Everton, Burnley and Crystal Palace are in a strange position. They do not find themselves under a huge relegation threat but they are also not favourable contenders for European football. They have a very minute chance of making to the Europa League play-off spot.
Position: 10th (39 points)
Season before Lockdown: Burnley have been successful in putting a string of excellent performances over the season and find themselves in the top half of the table. Burnley are just a point below Arsenal and are six points behind the Europe league position. With nine games to go, Burnley have a potential to seal the playoff spot of Europa League. Burnley play their first game of Project Restart against Man City!
Positives: Ashley Barnes has returned to the squad who has not featured since New Year and is a welcome boost for the side. The Clarets will hope that their firing strikers Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez will continue to remain in the goal scoring charts
Concerns: However, the contract concern over Matthew Lowton is an issue for the side, but Clarets are all set to roar when the league restarts. Burnley has games left against Liverpool, Wolves, Man City, Sheffield United and poor results will seemingly disrupt their mission for European football. With that said, Sean Dyche is known to line up his team in a very pragmatic and characteristic manner against the top sides which till some extent has also yielded him good results.
Remaining PL Fixtures: Manchester City(A), Watford(H), Crystal Palace(A), Sheffield United(H), West Ham United(A), Liverpool(A), Wolves(H), Norwich City(A), Brighton(H)
Position: 11th (39 Points)
Season before Lockdown: Crystal Palace are just behind Burnley despite being tied with them over the points due to superior goal difference of Clarets. The Eagles started to gain momentum registering three consecutive wins after a period of 8 winless games.
Positives: Good defensive record, (1.1 goals conceded), only behind Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, Man United, Man City. Patrick Van Aanholt has been superb on offensive and defensive front as well. Hodgson has been instrumental in defence deployment.
Concerns: Crystal Palace stares at a contract crisis and transfer issues along with the pandemic. The senior left back, Patrick van Aanholt is a free agent at the end of the season and no talks have been initiated. Also, they have failed to replace the right back position which is left void by the departure of Aaron Wan Bissaka to Old Trafford. On the other hand, Wilfried Zaha is touted to make a move to Arsenal//Everton for a hefty sum. This can affect the harmony in the squad and affect the performances. Palace have 6 away games from remaining 9, taking points from these fixtures won’t be easy (managed only 4 wins out of 14 away games so far)
Remaining PL Fixtures: Bournemouth(A), Liverpool(A), Burnley(H), Leicester City(A), Cheslea(H), Aston Villa(A), Manchester United(H), Wolves(A), Spurs(H)
Position: 12th (37 Points)
Season before lockdown: It’s a terrible time to be an Everton fan. They are in the midst of another rebuilding season and are finding their feet under a new manager while their arch rivals Liverpool are going to be celebrating the league win soon. It’s a side that is more of a reflection of David Moyes, Martinez, Koeman, Allardyce and Marco Silva. Many highly paid underperformers like Morgan Schneiderlin, Gilfy Siggurdson and Theo Walcott have failed to turn up on occasions. The Toffees are young side with lack of quality in midfield and lacking balance.
Things had started to look brighter under Carlo Ancelotti. He continued the good work of Duncan Ferguson who had found a method of bringing the best out of Dominic Calvert Lewin and Richarlison. They had a tough run of fixtures before football stopped. They had an unlucky loss against Arsenal 3-2 and were a controversial late goal against Manchester United and picked up a point. They did lose badly against Chelsea 4-0 just before the break.
Positives: The attacking players are doing really well, a new energy in the team under Ancelotti and the return to fitness of Andre Gomes is a huge boost. Their run of fixtures isn’t that difficult, if they can start off well and potentially cause an upset to not allow Liverpool to win the title at Goodison, the Toffees can still call it a successful season.
Concerns: Neither here nor there kind of a situation. Difficult to get into Europe and safe from relegation. If things don’t start off brightly it could fall apart quickly. The team always relies heavily on the home support which will be a blow to them. Their midfield has never ticked this season. Another long term injury to Jean-Philippe Gbamin raises some serious concerns. Theo Walcott is also out for a month after surgery.
Remaining PL fixtures: Liverpool(H), Norwich City(A), Leicester City(H), Spurs(A), Southampton(H), Wolves(A), Aston Villa(H), Sheffield United(A), Bournemouth(H)
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