Everton made two changes from the Birmingham draw with Tim Cahill returning to the forward line to support Saha and Neville restored to the midfield at the expense of Heitinga in a 4-4-2. Fulham lined up in a 4-4-2 with Dembele and Andy Johnson up front with dangerman Dempsey starting left midfield
A common misconception with our formation is that with Cahill we play 5 men in midfield, hence the often ‘4-5-1 at home Moyes’ shouts. If you look at the above average position map, Cahill (17) and Saha (8) are circled, notice how Cahill is actually playing further forward than Saha, so in essence a 4-4-2
Blues control the play in first half
Everton’s passing was sharp in the first half and Osman again was our architect in chief. The pint sized schemer is one of the best passers at the club, and has a pass completion of 75% for the season, including 4 assists, creating a chance every 68 minutes. This is still some way short of our top creator Baines who lays on a chance for a team mate every 51minutes.
Osman’s cross enabled Coleman to bury a header past Schwarzer’s outstretched right hand for our opening goal. In the build up to the goal, Hangeland, who once had a trail with the Blues, gets pulled out of position leading to Salcido covering his position centrally which thus leaves Coleman un marked at the back post. Coleman had a great game and registered 87% pass completion, well above the team average.
Passing Dashboard – Fulham made many more successful passes than the Blues and their pass completion in the 2nd period was much better than ours, although a lot of this was in front of our defence as our pressing higher up the pitch in the first half subsided once we had the 2 goal advantage.
Jack Rodwell has been the subject of great media interest this week and the young midfielder had a quiet afternoon, registering just 15 successful passes, non of which went into Fulham’s 18 box. Compare this with Baines who successfully delivered 49 passes, 7 of which were made into Fulham’s box. One of Rodwell’s few surges from midfield was to lead to the Blues second goal, as his run on goal was checked by Etuhu and the resulting free kick was slamming in by Saha after being teed up by Baines.
Fulham back in business
With the 2 goal advantage in the bag, Everton sat back and defended on our 18 yard line, with pressing pretty much non existent until Fulham reached 20-25 yards from our goal. This wasn’t helped by Heitinga replacing Cahill , when Beckford for me would have given us more of an out ball and enable us to get further up the pitch.
Fulham were camped in our half for most of the last 30 minutes and looked a lot more potent with Zamora now up front, Dembele on the left and the impressive Dempsey now occupying a more central role.
In the build up to Dempsey’s goal, the American had shifted from left mid inside, Rodwell is circled picking him up but gets caught ball watching enabling Dempsey to get the space required to get in a superb goal.
A well deserved victory for the Blues which gives us 10 points from the last 12 available. Great individual displays again from Baines and Coleman gave Everton more of a cutting edge than Fulham and ultimately this secured us the win here. COYB!