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Everton vs. Fulham

Goodison Park

Saturday, December 14

15:00

Everton V Fulham Match Preview

A high flying Everton take on a rejuvenated Fulham side at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon. Everton are full of confidence after last week's results, after defeating United at Old Trafford they then travelled to the league leaders Arsenal 4 days later and put in a terrific performance to earn themselves a 1-1 draw. Fulham on the other hand stopped a 6 game losing streak in the Premier League and new manager Rene Meulensteen picked up his first win as manager beating Aston Villa 2-0. Of course, this isn't the first meeting between the two with Everton looking to exact some revenge after they were knocked out in the Capital One Cup at the hands of Fulham. This match represents a massive chance for Everton with the teams around them facing off against each other this weekend, 3pts against Fulham could see Everton jump up to as high as 2nd. For Fulham, they will look to build on last weekend's result as they continue the fight to get out of the relegation zone.

Vital Quotes:

Gareth Barry is cautious of Fulham under new management saying

'If you're playing them [Fulham] under Martin Jol, you'd probably think the performances weren't there and, from the players, the effort, from the outside, didn't seem there either.

'I watched the game against Aston Villa and everyone seems to have stepped it up 10 per cent, which always happens with a new manager coming in.

'We've just got to worry about ourselves really. Last week was a massive week for the Club. Obviously we got the confidence up beating Stoke and then from two tough away games, to come away with four points was really good.

'It's easy on the back of two brilliant results for everyone to think we're going to walk all over Fulham but Premier League football doesn't work like that and we need to make sure we're really on our game to get three points.'

New Fulham man Rene Meulensteen refuses to set a target for the end of the season saying

'It's a bit new to me, I've come from an environment where we were picking up three points week to week.Target setting is important without getting too carried away with the calculations. I want the players focusing on the performance. I would expect that we do well and pick up points that we can.'

Everton Team News:

There are no new injury concerns for Everton following the game against Arsenal, Leighton Baines is expected to be available at the end of the festive period as he attempts to overcome a broken toe. Kone and Gibson are the long term absentees with knee injuries. Influential midfielder James McCarthy will miss the match through suspension after picking up his 5th yellow card against Arsenal, the choice will be between Osman or pushing back youngster Barkley and starting Deulofeu

Possible Starting XI: Howard, Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Barry, Barkley, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Pienaar, Lukaku

Player to watch: Ross Barkley

The Everton youngster gained many plaudits after his performance against Arsenal last week. Barkley has been continually improving under new manager Roberto Martinez and he is really starting to show his quality. With McCarthy out, Barkley may be pushed deeper given he has the energy levels and ability on the ball to match that of James McCarthy, however, Martinez could also keep Barkley in the number 10 role. Either way, Barkley's ability to run at defenders and his technical ability on the ball is bound to cause Fulham a lot of problems.

Fulham Team News:

Fulham also had no new injury concerns after their 2-0 win over Aston Villa. Fulham will regain the services of Darren Bent after he was ineligible to face his parent club, and he has also recovered from a hamstring problem. Defender Fernando Amorebieta could also return to first team action after missing through a hamstring injury

Possible Starting XI: Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Parker, Sidwell, Karagounis, Dejagah, Kacaniklic, Berbatov

Player to watch: Dimitar Berbatov

Berbatov showed that he still has the quality on the ball to match the best in the league last weekend as he led Fulham to victory. The Bulgarian really is the barometer for this side and he will have to be at his very mercurial best if Fulham hope to get away from Goodison with a positive result. He will be Fulham's biggest threat and with the space Fulham could have in attack the Everton defenders will need to pay very close attention to him

Match Facts & Stats

1. Fulham have never won a league game at Everton, to compound this, they have lost 20 straight league games at Goodison Park. The last time they were victorious at Goodison Park was in the 1976 FA Cup.

2. During that time, Everton have scored 51 goals compared to Fulham's 10

3. To make things even worse for Fulham, Everton are still unbeaten in their 16 league home matches this calendar year (W11 D5).

4. Everton have not lost this season when they have conceded the first goal (W1 D3)

5. Everton have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 6 matches, however they have drawn 4 of those, but they are unbeaten in their last 8 league games.

Match Prediction:

You look at the stats and the current form of Everton, it is hard to look past an Everton win, however as we all know, football is never played on paper, and under Meulensteen, Fulham seem to have found some confidence and were very good in their last league outing against Villa. McCarthy is a big miss for Everton, and their is a bit of mystery about who will replace him and whether they can fill the big void McCarthy leaves in midfield. I am still a bit concerned, Everton have had some terrific results of late and seem to be flying, and this typically ends in a massive letdown, however, I hope with a positive manager like Martinez in charge he can begin to eliminate those types of results and given the opportunity that is at stake with the teams around us playing each other, I will go for a hard fought 2-1 win for Everton with Barkley and Deulofeu scoring for the Toffees and Berbatov grabbing one for the Cottagers. COYB!!! THIS IS A VITAL 3PTS AT STAKE!!!!




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The Journalist

Writer: Rob-EFC  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday December 13 2013

Time: 12:00PM

 

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