Classic Match; Fulham (H)

Everton 4 vs Fulham 1

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Oviedo, Barry, Jagielka, Distin, Deulofeu (Mirallas 64′), Osman, Lukaku, Barkley, Pienaar (Stones 88′).

Subs not Used: Robles, Heitinga, Jelavic,, Naismith, Alcaraz

Fulham: Steklenburg, Riether, Riise, Senderos, Hughes, Sidwell, Karagounis (Bent 78′), Berbatov, Dejagah (Duff 83′), Kacaniklic (Kasami 69′).

Subs not Used: Ruiz, Stockdale, Richardson, Zverotic.

This week’s classic match takes us back to December of 2013, where the high toffees faced off against bottom of the league Fulham who came in losers of 6 out of their last 7 contests. Everton started off superbly as Leon Osman collected a class from Steven Pienaar and put it past Steklenburg into the bottom corner. It was the first danger sign for Fulham on a day that would see them well behind.

Fulham, after being battered in the first half came out well, and after carving out several good chances finally found the back of the net with Berbatov putting it past Tim Howard. However the lead only lasted 6 minutes though, as Coleman would head home a superb cross from Pienaar making it 2-1. And with Fulham searching for a goal, Everton would expose the stretched out defense, adding 2 late goals through Gareth Barry and Leon Osman, securing a 4-1 Everton victory.

For a different perspective on Sunday’s matchup with Fulham, I talked with Andrew Beck, writer for Fulham’s sbnation blog Cottage Confidential, on what to expect from Fulham’s newly promoted side.

Q: Who is the man to watch for Fulham, the difference maker if you will?

A: The difference maker is Aleksandar Mitrović. He’s tied for the lead in scoring in the league right now.

Q: What are Fulham’s biggest strengths this season, area Everton will struggle with persay.

A: Fulham are good at holding on to the ball and creating chances. If you allow them possession they are going to be attacking you with numbers coming from all directions. They have multiple players who are creative and possess a lot of quality on the ball.

Q: What are their biggest weaknesses, where could Everton specifically look to expose.

A: Fulham are still a poor defending side with a defense that isn’t yet settled. They also aren’t the best at pressing to regain possession. So if you can get the ball and keep it yourself, you can stymie their attack. You’re also going to get opportunities to score, and you better make the best of them.

Q:What is something a lot of Everton fans don’t know about newly promoted Fulham that in your mind is a cool fact.

A: I’m not sure people know just how good Fulham’s academy is. Most people know about Ryan Sessegnon, but did you know he has a twin brother who’s also pretty good named Steven? Harvey Elliot just made his first team debut against Millwall in the league cup at 15 years of age. Luca de la Torre (another player in the long line of Americans at Fulham) had a goal and 2 assists versus Millwall. Even though he’s out on loan Tayo Edun has a bright future and was a solid contributor (along with Ryan Sessegnon) to England’s U-19 Euro win.

Q: What is your score prediction? How do you think the game will ebb and flow.

A: I’d expect a log of chances on both sides. Probably a higher scoring affair. Fulham haven’t shown any propensity for playing defensively, so the game is likely to be as wide open as Everton allow it to be. I’d probably guess a 2-2 draw, but any result from a 4-0 Fulham win to a 4-0 Everton win wouldn’t shock me.

As for me, I see nothing but a confident attacking Everton team led by Richardson exposing a rather weak Fulham defense.

Richardson to score, Tosun (Maybe?)

Prediction: Everton 3 Fulham 1