With Everton taking a trip down south to face bottom of the league Fulham, we take a look at the side that is likely to feature.
David Stockdale – GK
Felix Magath has gone with Stockdale in the last two games after Steklenberg was hardly pulling up any trees. The English goalkeeper has only started 12 goals, keeping 2 clean sheets. When he has featured, they’ve won 4 games, drawing 1 and losing 7. Is this poor figure down to him? Not really, he has a leaky defence ahead of him.
Sacha Riether – RB
Last season things looked all rosy for Riether. He came into the Fulham side as a loan player and made a good impact in their team. By the end of the season he won player’s player of the season and looked an astute signing from then manager Martin Jol. This season he’s suffered. He doesn’t feature in the top 10 of any of their defensive statistics such as the basics of tackling, interceptions or clearances. He’s just one of the reasons they are where they are in the league this season. He’s good on the ball, but they don’t need that right now, they need defensive solidarity.
Brede Hangeland – CB
The tall Norweigan centre-back was another that in recent seasons gone by looked to be a top signing for the Cottagers. Brought in by Roy Hodgson, it only took a season or two for people to praise and rate Hangeland and then for the media to try and sell him to Arsenal or Man United. He was out for nearly 3 months after sustaining a back injury in October. The club captain was missed, however he hasn’t managed to stop the rot since returning.
John Heitinga – CB
The man we know so well. Toward the end of his Everton career he was being hounded out as he had that terrible run in the side where he was bullied by anyone with any sort of physical prowess. He doesn’t like the physicality and since he’s joined their side, he’s posted even worse figures in terms of tackling. Both centre-backs prefer to intercept rather than make the challenge, so dribbling could be the Blues’ best bet in this one.
John Arne Riise – LB
Former Kopite Riise is living off past glories. There’s a surprise. Once known for his pace and power going forward while being able to defend moderately well, all of these attributes have declined. Since losing his pace he doesn’t offer too much going forward and his defensive capabilities are tested every game, something he doesn’t stand up to too often.
William Kvist – CM
The combative Dane midfielder has made four appearances since joining Meulensteen’s Fulham side, before seeing Meulensteen strangely getting the chop just two weeks later. He’s done well, coming into a side that are relegation threatened. He leads their interceptions made per game and makes a decent amount of tackles to go with it. He does get dribbled past quite often and this is an area to target.
Steve Sidwell – CM
The only player to really stand up and be counted this season and he’s another fiesty midfielder. Loves a goal against Everton too. He’s second in tackles and interceptions made per game, so he’s pretty vital to their side. He’s their leading scorer, with 6 goals, so he’s good at arriving late into the box. 0 assists doesn’t show any signs of him being that creative.
Lewis Holtby – RM
‘Lifelong Blue’ (NOT) Lewis Holtby was an unexpected loan signing to the rest of the Premier League. Since joining he makes the most key passes in games, leading to two assists and a goal in six league games. He likes to win fouls near the area, much like our very own Steven Pienaar, so he’s one to watch out for.
Pajtim Kasami – CAM
The Albanian will probably be their biggest threat going forward. He’s physical but also good with his feet. He prefers to try and go round people and get the shot off, than to feed in another member of his team. 0 assists follow this type of method but he has managed to score 3 goals, currently their second highest goalscorer.
Alexander Kacaniklic – LM
More of an out-and-out winger than Holtby, Kacaniklic has struggled against Everton in recent games. He’s found it hard to even attack with our over-bearing wingplay getting on top of his game when he comes to face us. He did win a penalty in the reverse fixture this season however. He’s one of their best crossers of the ball, but apart from that he again doesn’t offer too much in terms of end product as he’s yet another Fulham ‘attacking’ player with 0 assists.
Cauley Woodrow – ST
Magath has gone for youngster Woodrow in the previous two games. A big challenge that was successful in their win over Newcastle, however not so successful in their 5-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium. He’s enthusiastic, but in his two games he’s been their most dispossessed player and they could really do with someone to hold the ball up.