Infoinsport.com – Everton and Fulham will begin their 2023-24 Premier League campaign with a match at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Cottagers are heading to Merseyside four months after they secured a 3-1 away victory against the Toffees. This victory was achieved thanks to goals from Harrison Reed, Harry Wilson, and the recently departed Daniel James.
Everton continues to be one of the six clubs, namely Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur, that have never been relegated from the Premier League since it began in 1992, narrowly escaping relegation on the final day of last season.
In May, a magnificent goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure secured a narrow 1-0 victory against Bournemouth, enabling the Toffees to finish 17th and two points clear of the relegation zone. Manager Sean Dyche successfully guided the club to safety after taking over from Frank Lampard in January.
Eleven weeks have passed since their final-day heroics at Goodison Park, and Dyche is now getting his team ready for their season opener against Fulham. He hopes to make a strong start to his first full season as Everton’s manager and avoid another tough relegation battle. However, this could be difficult if they don’t enhance their squad before the transfer deadline next month.
The Toffees, who are experiencing financial difficulties, have only made two signings this summer – 38-year-old Ashley Young on a free transfer and Arnaut Danjuma on loan. Meanwhile, they have observed several of their Premier League competitors bolstering their squads in various areas. However, as of now, it appears that teenage forward Youssef Chermiti is on the verge of joining Everton permanently.
Despite having a smaller squad compared to the one that avoided relegation last season, Everton had a successful pre-season, remaining unbeaten by winning four matches and drawing two out of their six friendly games. This includes a tight 1-0 victory against Sporting Lisbon at home last weekend, thanks to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal in the first half.
Heading into their clash with Fulham on Saturday, Everton have only lost one of their last 11 opening fixtures in a Premier League season. However, they have suffered defeat in their previous two home matches against the Cottagers, conceding a total of five goals.
Dwight McNeil (ankle), Seamus Coleman (knee), and Dele Alli (hip) from Everton are currently unable to play due to injuries. Additionally, there is uncertainty regarding the availability of Danjuma and James Tarkowski, with the latter experiencing a limp at the conclusion of the previous weekend’s victory against Sporting.
Calvert-Lewin, who is prone to injury, played for 45 minutes in the match against Sporting as he works on improving his fitness. Although it is unlikely that he will play the entire 90 minutes against Fulham, the striker should be capable of leading the attack from the beginning.
Vitaliy Mykolenko has been gradually improving his fitness during the pre-season, as he suffered an injury towards the end of the previous season. Last weekend, he was given the opportunity to play for 25 minutes. Nonetheless, there is a possibility that the new player, Young, might be given a chance to start as a left-back on Saturday.
Dyche made an interesting decision to utilize James Garner in a dual position as a wing-back and midfielder during matches against Sporting. It is possible that the manager of Everton may contemplate employing a similar strategy for him in the upcoming game against Fulham. However, it is uncertain whether Demarai Gray will participate, especially considering the rumors of a potential permanent transfer to Fulham.
Regarding the visitors, Joao Palhinha, a crucial midfielder, suffered a shoulder injury during a pre-season victory against Brentford last month. Silva has stated that Palhinha has commenced ball exercises during training sessions, but it is anticipated that the Portuguese player will not be back until the conclusion of this month.
Tom Cairney’s potential absence, due to a muscle problem, and the uncertainty surrounding Palhinha’s availability may result in Sasa Lukic partnering Harrison Reed in centre-midfield. Additionally, Andreas Pereira might operate further forward in the number 10 role.
In spite of the rumors connecting Mitrovic to a transfer to Saudi Arabia, there is a possibility that he could play in some capacity on Saturday. Silva has confirmed that the striker is prepared to participate and fully devoted to the club.
However, there is a possibility that Jimenez, who was signed in the summer, will be chosen to start as a forward. Additionally, Bassey, another recent addition to the team, is expected to compete with Issa Diop for a starting position as a center-back alongside captain Tim Ream.
Lineup Everton vs Fulham
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Young; Garner, Gueye, Onana, Doucoure; Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Tete, Ream, Bassey, Robinson; Reed, Lukic; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez
Everton vs Fulham Prediction
The score of the Everton versus Fulham match was 1-1.
Both clubs will be enthusiastic about starting the new season strongly and will believe that they have a good chance of winning the match on Saturday and earning all three points.
In the previous 10 meetings, these two sides have only had one draw. However, we anticipate a closely contested match at Goodison Park and predict that the outcome will be a shared victory.