Key player: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Much fanfare surrounded the acquisition of Richarlison from Watford over the summer, but while he’s hardly disappointed in his debut season for the Toffees with 12 goals and two assists, at 21-years-old he’s still learning his trade and has some work to do before fully justifying the £35m (possibly rising to £50m) that they paid for him.
The more experienced Gylfi Sigurdsson is at 29 in his prime years, and though he’s registered a similar 12 goals and four assists this term, he’s highly influential in their build-up play and makes this side tick.
Since signing for them at the start of last season, Everton have won just 21% of the 14 games the Iceland international has missed, compared with 39% when he starts, while they’ve netted 1.37 goals per game with him in the side, which drops to a woeful 0.79 in his absence.
Weak link: Tom Davies
It’s harsh to pick on the youngster while he’s learning on the job, but the 20-year-old should find himself drafted into the side with on-loan Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes suspended for three games owing to violent conduct, while ex-United man Morgan Schneiderlin is a doubt to recover in time.
Gomes may be surplus to requirements in Catalonia, but he’s been a reliable force for the Toffees in the middle and is an upgrade on Davies (or indeed Schneiderlin), while he’s more comfortable on the ball to boot.
The youngster hasn’t quite progressed as some hoped he might this season, and while failing to nail down a regular starting spot won’t have helped his cause, he’s yet to register a goal or an assist in 16 appearances this term (he played over an hour in 11 of them and the full 90 minutes in nine).
First goal crucial
Fulham haven’t done a lot right this season, but they did beat Everton 2-0 last weekend to end a run of three consecutive victories for the Toffees.
That result leaves Marco Silva’s men in ninth place in the table, whereas they would have gone up to seventh with just a draw as Leicester, Wolves and Watford all succumbed to defeats.
However, it continues a trend this season where the Toffees have failed to win a single game in which they conceded first, losing 12 of 15 such matches across all competitions, with one of the stalemates in the League Cup against Southampton as they went on to exit on penalties anyway.
*all odds are subject to change