With only 8 points separating Everton in 8th and 3rd placed Leicester City, the Premier League Top 4 race is heating up, and up to 6 clubs are in contention for the third and fourth slots in the table.
What will matter now are the head-to-head matches the 6 aforementioned clubs have with each other between now and the end of the season which will determine their faith in the Top 4 race.
A match that could be crucial to the race and could possibly eliminate at least 1 contender is Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night at Goodison Park.
Do Ancelotti’s men have any fight left in them?
1 point out of a possible 12, 2 goals in 4 games Everton have been horrendous since mid-March and Carlo Ancelotti is now overwhelmed with the job at hand. A month ago, Everton’s Top 4 hopes were in their own hands whereas now the Toffees will have to depend on results elsewhere while also possibly win every single game till the end of the season.
Injuries, lack of consistency, and potency in the attack have hurled Everton’s Top 4 chances out of the window and while they have a game in hand which could take them to within a point of Liverpool, it doesn’t look like Everton are going to capitalise on it.
Everton’s last game, only three nights ago against Brighton was a shambolic outing as the Toffees managed only 1 shot on target all game and while Everton had notable absentees, a strikeforce of Richarlison and James Rodriguez should be able to trouble a Brighton side more than that.
In some positive news, the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jordan Pickford, and Josh King will be available for the game against Spurs on Friday night while Carlo Ancelotti is also ‘expecting’ Allan and Andres Gomes to be ready for the game after the duo being ruled out against Brighton on Monday. Yerry Mina, however, has been ruled out for a couple of weeks due to an abductor injury.
Moreover, with Tottenham’s dip in form, Everton should be motivated and be up for this game as it is only going to get harder from here. Everton’s last 8 fixtures besides the Tottenham game on Friday, include trips to Arsenal, West Ham, and Manchester City while the Toffees will be hosting Aston Villa and Wolves who are not easy customers either.
If Dominic Calvert Lewin can regain his form from the start of the season, Everton may be able to pick up the results as they go and Tottenham Hotspurs on Friday at Goodison Park may be a good start to a string of good results, something Everton are going to have to put up if they have any hope of playing in the Europa League next season, let alone the Champions League.
Can things get any worse than they already are for Jose Mourinho?
1st at the start of December, barely fighting for a place in the Top 4 now, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham have been below average for the past 3 months while the Lilywhites have picked up only 4 points out of their last 4 games with a 1-3 home loss to Manchester United being the latest dent in Mourinho’s already wrecked bus.
Things looked positive in the first 45 minutes of the game against United as Spurs were leading the game by a goal to the good, however, a second-half capitulation coupled with United’s quality on the ball meant that Spurs were going to be without a win for the 5th time in their last 9 games and it is currently a sorry state of affairs at Tottenham.
Rumours of Mourinho being sacked before the end of the season have intensified in recent weeks and Mourinho needs a big win desperately. The aim is to qualify for the Champions League and the only route now is the Top 4 race, as Tottenham were kicked out of the Europa League less than a month ago by Dinamo Zagreb.
While Ben Davies and Matt Doherty are the only ones out with injury for Tottenham, Jose Mourinho’s recent rift with Toby Alderweireld has put the backline into a bit of uncertainty, as neither Eric Dier nor Joe Rodon have the technical abilities on the ball like the Belgian center-half while Alderweireld is also a huge presence in set pieces.
Tottenham only had 3 shots on target in the game on the weekend while Harry Kane was quiet for most of the game, which would be a worrying sight after reports in the past week indicating that Spurs’ talisman is considering leaving the club in the summer.
Son’s return to the starting XI has brought some sort of relief to Mourinho, however, the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso need to perform more effectively if they hope to play in Europe next season.
Ironically, Tottenham’s first game of the season was against Everton and while Spurs lost the game 0-1, they put on a string of results after it which led them to be at the top of the table. Mourinho will be hoping that his side does not need such a rude awakening again and will turn up on Friday as Tottenham’s chances out of the 6 contenders for the Top 4 race are extremely thin.
Everton XI: Jordan Pickford- Mason Holgate; Micheal Keane; Ben Godfrey-Seamus Coleman; Allan; Andres Gomes; Lucas Digne- James Rodriguez; Richarlison; Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Tottenham Hotspur XI: Hugo Lloris- Serge Aurier; Joe Rodon; Eric Dier; Sergio Reguilon- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele; Giovani Lo Celso- Lucas Moura; Heung-min Son; Harry Kane.