Everton v Fulham

Friday 15 March 2002

Fulham will arrive at Goodison Park in buoyant mood having edged past Division One high-flyers West Bromwich Albion last time out and booked their place in the last four of the FA Cup.

Jean Tigana has established a regular core of 11 players, which has led to stability and a consolidated position in the middle of the table.

The Cottagers' precision passing game has seen them link up with 69% of their distribution in the opposition half - four percentage points better than the Blues and marginally above the Premiership average. Frenchman Steed Malbranque has proved an astute signing and his tally of seven goal assists is the highest at the club - the Toffees would do well to cut off this supply line in order to stifle the visiting attack.

Furthermore there's not a great deal to choose between the teams in terms of attacking and defensive nous, with Fulham achieving a slightly superior record in both areas. This implies that the points could go to the side that dominates the centre of the field and with Everton playing at home, the onus will be on the hosts to get a stranglehold.

However, Gary Naysmith is the only Toffee to have attempted more than a century of tackles, whereas both John Collins and Sylvain Legwinski have passed the hundred mark for Fulham this season. Ultimately slick passing and assertive challenges, combined with a confident streak, could prove enough to see Tigana's side through.

After losing to Middlesbrough last weekend there will be no trip to Cardiff for the Everton faithful, although given the team's perilous league position, every home game between now and the end of the season will carry the importance of an FA Cup final.

Disgruntled Blues fans were calling for the head of manager Walter Smith after the catastrophic defeat at the Riverside and they finally got their wish on Tuesday night when the Everton board pulled rank on the Scotsman.

The Toffees are level on points with third-from-bottom Bolton and still have to contest crunch games against four of the five teams below them in the table. Given that Everton have won only once on their Premiership travels this season - on the opening day at The Valley - it is fundamental that they pick up maximum points on home turf, starting with Fulham on Saturday.

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS



Everton go into the home game against Uefa Cup chasing Fulham under new management in David Moyes, and with only goal difference separating them from a place in the bottom three.

Chairman Bill Kenwright will be looking to the Toffees for all three points after acquiescing to the fans wishes to dispense with manager Walter Smith.

The Merseysiders may have opted for a change at the top, but Fulham are ironically going through their worst League run under Jean Tigana. Although the Cottagers won a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup with a 1-0 success at West Brom last time out, they have lost their last four Premiership clashes.

Since beating Sunderland in mid January, the Toffees have drawn four and lost three in the Premiership. Failure to take maximum points here will mean they had equalled an eight match winless run between 2 October and 4 December, 1999 (5 draws, 3 losses).

The dismissals of Luis Boa Morte of Fulham and David Weir of Everton and a mass brawl marred the reverse fixture in December. Barry Hayles netted both in Fulham's 2-0 win.

This is the Londoners' 14th League visit to Goodison and they're still looking for their first win.
Should Fulham manage it, they would record their first 'double' of the season and inflict on Everton a second home and away blank after defeats by Manchester United.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

TOTAL: 32 - Everton wins 12 Fulham wins 10 Draws 10.

HEAD TO HEAD NOTES

Fulham's first Premiership match at Everton.

The Merseysiders, who hold an unbeaten home League record over the Cottagers, have won their last eight home League games against them.

Having won the reverse fixture, Fulham are on course for a first ever League 'double' over the Toffeemen.

EVERTON

Current League position 16th 30 points. Above drop zone by goal difference only

Best Scenario at final whistle up 1 to 15th - If win.

Worst Scenario at final whistle down 2 to 18th - If lose, while Ipswich [away to Newcastle] and Bolton [home to Derby] at least draw.

Sequences

LOST LAST 2 [1 Prem, 1 FAC]

NOT SCORED IN LAST 3 [290 mins / 4 hrs 50 mins]

7 PREMIERSHIP GAMES WITHOUT VICTORY [4 draws, 3 losses]

LOST LAST 2 HOME LEAGUE GAMES

NOT WON IN 4 HOME GAMES - 3 Prem, 1 FAC [2 draws, 2 defeats]

Recent Form

1 win in last 9 League and Cup games

Won 1 of last 13 Premiership matches

Drawn 4 of last 9 in all competitions

4 draws in last 7 top flight encounters

Lost 2 of last 6 domestic confrontations

3 defeats in last 5 top division duels

Failed to score in 5 of last 7 contests

Failed to find the net in 4 of last 6 League clashes

3 clean sheets in last 9

Managed 1 clean sheet in last 5 top tier League outings

12 CLEAN SHEETS - 10 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 15 TIMES - 13 in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 0

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 1

1 RED CARD - in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 0

Potential Career Milestones

Kevin CAMPBELL is a hat trick away from 100 goals in English club football

Mark PEMBRIDGE needs a brace to record 50 career League goals

If he plays, Gary NAYSMITH will be making his 50th appearance for Everton

TOFFEES NOTES

Last win was 2-1, away to Crewe in the FA Cup Fifth Round Replay on 26 February, 2002.
Last home win was 4-1 against Leyton Orient in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup on 26 January, 2002.

Last Premiership win was 1-0 at home to Sunderland on 12 January, 2002.

Won fewest away Premiership games - 1.

"Lost the lead" only twice in the Premier League encounters this term.

Committed 486 fouls in Premiership matches this season - that's more than any other club, according to the FA Barclaycard information sheet.

FULHAM

Current League position 11th 35 points, 5 places and 11 points below top 6, 7 places and 5 points above bottom 3

Best Scenario at final whistle up 3 to 8th - If win by 5 clear goals, and West Ham [home to Man U] do no more than draw.

Worst Scenario at final whistle down 3 to 14th - If lose, while Southampton [home to Leicester] and Middlesbrough [home to Liverpool] at least draw and Sunderland [away to Chelsea] win.

Sequences

LOST LAST 4 PREMIERSHIP GAMES

LOST LAST 4 AWAY LEAGUE GAMES

GONE 7 SINCE A DRAW

Recent Form

1 win in last 5 League and Cup games

Won 1 of last 8 Premiership matches

Drawn 1 of last 10 in all competitions

1 draw in last 7 top flight encounters

Lost 5 of last 9 domestic confrontations

5 defeats in last 7 top division duels

Failed to score in 1 of last 7 contests

Failed to find the net in 3 of the last 7 League clashes

3 clean sheets in last 8

Managed 2 clean sheets in last 9 top tier League outings

15 CLEAN SHEETS - 12 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 11 TIMES - all in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 0

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 2

2 RED CARDS - all in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 2 Steve Finnan, Steed Malbrangue

STARTED EVERY GAME: 1 Steve Finnan

Potential Career Milestones

Barry HAYLES is a double strike away from 50 goals for Fulham

If he plays, Bjarne GOLDBAEK will be making his 100th appearance in English League football

If he figures, Paul TROLLOPE will be making his 100th appearance for the Cottagers

FULHAM NOTES

Lost the last four Premiership games against Middlesbrough (2-1, A, 19 Feb), Arsenal (4-1, A, 23 Feb), Liverpool (0-2, H, 2 Mar), and Chelsea (3-2, A, 6 Mar).

Last Premiership win was 2-0 at home to Blackburn on 9 February, 2002.

Last Premiership away win was 0-1 at Derby on 2 January, 2002.

One of five clubs to have drawn most home Premiership matches - 6. The others are Leeds, Aston Villa, Bolton and Leicester.

Notched more goalless draws than any other club in the top flight this season - 6.

Caught offside 60 times and committed 341 fouls in Premiership matches this season - that's fewer than any other club on both counts, according to the FA Barclaycard information sheet.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE, GRAHAM BARBER, Tring, Hertfordshire