Here is the Everton starting lineup for the game against Fulham.
Before going into this, Ancelotti has confirmed that everyone is fit except Gbamin and Seamus Coleman, who picked up an injury in training for Ireland. Everton return to action after the international break, which gave the Toffees a well-needed break after a 3-match losing streak.
It’s been rough for Everton recently, some poor defensive performances and a lack of Richarlison caused the blues to go on a downwards spiral, losing to Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester United. One positive for fans is the return of Brazilian magician Richarlison, who served a 3-match ban after a horror tackle on Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
Fulham are currently 17th in the Premier League table, only winning 1 of their first 8 games, which may scare Fulham fans who were described as ‘not ready for the Premier League’ because Scott Parker is looking to build a project in the South West of London. A project which arguably needed another year in the Championship so the squad can develop, but due to Brentford’s form turning around at the worst time possible, it was Fulham who were promoted to the Premier League.
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This doesn’t mean that Fulham are a pushover side though, they’ve been able to fight their way into games recently which was shown by their recent fixtures, especially the 2-0 win over fellow relegation fighters West Brom and West Ham, the game against the Hammers arguably should’ve been a point for the boys in white, but a poor penalty attempt in the 98th minute by former Evertonian Ademola Lookman crushed Fulham’s chances of grabbing a point.
Fulham do have some dangerous players, the formerly mentioned Lookman arguably being the best of those, the 23-year old is currently averaging a 7.20 which is the highest in the squad, he’s also taking 2.8 shots per game, with 1.6 of those being in the penalty area, showing that the RB Leipzig loanee knows how to put himself in scoring positions. He also knows how to create for others, with his 3.6 dribbles, which puts him second to only Allan Saint-Maximin in the league, showing his ability to drive up the field and play a key pass, which he’s averaging around 1.8 per game.
It’s easy to argue that Lookman has been one of the standout young players in the entire league this year, but Fulham also have other dangerous players, with Zambo Anguissa arguably being the other standout alongside the English wideman. Anguissa is actually just behind Lookman in dribbles, with an average of 3.5, but this also shows that Fulham really rely on good performances from these two players, and if the Toffees can close them down then it could be a bad night for Scott Parker’s men
Here is my predicted starting XI for the return game against the Cottagers:
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
It’s been a turbulent start to the season for Pickford, as it usually is when he’s wearing an Everton shirt, but his performances haven’t been awful to say we’ve lost 3 games in a row.
Jordan started the season quite well, but ever since his accidental collision with Liverpool’s star defender Virgil Van Dijk, and the unnecessary abuse from Liverpool fans and the media which has caused his form to dip, but after a solid international break with the Three Lions, Pickford is looking to prove why he is the number 1 for Everton and England with a solid performance this Sunday.
We’ve seen glimpses of how talented he is this season, see the save against Joel Matip in the Merseyside Derby, which shows that he does have the ability to be a top keeper in the league, the problem is that he seems to easily get rattled by the opposition if they manage to put some pressure on him.
This is something that can be fixed and the solid performance of Robin Olsen against Newcastle may put the type of pressure that Pickford needs to go to that next level because Everton finally have a suitable replacement if he continues to underperform at club level.