Danny Murphy has seen more of Fulham than I have, and thinks they’ve bought much more sensibly than last time they came up, and have improved defensively of late. Like any selfish football fan, I hope they stay up because I love going to Craven Cottage to say nothing of the standard of hostelries in the locale.
Something to nourish your jelly-stuff:
That is an extract from this, in which you can also find Barney Ronay, Scott Murray and John Brewin.
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Tangentially, QPR beat Liverpool to reach that final, Liverpool contriving two own-goals in the second leg of the semi.
Simple but classic.
Especially given it was replaced with this.
Especially given it didn’t previously exist (but Malcolm Shotton’s did, oh yes).
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I’m very much enjoying the mustache feature above, so here’s a favourite of mine.
But otherwise, let’s have a chat about what it all means. Scott E. Parker has Mario Lemina available again, so he comes back into midfield with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa dropping out, while in attack, Ivan Cavaleiro replaces Aleksandr Mitrovic.
As for Everton, Richarlison returns for Bernard, who scored last time out, Gylfi Sigurdsson is replaced by Alex Iwobi, while Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina come in for Mason Holgate and Seamus Coleman.
There’s some hope here for Fulham. Unless Everton are playing 3-5-2, Godfrey will be at right-back, where he was given an absolute going-over by Southampton a couple of games ago; what better way for Lookman to redeem himself than by getting stuck into that?
Everton, meanwhile, will benefit from the ball-carrying of Iwobi, even if his decision-making needs attention.
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And then I presume we all thought about Ademola Lookman. It will have been a long international break for him.
Fulham (a good, honest, old-fashioned 4-2-3-1): Areola; Aina, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Robinson; Reed, Lemina; Lookman, Cairney, Cavaleiro; Reid. Subs: Rodak, Odoi, Ream, Bryan, Anguissa, Loftus-Cheek, Mitrovic.
Everton (a continental 4-4-expletive-2): Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Digne; Iwobi, Doucouré, Allan, James; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. Subs: Olsen, Holgate, Davies, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Tosun.
VAR’s straight man: Andy Madley (Huddersfield)
It’s only November, but this is an absolutely colossal game. Fulham are fourth-bottom of the table, and I’m sure they’d be happy to still be there in mid-May, but the portents are not positive. That they have not looked good since getting promoted is only part of it – just as troubling for them is that below them are Burnley and Sheffield United, better teams with better players and better managers, who can legitimately be expected to improve, and above them are Brighton, Leeds, Newcastle and West Ham, better teams with better players and better managers. Which is to say that we’re watching a change in the Premier League this season: the majority of bottom-half sides can give all top-half sides a proper sorting.
So Fulham need to get some points and fast, and in theory, a home game with Everton, who’ve lost three games in a row, is a decent candidate. Except those three defeats have coincided with the suspension of Richarlison who, for all the artistry of James Rodríguez, goals of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and dark arts of Allan is still the team’s best and most important player. He’s back today, and there’s a fair chance he’ll make a decisive difference.
Oh, and it’s live on BBC1!
Kick-off: 12pm GMT
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