Saturday 29th September 2018
The Toffees head into Saturdays contest without a league win in four and still yet to achieve a clean sheet this campaign. Last time out, Everton put in a positive performance away at the Emirates and could definitely count themselves unlucky to be leaving London unable to collect a point at least.
Returning to Goodison this week could provide the perfect opportunity for Marco’s men to put this early blip behind them and begin to climb the table. Everton’s opposition, Fulham, are without a win in three league games, however, the Cottagers did overcome a stubborn Millwall side at The Den on Tuesday night coming out 3-1 winners.
Last week was a big mix of emotions. On one hand, the performance was fantastic, the work-rate of the front men and will to constantly look to press Arsenal into mistakes was refreshing to see. The way in which the Blues managed to slice through the Gunners and create chances on numerous occasions was impressive and something which Evertonians are not used to seeing, especially away at one of the top six. However, after such a spirited performance, it was disappointing to see the amount of time Everton left Arsenal to create their first goal. The pressure on the ball was minimal and the first time all afternoon the defence sat off, Lacazette cut in on his right and punished the Blues superbly. Just three minutes later and the game was effectively done, Kurt Zouma played a very loose ball which was pounced upon by Lacazette who fed Mesut Ozil through on goal before the German played in Aaron Ramsey who flicked it into Aubameyangs’ clearly offside path.
As frustrating as it was that the officials had missed such a clear decision, the defensive work of the Blues that led to it yet again came under scrutiny. Playing such a high line with the full backs both pushing up the field has now cost the Blues two weeks running and needs to be addressed quickly.
However, even after the Toffees found themselves two goals behind they still battled and showed fantastic spirit to somehow get themselves back into the contest. It was ultimately a day to forget in terms of the result but the performance, energy and overall attitude of the side to go to the Emirates and try to take the game to Arsenal should not be knocked. If the Blues can keep the level of last week up there will be no issues with turning recent fortunes around.
This could finally be the weekend Everton could see new big money signing Yerry Mina make his first appearance, as the Colombian has overcome his recent foot injury. Seamus Coleman and on-loan Andre Gomes are thought to be in contention for Saturdays contest, with Gomes continuing to be assessed. Long term absentee, James McCarthy remains out aswell as Beni Baningime and centre back Phil Jagielka, with the 36-year-old still struggling with his knee injury.
Going into the weekend, Fulham enter the game desperate for a win. Like the Blues, the Lilywhites have also managed just the one win so far. The way in which Slavisa Jokanovics’ side has adapted to the league has been a joy to see. Although far from the finished product, the Lilywhites do play some lovely football and look to advance up the field quickly and very directly.
The Cottagers were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Watford last time out. Perhaps lucky to go into the break only down by a goal after struggling to deal with the Hornets, Fulham came out in the second and upped their tempo. The men in white began to have joy creating chances and when in-form Aleksander Mitrovic tapped in to level, the Londoners where in the ascendancy. Serbian forward, Mitrovic continued to cause havoc and was extremely unlucky to not clinch the points for his side after hitting the bar and also forcing Watford stopper, Ben Foster, into a good save.
Fulhams pace and will to whip balls into the box will surely be something they will be looking to execute on Saturday. Evertons recent defensive displays must have the Cottagers rubbing their hands together. The central engine of Fulham comes in the shape of Jean Michael Seri, the midfielders vision and work rate in the middle of the park has already made the Ivorian a key figure in the Fulham set-up and the Toffees will need to find a way to stop the African come Saturday afternoon.
Fulham come into the weekend with Neeskens Kebano continuing his recovery. Other than that the Cottagers enjoy a good bill of health.
Tom Cairney could return.
Fulhams record at Goodison is quite frankly, dire. The Whites have enjoyed just two wins there in their whole history, coming way back in 1948 and the last one in 1975. Its imperative that Everton lengthen Fulhams Goodison misery’s this Saturday as the boys in Blue search for their second victory of the season.
Brazilian, Richarlison looked fantastic last weekend on his return and a huge handful. As the Toffees begin to enjoy the comforts of a fit squad, i think now is the time early worries will start to fall into place. Cenk Tosun has struggled massively so far this term, however, when he came on at the Emirates, the Turk looked sharp and back to how he did in the second-half of last season. A goal for the target man is badly needed.
Will Fulham’s Merseyside struggles continue or can they send Everton into Crisis?
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gueye, Bernard, Sigurdsson; Richarlison, Tosun, Walcott.
Fulham: Bettinelli; Fosu Mensah, Mawson, Chambers, Sessegnon; Johansen, Cairney, Seri; Vietto, Mitrovic, Schurrle.
Everton 2-1 Fulham.