Know your enemy: Fulham Deconstructed / Betting Preview

Fulham’s Narrow Midfield

In terms of midfield shape, Duff will operate on the right but is naturally left footed so will tuck inside and Dempsey will also come in from the left flank. The tricky Dembele (4th most dribbles per game in the top flight) will play centrally behind former toffee target Pogrebnyak. The defensive midfield slots will be occupied by the former Real Madrid star Diarra and Danny Murphy. Thus, Fulham play very narrow and attack through the middle (39%) more than any side in the top flight which is in contrast to ourselves who attack predominantly down the flanks (75%) – only Wolves use width more than us for attacking situations in the top flight.

Down the left they will look to Riise to provide some natural width by getting forward with Dempsey, who has plundered 59% of Fulham’s goals –  a league high – will tuck inside to support the forward players. The image (right) shows Dempsey (circled) doing this angled run inside  in our fixture last season at Goodison as he escapes Rodwell to slot Fulham’s solitary goal.

Toffee Tactics & Selection

The interesting selection issue for ourselves will centre on whether Moyes sticks with Fellaini further forward in the attack/midfield pivot role or if Cahill returns and Neville steps out. The smart money would be on Moyes keeping things as they were last week at Old Trafford.

I’d guess the sides will line up something like this….

By pushing MF further forward you lose some bite in midfield but you gain the advantage of being able to use his energy to press better higher up field which is especially useful against sides who play out from the back like it was with Man United (and fulham). For the midweek game against Stoke its probably less worthwhile given that there is less opportunity to press in these zones given that stoke kick long from the keeper and thus bypass defenders. With Fulham’s tight midfield shape I wouldn’t be surprised if Coleman came on at some stage to stretch things more down the right flank.

Betting

Given Fulham’s away games yielding the fewest goals in the top flight (1.88 per game) and our home games providing the fewest goals (2.06 per game) the logical bet would appear an under 2.5 goals punt. However, in the last 4 meetings between the clubs the average goals has been 3 with both teams scoring on each occasion. The last 3 at Goodison have been 2-1 wins for the Blues. With Jelavic in the ranks we have been much more free scoring with more goals in our last 5 Premier League games (14) than in our previous 17 matches (13).  Jelavic is obviously the logical choice in the scoring markets – the ruthless Croat has needed just 47 touches to net 44 goals for Rangers / Everton in the last 12 months –  and willie hills will offer you 8/5 on a jelavic goal anytime / everton win double…Betfred offers the same bet at 5/2 which appears the best odds. NJ last scorer and Everton win double is 11/2 at Hills. Good luck!!

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