Everton v Fulham, 15:00
– Everton’s European ambitions took a major dent last weekend as they fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
– Much of the goal-scoring pressure for the remainder of this season will continue to fall on the shoulders of Victor Anichebe. Whilst his strength often helps him to carve out chances for others, he has been equally as effective when fashioning shooting attempts for himself as well. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index Anichebe has the best minute to shot ratio in the Toffees’ squad, taking on average just 32.5 minutes to have an attempt of goal when he’s been on the field of play.
– Kevin Mirallas is another who has been in inspired form in recent weeks, proving to be yet another bargain find who has the quality to shine in the Premier League by David Moyes. The Belgian forward has the best shot accuracy rate in the entire Everton squad, at 73.7% from 57 attempts.
– However such attacking talents would not be able to flourish without consistency at the back and that is exactly what Phil Jagielka has brought to the table this season. The centre-back has had a towering season from a defensive perspective, establishing the best tackle success rate (83.6% from 67 challenges) for any player in the league who has made more than 65 tackles.
– Marint Jol’s Fulham suffered a 0-1 defeat at home to Arsenal last time out, a result that will have frustrated fans and players alike given that the Cottagers were the better side for large parts of the game.
– Steve Sidwell’s dismissal last weekend was an unfortunate summary of his defensive track record for his season so far. His defensive ill-discipline has been letting him down this season, demonstrated by the fact that he currently sits 7th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for midfielders to have committed the most fouls this season with 51.
– Despite finding game time somewhat limited this season, Mladen Petric has excelled when he has found himself involved. He has the best minutes to on-target ratio of any player in the Fulham squad, mustering up an effort to test the keeper on average once every 46 minutes, proving that there is life beyond Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodellaga.
– Brede Hangeland remains Fulham’s defensive titan this season and will need to be at the peak of his powers against an Everton side pushing for European qualification. The giant centre-half has taken on average just 8.9 minutes to make a defensive contribution this season.