy until the window closes at the end of the month.

Incomings include Mexico striker Raul Jimenez from Wolves and defender Calvin Bassey from Ajax, while Willian signed a new one-year contract.

Silva’s side ended pre-season on a high note with a 2-1 home win over Hoffenheim, having won one and lost two of their Premier League Summer Series fixtures in America.

Previous meeting

Everton 1-3 Fulham, April 15 2023

Everton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by Mike Morese/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Arguably one of Everton’s worst performances under Dyche, especially at home, the Toffees were well beaten by Fulham back in April and looked to be sliding towards the relegation trapdoor.

Dwight McNeil cancelled out Harrison Reed’s opener, but goals from Harry Wilson and Dan James sealed victory for the Cottagers.

Team News

Everton v Sporting Lisbon - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

James Tarkowski is fit and available after recovering from a knee complaint that forced him off against Sporting last weekend. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit but it remains to be seen whether he will start or how long he will play given his recent fitness issues.

Dwight McNeil will be out for a few weeks with an ankle ligament injury suffered in the pre-season win at Stoke. Seamus Coleman is still working his way back from a knee injury suffered at Leicester last season, while Dele Alli suffered a setback in training and is not yet ready to feature.

What They Said?

Stoke City v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images

Everton manager Sean Dyche: “Our aim is to be better this season than the last, well, the last couple of seasons. In my time here we have done enough good work to make sure we stayed in the division, that was the biggest challenge.

“From there, can we take some of the stuff we have learnt from that forward and improve? I have confidence we can do that. Having a pre-season with the players, a few came in late due to internationals and a couple of injuries but generally, having a pre-season with them [helps]. Hopefully, rubbing off more of what we want from them.

“Plus, some of the things that I think are important. The truth of it will be when the whistle blows but so far during pre-season, it’s been a pretty solid pre-season with some good performances and a good energy and belief in what we are doing. We want that to go into the first game, and beyond.”

Brentford FC v Fulham FC - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Fulham boss Marco Silva: “I know what it means as well to play the first away match of the season at Goodison, the environment that is going to be there, the support for the home team as well, and it’s a very good challenge for us.

“We have to play at our best level, we have to be really competitive. We are going to play against a physical, really physical team, you can see the size, the aggressiveness – of course in the right way – that they play, and we have to reach a certain type of standards, and when we have the ball we have to express ourselves.”

Final Word

It is nice to preview a game without the spectre of relegation on my shoulders. That may come in time of course, but I’m going to enjoy the relative freedom of the next few weeks.

Everton’s defence has looked fairly robust during pre-season and if that continues here I can see a classic 1-0 Sean Dyche victory, the sort of result we will need plenty of throughout the campaign if we are to stay away from trouble.