Match Preview: Fulham v Everton

Michael Regan

Fulham host Everton Sunday and both clubs have something to play for, albeit at very different ends of the table. Felix Magath is running out of chances to diffuse the Fulham bomb before it goes off and blows the West London club all the way into the League Championship. Can Fulham get a result Sunday?

Felix Magath is currently huddled over the Fulham bomb trying to work out which wires to cut to diffuse the damned thing before it goes off and lands the club in the League Championship. Last week's demolition at the hands of Manchester City was one more tick of the clock and now only seven remain.

As with Manchester City, Everton represent  a challenge the Cottagers aren't favored to best, but the club simply must pull unlikely points from the likes of Everton and Tottenham if they are to beat the drop. In spite of the 5-0 drubbing in Manchester, Fulham currently sit only four points from safety, and can nullify somewhat the games-in-hand possessed by Sunderland, Crystal Palace, and West Brom and put themselves in an advantageous position to take advantage of their favorable run-in to the end of the season if they can find a way to get even one point against the Toffees Sunday.

Unfortunately, Everton are embroiled in their own scrap for fourth position and the Champions League and will be looking to dispatch Fulham quickly and efficiently before their next match against Arsenal on April 6th. Roberto Martinez has quickly put his characteristically classy stamp on Everton this season and his side is currently playing some of the most attractive, fluid football in the league. Did you see Ross Barkley's masterpiece against Newcastle? It was as good as the first time I saw it when Kevin Mirallas did it last season against Stoke.

As dynamic as Everton's attacking players have sometimes looked this season, the worrying issue for Fulham is that the Toffees have conceded more than one goal in a match only seven times this campaign, and two of those instances were courtesy of Liverpool, who could score against a bricked up goal at the moment. Simply put, Fulham must aim for the clean sheet if they are to have any chance of winning even a point in this match.

Unfortunately, injuries and suspension have limited Magath's options for Sunday's match, and with Dan Burn injured and Fernando Amorebieta suspended, Fulham will have to adjust across the back yet again. The bright side to this is that John Heitinga will likely move back centrally to partner Brede Hangeland and the Sascha Riether midfield experiment might be put on hold.

Fulham will also be without Scott Parker, and Kostas Mitroglou, a 12 million beacon of hope just two months ago, is still apparently unfit and is rapidly approaching "Worst Signing In Club History" territory. For their part, Everton will be absent Steven Pienaar, although Phil Jagielka may be available for selection.

Cut the blue wire, Felix!

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