Everton will be hoping to keep their fantastic run of form at home going when they take on Fulham at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Toffees had a good result away at Arsenal last week and will be buoyed by the fact that, due to Manchester City’s and Chelsea’s results, they find themselves just outside the top four. Rene Meulensteen oversaw his first victory as Fulham manager last weekend, when the London side defeated Aston Villa, but he will be faced with a much tougher prospect this weekend.
Everton have yet to lose at Goodison this calendar year and you have to think they will be even tougher to beat given they’re so close to ending 2013 with the record intact.
Roberto Martinez has a few injuries in his side, although Everton have shown no problems with this so far. Tony Hibbert and Leighton Baines are not due to return to the squad for a few weeks yet, and Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson are still out long-term. James McCarthy is also out due to suspension.
Darren Bent and Fernando Amorebieta could possibly be fit this weekend but it is unlikely Fulham fans will see them feature at all. Hugo Rodallega, Matthew Briggs and Brede Hangeland are still out for the foreseeable future.
Everton could take their unbeaten run to nine games if they avoid defeat against Fulham.
The Toffees have never lost to Fulham in the Premier League on 14 occasions, winning 13 of them.
Taking the whole history between the sides at Goodison, Fulham have not won on any of their 25 visits there.
Fulham are enduring their worst start to a Premier League season, winning just 13 points from 15 games.
Last week’s win over Aston Villa was Fulham’s first in eight games.
Lukaku has been great in front of goal for Everton this season, scoring eight times. The on-loan Chelsea player has played brilliantly and will surely be making Blues fans wonder why their club let him go to Merseyside in the first place. He has attempted 26 shots overall with 18 of them being on target. This gives him a shooting accuracy of 69%. He also has a great clear-cut chance conversion rate of 80%, as he has scored four and missed only one. Despite being the focal point of Everton’s attack, the Belgian has been effective in creating chances for his team mates. He has created eight chances in open play and has a further two assists to his name. However, this means he is only creating a chance every 90 minutes. The way Fulham’s defence have been performing lately, I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Lukaku tear them apart.
Some people reading this may be wondering why I haven’t chosen Dimitar Berbatov as my key player for Fulham, but frankly he has been a huge disappointment for the club this season. Sidwell isn’t exactly lighting up the place either but he has scored three goals, making him the club’s leading goal scorer. He has scored them from eight shots, but they were the only shots on target he’s managed, meaning he has an accuracy of just 27%. Playing from midfield, Sidwell’s influence has been more in his passing. He has a completion rate of 83% with 424 of his 513 passes reaching their target. In the attacking zone of the pitch, he has completed 198 out of 267 passes which means he has a 74% completion rate. He may not be the most threatening player on the pitch but Sidwell could still cause some trouble for Everton if not watched carefully.
Everton are on a fantastic run of form just now and I can’t see that stopping any time soon. Fulham finally have a win under their belts after a run of mediocrity but it won’t save them against Everton this weekend. I think Everton will win 2-0.