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Premier League

  • December 14, 2013
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 33796

Premier League Preview: Everton - Fulham

Premier League Preview: Everton - Fulham

The Toffees are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games but Roberto Martinez has urged his side to be on guard against Rene Meulensteen's men.

Roberto Martinez has warned his in-form Everton side not to take Fulham lightly in Saturday's Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.

The Merseyside club followed up its first win at Manchester United in 21 years by holding league leader Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Martinez's men have had praise ringing in their ears due to their attractive brand of soccer under the Spaniard.

Fifth-place Everton boasts an unbeaten home record and put Stoke City to the sword last time out at Goodison Park as Mark Hughes' men were beaten 4-0. But Martinez expects Fulham to be a different proposition under Rene Meulensteen, who secured his first win since replacing Martin Jol against Aston Villa on Monday.

The former Wigan manager said: "We are so excited about performances we've had so far. The upcoming fixture is vital for us now, that’s the only focus we should have as a football club. To have a full Goodison Park is always a good advantage.

"We have created a very consistent level throughout the season, to be halfway through with one defeat shows we are carrying momentum but Fulham are different in the way they approach the game. They have been galvanized by Rene Meulensteen.

"He's someone who is an innovative coach, he has incredible experience of the British game and has always brought different approaches and angles [to training]. I do feel that he's someone who can bring a lot to Fulham. We'll have to be at our best to compete.

"It’s a big ask to maintain a top-four challenge but Saturday is the only thing that matters. We've been on a real high and it is difficult to maintain standards and play a game where expectation is high. [Playing Manchester United and Arsenal] was a real test and I think we passed it with flying colors, which gives us inner belief and inner strength."

Everton midfielder James McCarthy serves a one-match ban, so Leon Osman is set to start. Leighton Baines (toe), Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson, and Arouna Kone (all knee) are ruled out but Antolín Alcaraz (hamstring) is in contention to make his debut.

Fulham beat Everton in the Capital One Cup in September but has a dismal record at Goodison Park. The Craven Cottage club has lost its last 10 games at Everton and could do with ending that terrible run as it attempts to climb out of the bottom three.

Captain Brede Hangeland (back) and Hugo Rodallega (groin) will play no part, and Fulham also has injury concerns over Darren Bent (hamstring), Fernando Amorebieta (hamstring) and Matt Briggs (groin).

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