Jack Stroudley previews our trip to Goodison Park as Fulham attempt a first win in six Premier League games.
Another week passes and it’s yet another week without a win. Fulham’s last Premier League victory came on 18 February, away at Brighton, and following a frustrating performance against West Ham, fans are starting to grow restless over this recent dip in form. We now head to relegation contenders Everton who will be desperate for a win, with a pretty tough record at Goodison Park and Fulham chasing their first win in six games. How do Fulham get back on track?
Despite sitting in 17th place, Sean Dyche has managed to get some decent performances out of Everton and since replacing now Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has only lost one game at home out of a possible five. That also includes results against Tottenham, Brentford and Arsenal. Dyche has got his side focusing on defending well and holding firm for long passages of play. The Toffees only achieved 33%, 30% and 50% in their three wins under Sean Dyche.
Looking at the average positions above from their recent victory against Brentford, we can see that Dyche will try and pack out the midfield and frustrate his opponents and rely on his attacking players to be clinical on the counter. Everton will be without a ‘focal point’ up front with Dominic Calvert-Lewin injured.
The Merseyside outfit do have the likes of Demarai Gray, Alex Iwobi and Dwight McNeil who Dyche will hope can feel the void missed by Calvert-Lewin. The unknown quantity is Ellis Simms, who was recalled by Sunderland in January and since his return has featured relatively regularly and even scored an 89th-minute equaliser at Stamford Bridge.
How do we prepare?
There were a few surprise inclusions last Saturday against West Ham, some have kept their place and some haven’t for me. This is the starting eleven I would go for.
Tete comes in for Cedric after the Portuguese full-back didn’t set the world alight last Saturday, while a solid performance from Tosin results in him keeping his place in the back four. I was as disappointed as anyone with Antonee Robinson’s performance against West Ham but with Kurzawa injured, our options are very limited which means the American keeps his place.
I feel harsh dropping Harrison Reed, the workhorse in midfield has been solid over the course of the season, but as things have started to go stale in the last few weeks I feel now is the right time for a switch. We haven’t seen a lot of Sasa Lukic and we haven’t seen the Serbian and Palhinha in the same midfield in a Premier League match and I would like to see what the pair can do against a very physical Everton side.
Andreas Pereira has been questioned in recent weeks for his creativity outside of set-pieces but I feel his pressing from the number 10 role is pivotal to the way Fulham play. Cairney may be knocking on the door for the start but I feel he performs better in his current role for the club off the bench in the latter stages of the game.
Going forward we have looked devoid of ideas and a lot of people are focusing their attention on Carlos Vinicius. The frustrating thing is that he is treated as if he has the same ability as Mitrovic. The Brazilian’s best trait is having the ball to feet and over the last few months has provided Solomon with an assist, starting the build-up for Pereira’s goal at Bournemouth and creating the best chance last week at West Ham. If we keep trying to cross it in (especially against a Dyche’s Everton) we won’t get the best out of Vinicius.
My final change would be to bring in Manor Solomon. Everton are going to sit back and Bobby De Cordova-Reid doesn’t have the raw pace and technical ability to create something out of nothing while Manor Solomon is always a problem and while on the pitch it feels like we aren’t too far away from him creating a piece of magic.
The final verdict
I posted another article this week explaining why we shouldn’t panic over our recent dip in form. That being said, I feel that another defeat is inevitable here for Fulham. Everton have everything to play and will consequently be more up for it than we are. Goodison Park will be right behind their team and will make it a difficult afternoon for Fulham. Given our recent form, this is a fantastic opportunity for the Toffees which I feel they will grasp. Everton 1-0 Fulham.