Everton Preview

Thursday 18 November 2004

Fulham travel north to Merseyside on Saturday, hoping to put the recent defeat to Chelsea behind them. Playing host to the Whites is a buoyant Everton side, basking in the glory of a top three placing in the Premiership and looking to keep the heat on Chelsea and Arsenal.

Despite the off-pitch drama at the beginning of the season, culminating in the sale of prize-asset Wayne Rooney, David Moyes has managed to fashion an organised and hard-working team capable of beating anyone on their day.

Central to most of the Toffees' good play is their Danish playmaker Thomas Gravesen. The schemer scored the winner for the Merseysiders against Birmingham last weekend and is sure to pose Fulham a lot of problems on Saturday with his midfield promptings.

Gravesen has now bagged three goals for himself, has provided assists for three other goals and has also set-up 22 goal-scoring chances for his team-mates, the fourth best tally in the top tier this term.

Central to Chris Coleman's plans on Saturday will be fleet-footed attacker Luis Boa Morte. The Portuguese wide-man has been in impressive form this season, hitting five goals and providing the assist for four others. All five of Boa Morte's goals have come from his trusty left-boot, a tally not matched by another player in the top tier.

The former Arsenal man's penchant for running at defenders should also pose problems for Everton. Boa Morte is Fulham's most successful dribbler, having successfully jinked past opponents 19 times this season

Hoping to benefit from Boa Morte's attacking play will be Andrew Cole. The veteran Premiership poacher has enjoyed a new lease of life since moving to west London and has already hit the back of the net an impressive five times this term.

Cole and Co. will need to be at their best to outwit an Everton back-line that has conceded only 11 goals this season, a record only bettered by Chelsea and Manchester United. The Toffee's back four have also made more clearances - 536 - than any other team this season.

However, despite their current good form, Everton have struggled at home in the Premiership against London clubs, managing to win just one of their last seven home games against teams from the capital.

It was only a fortnight ago that the Whites put four past Newcastle at St James' Park. This time, Chris Coleman will travel back to the north confident that his London team can bag another valuable away victory and bring high-flying Everton back down to earth with a thud.