Date: 30th March 2014 at 2:23am
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On Sky

Everton put their hopes of 4th on the line as they travel to Craven Cottage to take on a Fulham side that will be desperate for the 3pts on Sunday. This week couldn’t have gone much better from an Everton perspective, the Toffees picked up maximum points with a 3-2 win over Swansea and a 3-0 win at Newcastle during the week, meanwhile 4th placed Arsenal failed to win any of their 3 games in the past week, which leaves the door slightly ajar for Everton to claim an unlikely Champions League spot. Fulham on the other hand suffered a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Man City, and at home, Everton should expect this Fulham side to fight for everything in front of their home fans and it will no doubt be a battle given just how valuable these 3pts are to each side.

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Martinez believes Everton will have to be close to perfect in the final set of games to grab that 4th place saying

‘We need a perfect finish. The big advantage we have is an extra game on the others, which makes a big difference, and we’ve got City, United and Arsenal at home. That doesn’t mean anything but if you’re going to face these teams in the final third of the season you want to face them at home. We’re just focusing on that and I still think if you get a certain amount of points [71] you’ve got a good chance of getting into the Champions League. I do feel if we finish strongly we’ll have a great opportunity to do something special.’

Fulham Team News:

Fulham will be without January signing Kostas Mitroglou who has a knee problem. Midfielder Scott Parker is also set to miss the match with a knee complaint. These two join Duff (knee), Briggs (hernia) and Burn (muscle) on the sidelines. Defender Fernando Amorebieta will also miss the match after picking up a red card in the loss to Man City. In some good news, Dejagah returns to the squad after missing the loss to Man City.

Possible Starting XI: Stockdale, Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Riise, Kvist, Dejagah, Kacaniklic, Sidwell, Holtby, Woodrow

Player to watch: Lewis Holtby

I am sure many Everton fans will know who this lad is, the self confessed Everton fan is on loan at Fulham from Spurs, and I thought he has done well given the game time he has had. For Fulham to get anything out of this game, Holtby is going to need to stand up against his boyhood club. Everton defenders and midfielders will need to monitor where Holtby is at all times, because when given time and space, he has the ability to pick holes through defences and also doesn’t have a bad shot on him

Everton Team News:

There weren’t any fresh injury concerns for Everton after the 3-0 win over Newcastle. The big question mark over the side will be who starts, Jagielka is fully fit, and will travel with the squad, the question will be whether Martinez decides to throw him straight back in after missing 5 games, or perhaps take a slower approach. The winger situation is also very unclear, it seems like Martinez does have some sort of rotation policy, however, the performance of Deulofeu against Newcastle might make Martinez rethink. Injury wise, Kone, Gibson and Pienaar are all out with a knee, Traore is still recovering from a hamstring injury and Oviedo continues his rehab from a broken leg.

Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu, Lukaku

Player to watch: Gerard Deulofeu

The on loan Barca star was brilliant in the win against Newcastle, the 19yr old tore the Newcastle defence apart as the fullback struggled with his pace and technique on the ball. Often maligned for his selfishness, Deulofeu played a vital part in every goal for Everton, which is pleasing, however it is still an area of his game he needs to work on. If Deulofeu can carry on this form, he will be a very dangerous weapon for Everton and possibly a big key to their hopes for 4th.

Match Facts & Stats

1. This fixture is very much home dominated, at Goodison, Everton have a 26 game unbeaten run against the Cottagers, however at Craven Cottage, the Toffees have only won twice in the past 12 visits.

2. Everton have already suffered defeat at the Cottage going down to Fulham 2-1 in the League Cup

3. Fulham have one of the worst home records in the league only picking up 13pts this season, added to that, they have only won once in their past 11 games, although that did come in their last home game against Newcastle

4. With the 3-0 over Newcastle midweek, Everton broke a 5 game winless run away from home, and the 3 goals they scored against Newcastle, was more than they had combined in those previous 5 away games.

5. The win against Newcastle meant Everton had won 4 league games in a row for the first time in nearly 6yrs

Match Prediction:

This is a massive match for both sides, for very different reasons, and you would expect both sides to be going at it from the first whistle. Everton had a sniff of Champions League football, and they know anything but 3pts could derail that hope, and for Fulham, they need points to avoid relegation. Our record has been very poor at Craven Cottage, however, this is a very different Fulham side to past seasons. Everton have been strong recently, winning 4 straight, and I just hope they can continue that streak and win 3-1 with Lukaku, Deulofeu and Mirallas scoring for Everton and Bent picking up his customary goal against Everton. COYB!!! MUST WIN GAME LADS!!! LETS GO AND GET THOSE 3PTS!!!