Everton v. Fulham: A PreviewBy: Brian | March 17th, 2011
For Everton’s final game in March, the Toffees play host to Fulham at Goodison Park this Saturday. Everton will look to continue their form from the past few weeks that has seen 2 wins and a draw in league play boost the squad to 9th in the league. With a victory on Saturday, Everton could climb as high as seventh, but more importantly it will help the team move another three points from the drop zone.
Of course, Everton has recently been bitten by the injury bug with midfielder Mikel Arteta the latest to be sidelined with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for 6 weeks. With Tim Cahill still hurt along with Phil Neville being an uncertainty for the weekend, Everton will have to hope any replacement players can fill the void
Beckford – Saha
Osman – Heitinga – Rodwell – Coleman
Baines – Distin – Jagielka – Hibbert
With Phil Neville a doubt, it is likely that Tony Hibbert will once again get the start at right back. This will be a particularly challenging game for Hibbert with Bobby Zamora and Damian Duff constant threats to score. On the left side, Baines will be tasked with helping to contain American Clint Dempsey who has been a linchpin of Fulham’s success this season. In the central defense both Distin and Jagielka will have to improve upon their performance against Birmingham in order to help claim 3 points for Everton.
In the midfield, Heitinga is likely to get the start alongside Rodwell in the center, with Leon Osman the favorite to start out on the left, and Seamus Coleman will probably get the start on the right. The only possible change from this midfield could be Moyes’ decision to insert Billy into the lineup for either Heitina or Coleman if he wants a more attacking feel to the formation. As for Rodwell, there have been several reports of Manchester United planning a 25 million pound bid for the young star this summer, and it will be interesting to see how he responds this weekend. With the absence of Arteta it will be Rodwell’s job to step up and provide a forceful presence in the midfield.
Up top both Saha and Beckford are likely to get the start in the classic 4-4-2 formation that has worked well for the past few weeks. Although neither player scored against Birmingham, both players looked dangerous and worked hard during the game, and certainly have to be considered the favorites to score against Fulham.
Due to the change in time, Saturday’s game is at 1:30 pm ET, 5:30 in England, and can be found on ESPN in England, and Fox Soccer Channel in the US. Hope everyone enjoys the game, and until next time COYB!