Have Everton been dropped for the first time in 70+ years?
As we enter the final month of the current Premier League season, the battle to avoid relegation is just as intense as the battle at the top of the Premier League table. Nineteenth and twentieth positions appear to be stitched together, with Watford and Norwich destined for Championship football next year. It is the 18th place that we will be looking at in this series.
The first club under the microscope is Everton.
Historically, the Toffees have one of the longest runs without being relegated. Everton have not relegated them since the Premier League was established in the 1992/93 season. Prior to that, they had not experienced relegation from the top tier of the football league since the 1950/51 season. They are only behind Arsenal as the team with the longest stay in English football’s top tier.
The Toffees have 29 points with just six games left. After starting the season with fans in turmoil at the appointment of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, things have looked shaky from the start. The Spaniard barely spent six months in the big blue half seat of Merseyside before he was unceremoniously sacked in the middle of the January transfer window.
After a decent start, the Benitez Blues had a horrible run between October and January. They won just one win and averaged less than a goal per game during that span. The Spanish boss was giving his marching orders with Everton sitting in fifteenth place in the Premier League table, six points above the relegation zone.
There seemed to be no plan B. It was almost two weeks later, on transfer deadline day, that former Chelsea and Derby County boss Frank Lampard was confirmed as his successor. permanent Benitez. Lampard led Everton to victory in two of their first three matches, and it looked like the team were rounding the corner. They weren’t. The Blues have since gone from one bad result to another and after a 2-0 defeat to their Merseyside rivals, Liverpool most recently found themselves in the relegation zone, having played 32 games.
The race home
Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s take a look at the Toffees’ remaining fixtures and see if we can assess how many points Frank Lampard’s men could expect to complete on May 23.
Against Chelsea (M)
Everton’s next game will see them face the club their manager made his name at when they host Chelsea at Goodison Park. The Blues picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in the second leg this season. They have also won their last three matches against the Pensioners at Goodison Park. Chelsea haven’t quite locked in Champions League qualification for next season so they still have everything to play for.
I will predict a Draw 1-1
Against Leicester (A)
Next, Frank Lampard’s men travel to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City. The two teams drew 1-1 in their rescheduled reverse game just a week ago. The Foxes have been disappointed this season and Everton may well be keen to score all three points here. Especially considering Everton haven’t lost to the Foxes since a penalty shootout loss in 2019 in the League Cup.
With this in mind, I will predict a 2-1 win for the caramels.
Against Watford (A)
After a win and a draw, the Blues will stay on the road to face Watford at Vicarage Road. The Hornets picked up all three points in a goalscoring fest at Goodison Park in October with a 5-2 win. Before that, the Blues hadn’t suffered a defeat against Watford since February 2019. I think Roy Hodgson’s Watford could prove tough to beat. This could be tricky for the Toffees.
I go for one draw 0-0
Against Brentford (H)
Everton return home after the Watford game to face this season’s surprise packages at Brentford. These two teams have already faced each other twice this season. Brentford won the Premier League loss 1-0. Everton picked up one of their best wins of the season in the FA Cup fourth round against Brentford, beating them 4-1. I don’t like the Toffees’ chances here.
Brentford is in excellent shape and I select them for defeat Everton 2-1.
Against Crystal Palace (H)
If my other predictions are correct, Everton will enter Matchday 37 with 34 points. With thirty-five points the traditional Premier League safety threshold, it means Everton will need at least one point from their last two matches to avoid their first relegation in over 70 years.
Crystal Palace will finish safely in the middle of the bottom table and much of that result will depend on whether Patrick Vieira’s side invest in picking up the three points. The Eagles won the reverse game this season 3-1 in December.
I’m going with Everton pick up a tight 1-0 win in their last home game of the season.
Against Arsenal (A)
If all my predictions come to pass (yep, that’s right), that means Everton will travel to North London to take on Arsenal still in a relegation slump. Arsenal will likely be in the top four, making this game one of the most important Sundays in the league.
Under Rafa Benitez, Everton picked up an incredible victory in the reverse game earlier this season. Led 1-0 in the 78th minute, a goal from Richarlison equalized the scores.
That set the stage for Demarai Gray to score a 90th-minute winner to give the Toffees all three points.
I just don’t see Everton taking three points in this one.
- They are not good enough
- Arsenal will likely have far too much at stake to err in front of their home fans
I go with one Victory of the gunners 3-1 to end the season.
Everton will end the season with a record of 10 wins, seven draws and a colossal 21 defeats this season if my predictions prove correct. This means they will finish with 37 points.
For context, that would have been enough to survive in all but one season since 2014/15. The 2015/16 season is the most outlier when Newcastle were relegated with that exact number of points.
Will it be enough to survive the 2021/22 season? Only time will tell. One thing is certain, Everton fans are desperately hoping that is the case.
Stuart Kavanagh is an up-and-coming sports journalist from Melbourne, Australia. As well as being the owner of the sports and entertainment website thepyrrhic.comhe is also the co-host of the “After Extra Time” Podcast. Passionate about football, he is always up for debates and discussions at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.