After the joys of journeying by road to Hamburg, Roy Hodgson takes his squad the relatively shorter distance to Goodison Park this Sunday for a fixture that, on paper, looks to be a trifle difficult for us to get anything out of. But football can be a strange game can`t it?
Ahead of the fixture, Danny Murphy has summed up the importance of the next week, remarking,
“We`ve got to be careful what we do at Everton because it`s probably the biggest game in the club`s history next week and I`m sure we`ll be criticised whatever we do at the weekend.”
“Let`s hope people have some understanding of the situation.”
Well put Danny!
Everton Team News:
David Moyes takes his side into this fixture still chasing the possibility of a European place, with regards to availability, he has Fellaini, Heitinga and Gosling out injured.
But his squad is still packed with talent with the likes of Howard, Jagielka, Arteta, Saha, Pienaar and Cahill to give us plenty of trouble.
Player to watch: Louis Saha
A superb striker who served us well before moving onwards and upwards, so they say!
Fulham Team News:
(Sir) Roy, vitally aware that our second leg semi-final leg with Hamburg is this Thursday; may well be tempted to make a few changes ahead of this somewhat, for us, meaningless clash.
We doubt very much whether Bobby Zamora will be risked after being taken off with a niggling injury on Thursday night and we may see a few of our back four rested.
Also, Simon Davies may well miss out on a chance to face a former club as he battles with a painful rib injury.
Definitely not facing his former club will be Andrew Johnson who remains sidelined for the season.
One player looking to feature though is John Pantsil who has recovered form the knee injury he picked up at Stamford Bridge.
It`ll certainly be interesting to see what eleven Roy picks but don`t be too surprised if Kelly, Greening, Smalling, Nevland and Okaka feature.
Player to watch: John Pantsil
I`m desperate to see his name on that team sheet, I want to be sure it`s the same John who endeared himself so much to us with his fearless tackling and superb attitude. Give him a start Roy!
Match Facts & Stats
So how do the two teams normally fare when they meet?
Well poorly if you are Fulham who have yet to win a League match at Goodison Park in 21 attempts with the BBC kindly pointing out that it`s a mammoth 518 minutes since we`ve scored a goal on Merseyside when facing either Everton or Liverpool.
Better get ready for a 0-0 then!
In the reciprocating fixture, at Craven Cottage, Fulham emerged 2-1 winners.
The officials chosen to rule the roost are Phil Dowd (referee), Scott Ledger and Mick McDonough (assistants) and Lee Probert (fourth official)
With our away form being so bad can anyone see us pulling off a win at a ground where the hosts are playing really well? The best we can hope for is to emulate the recent feat of West Ham United and get a draw! Not too sure we will though I`m afraid.
Next Sunday should be fun, if things fall our way we could be the ones to send West Ham United down when they come to Craven Cottage! Teach them to moan about our weakened team would it not?