Everton 2-1 Fulham


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!

Player Focus: Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines is not your conventional Premier League footballer. He certainly doesn’t fit into the identikit Nando’s scoffing, Chinawhites partying, media savvy wideboy who dominate the landscape of Premier League footballers. Baines is a quiet kid who lets his football do the talking, with one of his few ventures into the media being his fantastic music blog in which he refreshingly reveals his favoured bands as Pink Floyd, the Velvet Underground and The Coral….with no mention of Phil Collins.

The Left sided marauder was on  the Toffees’ books as a teenager, but eventually joined  Wigan’s school of excellence and made his senior debut at the age of 17 for the Latic’s. After earning rave reviews at the JJB, notably for a delicious 30 yard free kick against Manchester United, he was rewarded with a big money move to L4. Baines has improved season on season, and he finished the last campaign on song, recording nine assists – the highest number for a Premier League defender in the last decade. In this campaign he has already matched that figure and its not surprising when you look at the positions he gets into high up field. The below screenshot is a nice example of the telepathy Baines had with the now departed Pienaar, bombing up the wing in the space created by the South African dragging his marker inside.

Everton’s left side has been our key strength and significant weakness this season. The reasons behind this have been talked about on the blog week in week out, but the below charts get the message across quite succinctly….

*Origin is determined as the source of the goal, so for instance Beckford’s goal v Blackpool was from a left wing cross so would be classed as left. Sturridge’s goal for Bolton was from an up and under from the centre circle so will be classed as Central.

Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra have been the benchmark left backs in the Premier League for several years now, and below is a snapshot analysis of their statistics this season in comparison to Leighton Baines. There is also a short analysis on the key findings broken down into crossing accuracy, tackling and passing.

Crossing Accuracy

Baines wide delivery has been superb this campaign, with seven of the nine assists coming from crosses, 4 of which where despatched by the head of expert aerial exponent Tim Cahill. Indeed, the Baines/Cahill partnership has directly combined to produce 13 goals in the last 2 ½ seasons for the Blues. His range of delivery means he is just as adept at drilling crosses from the touchline for someone to run onto like Saha, or high curling deliveries 40 yards from goal onto the head of Cahill. There is clearly a greater emphasis on Everton getting the ball into the box to play to our strengths, highlighted by the below chalkboard where Baines whips deliveries into the 18 yard box with great regularity as opposed to Cole (8 v 1 Baines advantage) and Evra (8 v 3 Baines advantage)

Baines v Cole/Evra this season Passing Chalkboards….


Baines tackling completion this campaign stands at 71%, which is a 6 % improvement on his figures last term, although still behind Evra, who steams in at 77% completion. Baines has been amongst Everton’s top 3 tacklers for most of the campaign, with only Seamus Coleman and Marouanne Fellaini currently boasting a better completion rating.

Baines tackling in away games at Fulham & Villa, winning 6 of his 7 tackles in both matches – Successful tackles in blue, unsuccessful in red


In terms of passing, Baines is lagging behind Cole who boasts an impressive 88% pass completion. At 74% completion Baines passing is decent for Everton, with our average pass completion per game this season just under 75% with our opponent’s average 69%. To put that into context, Iniesta from Barca’s pass completion is 89% with the La Liga average around the 82% marker for this season.

In terms of creative passing, Baines creates an opportunity for an opponent 1.7 times per game. This is a 0.6 improvement on his rate from the season we reached the Cup Final in 2008/9. This figure is also considerably better than Cole who averages a key pass 1.0 per game and Evra 0.9 per game. In fairness to Cole and Evra, Baines is arguably our key creative force this campaign with Pienaar gone and Arteta out of sorts, so our tactics are often manipulated to get Baines into opportunities higher upfield, whilst United & Chelsea have more players capable of a creative spark in their ranks.