Preview: Everton vs. Fulham – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League clash between Everton and Fulham, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Everton and Fulham kick off their 2023-24 Premier League campaign with an encounter at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Cottagers head to Merseyside four months on from securing a 3-1 away victory against the Toffees courtesy of goals from Harrison Reed, Harry Wilson and the now departed Daniel James.

Match preview

Everton's Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates scoring their first goal with Conor Coady, Demarai Gray and Alex Iwobi on May 28, 2023© Reuters

Everton remain one of six clubs – along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – to have never been relegated from the Premier League since its inception in 1992 after narrowly avoiding the drop of the final day of last season.

A stunning Abdoulaye Doucoure strike sealed a slender 1-0 win over Bournemouth in May to help the Toffees finish 17th and two points above the bottom three, with manager Sean Dyche successfully steering the club to safety after replacing Frank Lampard in January.

Eleven weeks on from their final-day heroics at Goodison Park, Dyche is preparing his side for their season opener against Fulham and is seeking to make a positive start to his first full season in charge of Everton as they endeavour to avoid another gruelling relegation battle. However, that could prove challenging if they fail to improve their squad before next month’s transfer deadline.

Indeed, the cash-strapped Toffees have only signed 38-year-old Ashley Young on a free transfer and Arnaut Danjuma on loan so far this summer while watching a number of their Premier League rivals strengthen in several departments. Teenage forward Youssef Chermiti is closing in on a permanent move to the blue side of Merseyside, though, at the time of writing.

Although Everton enter the new season with a smaller squad than the one that avoided the drop last season, Dyche’s side enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season after winning four and drawing two of their six friendly fixtures, including a narrow 1-0 home win over Sporting Lisbon last weekend courtesy of a first-half strike from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Everton head into Saturday’s clash with Fulham having lost only one of their last 11 opening fixtures in a Premier League season, although they have been beaten in their last two home encounters with the Cottagers, conceding five goals in the process.

Fulham manager Marco Silva on April 22, 2023© Reuters

Fulham head into the 2023-24 campaign hoping to build on their impressive return to the Premier League last season in which they exceeded expectations with a top-10 finish, a year on from their Championship title triumph.

However, former Everton boss Marco Silva‘s side have endured a somewhat disjointed pre-season this summer, largely due to the uncertainty over the futures of key attacking duo Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian amid interest from clubs in Saudi Arabia.

After winning one and losing two of their three pre-season friendlies in the inaugural Premier League Summer Series in the USA, Fulham returned to home soil and beat German club Hoffenheim 2-1 last weekend, courtesy of goals from new recruits Raul Jimenez and Calvin Bassey – the club’s only two summer signings to date.

Fulham have developed an unwanted habit of making a slow start to a league season, as they have only won one of their last eight opening-weekend fixtures, failing to win any of their last three in the Premier League.

The Cottagers have also lost their only two previous encounters against Everton in the opening game of a top-flight season, although a record of three wins in their last five Premier League meetings with the Toffees bodes well ahead of Saturday’s fixture.

Everton pre-season form:

Fulham pre-season form:

Advert – content below:

Team News

 Everton's Dwight McNeil celebrates their third goal an own goal scored by Brighton & Hove Albion's Jason Steele on May 8, 2023© Reuters

Everton trio Dwight McNeil (ankle), Seamus Coleman (knee) and Dele Alli (hip) are all sidelined with injuries, while Danjuma and James Tarkowski are both doubtful – the latter of whom limped off towards the end of last weekend’s win over Sporting.

Injury prone Calvert-Lewin played for 45 minutes against Sporting as he continues to build up his fitness and while he is unlikely to play the full 90 versus Fulham, the striker should be able to lead the line from the off.

Vitaliy Mykolenko has also been gradually building up his fitness in pre-season after picking up an injury towards the end of last season, and he was given a 25-minute run-out last weekend. However, new recruit Young could be handed a start at left-back on Saturday.

Dyche interestingly used James Garner in a hybrid wing-back/midfield role against Sporting and the Toffees boss may consider using him in a similar role against Fulham, while it remains to be seen if Demarai Gray will feature amid links with a permanent move to none other than the Cottagers.

As for the visitors, key midfielder Joao Palhinha sustained a shoulder injury in a pre-season win over Brentford last month, and although Silva has confirmed that he has begun ball work on the training pitch, the Portuguese is not expected to return until the end of this month.

Tom Cairney is a major doubt with a muscle problem, so his potential absence along with Palhinha’s could see Sasa Lukic partner Harrison Reed in centre-midfield, with Andreas Pereira operating further forward in the number 10 role.

Despite being linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, Mitrovic – who came on for the final 22 minutes in last weekend’s win over Hoffenheim – could feature in some capacity on Saturday after Silva confirmed that the striker is “ready” to play and is ‘100% committed’ to the club.

Nevertheless, summer signing Jimenez may be given the nod to start up front, while fellow new recruit Bassey is set to battle with Issa Diop for a start at centre-back alongside captain Tim Ream.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Young; Garner, Gueye, Onana, Doucoure; Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Tete, Ream, Bassey, Robinson; Reed, Lukic; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez

SM words green background

We say: Everton 1-1 Fulham

Both clubs will be fired up to make a strong start to the new season and will fancy their chances of picking up all three points in Saturday’s encounter.

Only one draw has been played out between these two sides in the last 10 meetings across all competitions, but we believe a closely-fought contest could be on the cards at Goodison Park and we can see the spoils being shared on this occasion.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

ID:520857:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect14095:

Previews by email

Click here to get Sports Mole‘s daily email of previews and predictions for every major game!