Everton fans pride themselves on being one of only six teams to be featured in every Premier League season since its inception in 1992. Despite scoring in the 99th minute to beat fellow strugglers Newcastle United on Thursday, Everton still sits just above the drop zone.
Although Frank Lampard knew he was facing a challenge when he took over from Rafael Benitez in January, even the biggest pessimists wouldn’t have thought the Toffees would be in a relegation battle at this point in the season. However, after losing four of their last five games, Everton fans might be watching their team play in the Championship next season.
Lack of Firepower
The Liverpool club has won just twice in seven Premier League games since Lampard took over, losing the other five. This worrying run has led online sportsbooks to make them +185 favorites to go down – just ahead of Watford (+500), Burnley (-125), and Leeds (+175).
(odds via Vegas-odds.com, 22nd March, 2022)
Everton has only scored one goal in the last five games. The Blues hit a new low after conceding five goals against Tottenham to leave them with the lowest ever points tally after 26 games when playing in England’s top division.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Merseyside club: they have two games in hand on the teams around them and managed to get a valuable win against the Magpies. Still, with how the players have looked on the field of late, it’s tricky to determine if the recent victory will help them turn their season around. Also, the last game wasn’t without its casualties. The win – Everton’s second in 13 matches – came after a controversial red card for Allan.
After the match, Lampard stated that he was “frustrated” with the decision, especially after his team was denied a handball decision when playing Manchester City last month, which led to an apology from referee’s chief Mike Riley.
“We now lose Allan for three games, let’s hope the Referees’ Association can say we got that wrong [too],” said the former New York City FC player.
However, he was pleased with what he saw at Goodison Park and called the evening “a night of togetherness and fight.”
Leeds and Watford Boost Survival Hopes
The recent gloom has lifted at Elland Road after Leeds United scored an injury-time winner to hand new manager Jesse Marsch his first victory.
Although he was only on the pitch for less than two minutes, Joe Gelhardt sent the home crowd wild with his goal. Leeds, who stay 16th, piled more misery onto bottom side Norwich City to go four points clear of the relegation places.
“Obviously there’s a lot of emotions in the game. I’d heard a lot about the magic of Elland Road and we felt that today,” said Leeds boss Marsch after the game.
“The crowd were fantastic and the performance brought them into the game,” Marsch added. “We have to fight for everything. We still have lots of work to do.”
Meanwhile, Watford beat Southampton 2-1 to leapfrog Burnley – who lost 2-0 to Brentford on Saturday. Despite winning, Watford remains in the relegation zone in 18th – but they are level on points with Everton.
Quality is Counting for Nothing
When looking at the talented superstars – including recent signings Dele Alli from Tottenham, for a fee that could reach £40m, and Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek on loan – Everton’s current predicament is surprising.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, former Everton player Steven Pienaar said: “There are so many players with a lot of quality, but I think Everton have bought players for the sake of buying them.”
He added: “It is hard to see how they are in the place they are with players who have so much quality. It is shocking to see them fighting at the bottom of the table.
“If they play like they did against Spurs, it’s going to be very hard [for them to stay up].”
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