After two back-to-back wins, 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 are now just two points behind fourth-placed West Ham United with a game in hand.
Take a look at the media narratives and you’ll get the vibe around Goodison Park.
Garth Crooks, writing for BBC Sport: “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 of the running.
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. The next five fixtures could define their season.
a) West Bromwich Albion (A) – Everton triumphed 5-2 in the reverse fixture and will fancy their chances of completing the double at The Hawthorns.
b) Chelsea (A) – A trip to Stamford Bridge will be tricky given Chelsea’s new-found stability under Thomas Tuchel. With the Blues also 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) – It ended 1-1 at Turf Moor in December, but Everton look a good bet 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 prior to this game. The Toffees won 2-1 at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture and you fancy them to win at Goodison.
e) Brighton & Hove Albion (A) – The last time the two sides met, Everton netted four times against them. Will there be a similar outcome this time around?
Another 13-point haul from these five fixtures would boost Everton’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
This is a massive opportunity for Everton to kick on and they should get into the top four if they can maintain their form over the next few weeks.