Both of these sides are undergoing transitional periods, albeit Fulham’s is a little more recent than their opponents. The Cottagers are still trying to adjust to life under Rene Meulensteen, while Everton are flying and look like they could seriously threaten the top four as they sit in 5th position.
Even though Roberto Martinez carved out a fantastic reputation at Wigan, there were still doubts whether he could take such success to Merseyside. At the moment, all such doubts have been well and truly quashed and Toffees fans surely can’t believe their luck with their side currently sat just seven points away from top spot. In their last game, they showed that they can compete with the best following a well-earned 1-1 draw at Arsenal, while in the one before that they dispatched of the reigning Premier League champions Manchester United in 1-0 fashion. When you also combine a recent 3-3 scoreline against Liverpool and a 4-0 thrashing of Stoke in recent weeks, it’s clear for all to see that Martinez’s men are in the form of their lives. Additionally, the club are one of just a few sides who are still unbeaten at home, which must provide them with plenty of confidence ahead of this tie.
Fulham on the other hand have struggled immensely this term, although their supporters will be buoyed following their most recent game where they recorded a 2-0 win over Aston Villa. That result stopped a dismal run of seven straight losses and at least gives them a chance to exit the bottom three this weekend. It’s only goal difference that keeps them down there, so new manager Meulensteen will be hoping that they can use their recent win as a platform to build on. He’ll also be hoping that the Cottagers can tap into some positive away form during the early parts of the season, where they recorded victories on the road against the likes of Sunderland and Crystal Palace. Whether or not they can achieve such a feat against loftier opponents remains to be seen, though.
If we turn to team news, Everton have a couple of absentees with the Toffees first without influential midfielder James McCarthy as he serves his one-game suspension. Tony Hibbert will also miss out as he struggles with a knee complaint, meaning that Roberto Martinez will have to make changes from the side that has performed so well of late. It’s all positive for Fulham in contrast, with the Cottagers welcoming back Darren Bent and Fernando Amorebieta following hamstring issues.
Fulham’s recent win has really thrown the cat amongst the pigeons in the bottom three and could give them confidence to take more points in the coming weeks. While Everton have been in fantastic form, we think that their opponents will be travelling with confidence and subsequently predict a 1-1 scoreline at Goodison Park.