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Fulham v Everton: Match preview

last updated Saturday 23rd May 2009, 9:15 PM
Fulham striker Andrew Johnson is doubtful for Sunday's Premier League finale against Everton after aggravating a knee injury.

The former Toffees star came off the bench during last weekend's win over Newcastle but picked up a knock in training and manager Roy Hodgson will not take any risks with him.
Team Fulham Everton
Games Played 37 37
Goal Attempts
Goals 39 53
Ave Goals per game 1.05 1.43
Shots (excl blocked shots) 358 373
% Shots on Target 41% 43%
% Goals to Shots 11% 14%
Short Passes 13,439 12,386
Long Passes 2,238 2,230
Overall Pass Completion % 76% 75%
Total Crosses 743 1004
Cross Completion % 23% 24%
Goals Conceded 32 37
Ave goals conceded per game 0.86 1.00
Tackles 798 760
Tackles Won % 3% 78%
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 2399 2363
Fouls 442 509
Yellow Cards 40 49
Red Cards 1 1
Opta Index - Tom Walker at SetantaSport
Fellow frontman Bobby Zamora is pushing for a starting spot after recovering from his hip problem but Giles Barnes is still sidelined by an Achilles injury.

Hodgson aims to strike another blow for the Barclays Premier League's golden oldies by taking Fulham into Europe just 12 months after they escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Victory over Everton will clinch seventh place and qualification for the new Europa Cup.

Even a draw should be enough given Fulham's five-goal better goal difference than Tottenham - the only side who can overtake them - with Harry Redknapp's side visiting Liverpool.

"It has been quite interesting that quite a few senior people in football have succeeded this year,'' reflected 61-year-old Hodgson, whose side are already guaranteed the highest finish and best top-flight points haul in their 130-year history.

That might fade into relative insignificance behind 67-year-old Sir Alex Ferguson's latest championship with Manchester United, who go for the double in Wednesday's Champions League final against Barcelona.

But Hodgson pointed out: "It would be a glittering prize after we narrowly escaped relegation a year ago.''

While some younger managers have struggled this season the old brigade have thrived with Ferguson followed by 62-year-old Guus Hiddink at Chelsea, Redknapp, also 62, transforming Spurs from relegation fodder and 51-year-old Tony Pulis keeping promoted Stoke in the Premier League.

"You take Sir Alex, Hiddink, Pulis has been around a long time, and Harry Redknapp and the fantastic job he's done.

"So it's been a year where people are taking a look and saying 'Hang on, maybe experience does have some benefits'.''

Not that Hodgson is writing off youth after enjoying early success when he began his management career in Holland.

"I went as a 28-year-old to Halmstad, basically unknown as a player and a coach, and won a championship in my first year,'' he recalled.

"So if you'd said this a job for 50-60 year-olds I'd have blown you out of the water with the success I had.

"Football management can be done by young people and old people, but experience is important and I'm sure every young manager today, however successful or unsuccessful, wouldn't deny that if he can get enough time at the job he will get better for the experience.

"Unfortunately you have to get the experience. The only reason myself and Guus, Alex and the others are successful is that we've been lucky enough to get the jobs over 30 or so years.''

Phil Jagielka is FA Cup finalists Everton's only absentee after his recent knee surgery.

PIVOTAL PLAYER: Diomansy Kamara. The 28-year-old striker is in prime form of late and with Fulham playing some exciting football, he is full of confidence in front of goal.


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