Can Everton Avoid Relegation from the Premier League?
The loss at Anfield was their seventh successive away defeat in the Premier League. They have just one point from their last ten away league fixtures and that’s why they could end up in the Championship next season.
Their situation could get worse before possibly getting better. If Burnley win at Watford on Saturday April 30, then Everton will stay 18th but now five points behind Burnley with only one game in hand.
Sunday May 1 sees them host Chelsea. Just imagine how much Frank Lampard will want a home win against the club he used to play for and manage. Everton’s home form isn’t too appalling with seven points from their last three games at Goodison Park. Beating Chelsea though isn’t going to be an easy task and the away side have to be considered the favourites.
A loss to Chelsea will see Everton with just four games to play. They travel to Leicester City and Watford and probably need to win one of those games. Leicester are inconsistent and have the Europa Conference League on their minds. Watford are 19th and with little chance of survival and a terrible home record. Everton simply have to beat Watford on May 11.
Their final two games are both at home. They host Brentford on May 15 and then finish off with a home match against Crystal Palace on May 19. Both are winnable fixtures against sides with no hope of European football or relegation fears.
Being relegated would be a disaster for Everton. They have a new ground being built and that’s there to host the top teams in the country not Coventry and Millwall. Three wins might just save them from the drop.
The Great Escape is On for Burnley
The bottom six teams in the Premier League have all changed their manager during the season. Burnley left it late to decide to sack the popular Sean Dyche and the decision was heavily criticised.
Was it just a panic move at this late stage of the season? They didn’t even have a new manager just waiting to come in and take over. Instead, the backroom staff and player Ben Mee (above) were put in charge.
It’s a gamble that has paid off so far. They drew at West Ham but would have won but for missing a penalty. Then two home games against Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers were both won and without conceding a goal. Those two wins have taken them out of the bottom three, can they now survive?
Saturday sees them travel to a Watford team that has lost ten consecutive home games. Burnley have won just one away Premier League game this season but this is a golden opportunity to get three points.
Then they host Aston Villa and again a win is possible. Villa have just one point from their last five league games and themselves are only eight points above the relegation zone. They should be safe but also have to host Burnley before the season ends.
May 15 sees Burnley at Tottenham and that’s going to be a tough game. After the return game with Villa, they end the season with a home match against Newcastle United. The visitors are unlikely to have anything to play for. That’s unless they keep on winning and have a chance of a European place next season. That looks unlikely though but they are still in very good form. Burnley may have to win that game to survive and it’s not guaranteed.
Nightmare Run-in for Leeds
That leaves us with Leeds United who are 16th in the table but only five points ahead of Everton. They could have done with a win at Crystal Palace on Monday but could only draw 0-0.
Leeds have played a game more than Everton and have an inferior goal difference. Those heavy losses earlier in the season could yet come back to haunt them if ending up level on points at the end of the season.
The nightmare that Leeds face is their next three league fixtures. They host Manchester City, travel to Arsenal and then Chelsea visit Elland Road. Three games against a trio of sides all of whom are currently in the top five of the Premier League. How many points can they get from those fixtures?
Imagine they lost all three, it’s not hard to do (bit of a Scouser song lyric). If they did, then that would put them five points clear of Everton but having played four games more. Any sign of an Everton revival could put United in big trouble.
Their final two games see them host Brighton and Hove Albion and travel to Brentford. Brighton are an unpredictable team but have recently won at both Arsenal and Tottenham. Brentford have had a strong second half of the season.
They look certain to be the only side promoted from the Championship last season to avoid an immediate return. Home form is strong with a win over Arsenal and draws with Liverpool and Tottenham. Leeds might not fancy going there on the final day needing points to stay up. Relegation for United depends on Burnley continuing their good run and Everton somehow getting some wins but they are in danger.
It's going to be an exciting finish to the Premier League season at both ends of the table. Everton being relegated would be the story of the season, they have to get those home wins and get something on the road. The next few weeks are going to be fascinating and not for the squeamish if you support any of the teams, particularly Everton and Leeds.