Everton slipped to the bottom of the Premier League after being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
David Moyes’ side have taken just three points from their opening six matches of the season and this result combined with West Ham’s victory over Tottenham to leave them stuck to the foot of the table.
The Toffees were tipped to challenge for the title by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in August, but they are still waiting for their first league win and could be facing a fight just to preserve their top-flight status.
Everton had been boosted by the return from injury of Australia midfielder Tim Cahill, who had missed the last two games with a knee injury, and Moyes’ men made a bright start.
South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar saw his long-range effort saved by Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Fulham suffered a blow when right-back Stephen Kelly limped off to be replaced by Chris Baird midway through the first half.
But Mark Hughes’ side finally threatened as Zoltan Gera fired wide from outside the penalty area.
The Cottagers went much closer when Simon Davies found Carlos Salcido, who crossed to Dickson Etuhu, only for the Nigerian to head straight at Tim Howard.
Fulham pieced together their best move of the match early in the second half as Clint Dempsey forced a fine save from Howard before Damien Duff’s follow-up was deflected to safety.
Moyes responded by taking off Cahill and sending on Leon Osman. The change perked Everton up and Leighton Baines nearly broke the deadlock with an overhead kick.
Everton were starting to press now and Seamus Coleman picked out Ayegbeni Yakubu with a perfect cross, but the Nigeria striker failed to connect under pressure from Schwarzer.
Schwarzer made a superb save from Yakubu’s powerful low effort to show exactly why Hughes battled so hard to prevent the Australian from joining Arsenal last summer.
Yakubu had two chances to snatch that elusive win for Everton but his first effort bobbled agonisingly wide of the right post before he somehow shot wide from close-range with the last kick of the game.
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