Everton-Fulham Preview

·3 min read

Carlo Ancelotti believes Richarlison is set to reach the top level of the game as he welcomes the Everton talisman back to the fold for Sunday's clash with Fulham.

Richarlison, who has netted four goals in all competitions this season, has missed the last three Premier League matches after picking up a red card in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in October.

Everton lost all three games that the 23-year-old, who scored for Brazil in a win over Uruguay in midweek, missed, and since he joined the club the Toffees have not won a league match that Richarlison has not featured in.

"Richarlison is really important for us, he's a top player," Ancelotti told reporters. "He has everything. Richarlison can reach the top level in football. He has all the skills necessary. He is still young but he is a humble guy, really professional – I think he can be at the top soon."

Ancelotti also shot down rumours that Everton were set to move for Real Madrid's Isco in January.

"Isco is a rumour from the media, it is not a rumour that went out from our side," he added. "We are not talking about the market in this period. We are working to sort the problems we have. Apart from this, Isco was my player at Madrid, a fantastic player, but a Madrid player."

Fulham have managed just one win this term, though on-loan goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has impressed, and the France international is pleased with his start.

"I'm trying to do my best," said Areola. "We still need to improve but we'll fight until the end. I am playing well but I prefer to win. It's fine, I have to do my job. But I prefer the team wins. Every day I'm coming here with a smile and happy to be here."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Fulham – Ademola Lookman

Lookman has been a bright spark for Fulham since joining from RB Leipzig, but made headlines for the wrong reasons with an awful penalty miss in the final minute against West Ham last time out, and the winger will be determined to right that wrong against his former club.

Everton – Richarlison

While Ancelotti insisted Everton's run of defeats were not down entirely to Richarlison's absence, the forward is clearly crucial to getting the best out of James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and his return from suspension is a huge boost for the visitors.

KEY OPTA FACTS

Fulham won their last Premier League meeting with Everton (2-0 in April 2019), ending a run of 10 league games without a win against the Toffees (D2 L8). It was Scott Parker's first victory as a manager in the competition.

Of all Premier League fixtures to have been played on more than 10 occasions, Fulham vs Everton has seen the highest percentage of home wins, with 23 of the 28 meetings between the two being won by the home side (82 per cent).

After conceding 10 goals in their first three Premier League games this season, Fulham have now shipped just five in their last five in the competition, picking up their first victory of the campaign in that run (2-0 vs West Brom).

Everton have lost their last three Premier League matches, as many as they had in their previous 14. The Toffees last lost four in a row in October 2019 under Marco Silva.

Since he joined the club in 2018, Everton are winless in all eight Premier League games in which Richarlison has played no part (D4 L4).