Everton have flirted with the Premier League relegation zone on numerous occasions over the past few years and this season is another example. Despite a recent upturn in form under Sean Dyche’s leadership, it has been another poor season for the Toffees as they are relegation candidates once again.
Frank Lampard was dismissed in January and in came Dyche, a man who knows how to win games in a relegation battle. The former Burnley boss has had a positive start so far but there are over 15 games remaining, but will Everton remain a Premier League side?
The blue side of Merseyside may not have even been playing in the Premier League this season if it wasn’t for last season’s heroics. Following a dismal campaign, it looked like Everton would be returning to the Championship. The last time they were relegated was in the 1950/51 campaign.
However, with the help of the Everton fanbase making Goodison Park a fortress, they defied the odds by surviving. The Toffees picked up victories against teams like Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace to ensure they remained in the division for another season. The latter was the one where they secured safety and it felt like from there, the Toffees would kick on to bigger and better things next season. That certainly wasn’t the case.
They did make some good summer additions including Amadou Onana from Lille and Burnley duo Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski. Everton failed to pick up a win in their opening five Premier League games but wins followed against West Ham United and Southampton which moved them up the table. Before the FIFA World Cup break, Lampard’s side went on a poor run of one win in seven which included many underwhelming performances, in particular against Bournemouth.
On their return, Everton lost a number of games, coinciding with Lampard being sacked. They struggled against relegation rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United. Wins in those games could have bought Lampard more time in the dugout but he was shown the door near the end of January.
Dyche’s arrival was probably the perfect appointment for Everton. He always found a way to keep his former side, Burnley, in the division with a lack of resources available to him. Additionally, he had previous experience working with McNeil and Tarkowski at Turf Moor.
The 51-year-old had the hardest test in his first game in charge, Arsenal. The Gunners had only dropped points on three occasions at this point in the season and it seemed like an almost impossible task for Everton to pick up a result.
However, following an excellent performance, the Toffees secured a 1-0 win courtesy of a Tarkowski header on the 60-minute mark. Many thought Dyche would get off to a losing start at Goodison Park but they were certainly proved wrong as his side dominated table-topping Arsenal.
It was going to be interesting to see if they would be able to follow up that win with another in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool. The momentum wasn’t carried through to this game though as the Toffees fell short, losing 2-0 after goals from Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo.
The 1-0 victory over Leeds United was very important. That win has massively boosted their survival hopes with Leeds also being a relegation candidate. Now, Everton are out of the relegation zone but there is still a long way to go if the Toffees are to stay up.
They have other important clashes coming up before the end of the season, and the final game against Bournemouth could be pivotal.
I think Everton will have enough to remain in the Premier League this season. Dyche has been in these situations previously and he knows how to find wins in important moments during the season. Southampton and Bournemouth look like the most likely to be heading for the second tier next season, but it remains to be seen if Everton will be joining them.
Do you think Everton will remain a Premier League side?