After two back-to-back wins, the confidence is overflowing in the Everton camp.
The victory against Liverpool in the Merseyside derby was followed by a 1-0 win against Southampton yesterday, and Everton now find themselves just two points behind fourth-placed West Ham, with a game in hand.
Take a look at the narratives and you’ll get the vibe around Goodison Park.
Garth Crooks writing for BBC Sport notes:
“If Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin can recapture the spark they had earlier in the season, Liverpool might find themselves finishing behind their arch rivals. Now wouldn’t that be interesting.”
Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports told on MNF that Everton must aim for the top-four, and while they don’t have squad depth like Liverpool or Chelsea, the Carlo Ancelotti-factor can propel them to their target.
Ancelotti himself has suggested that finishing within the top-four is a “dream”, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin has admitted that the players won’t stop believing before they are mathematically out.
It’s a close fight and if Everton can keep all their players fit, there’s no reason why they can’t get into top-four. And their next five fixtures could define their season.
a) West Brom (h) – Ancelotti has stressed the importance of winning games at home, and they have a good opportunity to win back-to-back home games when they face the Baggies in the midweek. In the previous fixture, Everton won 5-2 at the Hawthorns.
b) Chelsea (a) – A trip to Stamford Bridge will be tricky given Chelsea’s newfound stability and momentum under Thomas Tuchel. With the Blues themselves aiming for a top-four finish, this game promises to be a cracker. Everton won 1-0 at Goodison Park in December.
c) Burnley (h) – At Turf Moor, it ended 1-1 back in December, but surely Everton will fancy their chances against the Clarets who have managed only one win in their last eight games.
d) Crystal Palace (h) – Roy Hodgson’s side are struggling badly in the league and they have a tough run of fixtures prior to this game. The Toffees lost 2-1 at Selhurst Park in the corresponding fixture, but you fancy them to win at Goodison.
e) Brighton (a) – The last time the two sides met, Everton netted in four times against them. Will there be a similar outcome this time around?
If we take the results of the previous fixtures, Everton can potentially pick up 10 points out of 15 available. However, apart from the clash against the Blues, all four are winnable games, and Everton should aim at 13 points at least in their next five games.
This is a massive opportunity for Everton to push for a top-four finish, and are most likely to get into the top-four if they can manage to get anything between 10-13 points in their next five games.