Can Everton make it into the Europa League places?
When Carlo Ancelotti took over at Everton back in December, the team were facing a relegation battle. Interim manager Duncan Ferguson had steadied things a little with a win and three draws, but it is under the Italian maestro that Everton have really started to look up and see the possibility of European qualification.
Picking up points
In the nine matches that Everton have played under Ancelotti, they have taken 17 points from a possible 27. By comparison, the 16 games under Marco Silva yielded the same number of points out of the maximum 48 available. The performances at times have not been much more convincing than they were under the Portuguese, but Everton have demonstrated the ability to see out wins in games where they would have crumbled under Silva.
They have also shown greater spirit, coming from behind to beat Watford – something they notoriously failed to do during Silva’s entire season and a half in charge. It is factors like this that have got Everton supporters dreaming that another disappointing season could yet end reasonably well with a place in the Europa League, but there are arguments against that happening as well.
Away failures against the big sides
Everton’s record away from home against the big sides – the Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal – is absolutely horrendous. There has been only one win for the club at any of these grounds this century, something which was pointed out to an astonished Ancelotti before the recent match against Arsenal.
That game ended in familiar defeat for the Blues, although they played with intent and would have secured at least a draw had Dominic Calvert-Lewin been a bit more clinical in front of goal in the second half. The upcoming run of games includes away matches at Chelsea and Tottenham – another ground they have a poor record at – as well as a home match against Liverpool. They have not beaten their local rivals since 2010 and it makes for daunting reading for Evertonians. Few sports betting fans would put much money on them winning these fixtures, but a decent points return from them is essential to stay in the Europa running.
The next set of fixtures should determine whether Everton play in Europe next season and you can make free bets on the games and the Europa qualifying positions.