Today is Thursday, 29 December 2022. We are not yet into the New Year, nor are we even halfway through the Premier League season… yet some posters already have us as relegated – down, gone, never to return – and they are already planning next season's away fixtures at places such as Huddersfield, Rotherham, Preston, and other exotic places in the Championship. 

Yet, incredibly, there are still 22 games left, 66 points to play for… 66 – the number of points we won the league with back in 1970, even the year (19)66, when we won the FA Cup! 

In 2 days, there will be 63 points to play for… 63 – the year we won the league championship. Then next week, there will be 60 points to play for… 60 – the number of goals the great Dixie Dean scored in one season!

Anyway, I digress, as this isn’t about counting down the number of points left to play for, nor any significant link to that number, but about relegation.

If the season ended now, we’d be safe, as there are three teams currently occupying the Bottom 3 places. But the season has not ended, and at the moment, we are not safe; but in order for us to drop into the Bottom 3, it means any one of Wolves, Nottm Forest or Southampton has to jump out. 

Wolves, Nottm Forest or Southampton – or indeed, any club from 10th position downwards because, let’s face it, nobody in the bottom half is safe at this moment in time. The Bottom 3 at the moment could easily be replaced by three other teams.

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Posters on here are only looking at the predicament of our club, Everton, and not looking at the overall picture, ie, all the other clubs facing a relegation battle, who, after all, are in exactly the same predicament as us – not scoring enough goals or winning football matches.

Would you believe Erling Haaland is so far out-scoring Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Bournemouth,  West Ham, Everton, Wolves, Forest and Southampton? That’s almost 50% of the Premier League teams where Haaland has scored more than an entire squad!

So, as I say, imagine you are a fan of the aforementioned Bottom 3 clubs, or any bottom-half club if you like, and you were asked, ”Do you think your club can survive this season, and if so, why and how?” So, for example, I ask Danny O’Neill, "Danny, as a supporter of Wolves, do you think you can survive this season, and if so, why and how?"

For me, and our club, I will say "Yes, we will survive."

We all know where our main priorities lie: getting a striker or two in January, and also a creative midfielder. Our defence has been pretty good for most of the season; whilst conceding 19 goals in 16 matches is probably not great, it is in fact better than 14 other clubs in the Premier League.

Our negative goal difference is better than five clubs, and on a par with three others. The Bottom 3, along with Bournemouth, already have a negative goal difference in double figures, although to be fair to Bournemouth, they did concede 9 goals in one game, but will they all be able to stop conceding goals at an alarming rate?

Of the eight games we’ve lost, we have never been out of the game until the final whistle in all but one of them: Bournemouth. Even the Spurs game was only 1-0 going into the last few minutes of the game. Every other game has been lost by the odd goal.

There was always a chance of snatching a draw, or in the games drawn, the chance of snatching a win. We’ve never been outplayed or hammered like some other clubs have.  By getting that elusive striker, or strikers, those defeats will become draws, and those draws will become victories. 

So, like I say, people need to be looking at the overall picture, and not just saying things like “We’re going down cos we’re shite and don’t score enough goals” – when in fact that could apply to a lot of clubs in our position.

Maybe this thread would have been more appropriate at the end of the January transfer window, because we’d all know who’s done what business by then, but then again, it could still be running by then.

So come on,  pick a club in the bottom half, put yourself as supporting that club for a day, and tell us if you think you will survive or not?


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John Raftery
1 Posted 29/12/2022 at 11:01:52

I hope our manager, his staff and players adopt the same level of positivity as you do. Looking at the Premier League table last night. I also drew some comfort from our goals against tally of 19. As you suggest, our defence is good enough to be in mid-table or even in the Top 8.

Yesterday, I was with some relatives who are Leeds supporters. They are far from confident about their chances of staying up. Apparently, many Leeds supporters who still hanker for Bielsa, worry about their defence and bemoan the lack of discipline.

Having watched them on TV playing Man City, I could see what they meant about their defence. Like us on Monday, in the final minute of a half, they were suckered into throwing too many players forward and were caught on the counter-attack. Indeed, City could easily have scored five or six.

I agree, all the teams halfway and below have much to be concerned about. Crystal Palace look weaker than they did last season. Brentford are comfortable at present but how will they fare without Toney if he is suspended? Leicester look vulnerable without Maddison who has a knee problem.

If we can add a couple of players to improve our attack, we ought to be able to secure the 26 points we need for survival. If, however, we fail to add those players, it will require a major change of tactics by Lampard or his successor to keep us safe.

I just hope we are not reduced again to a battle in the final week to save ourselves.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 29/12/2022 at 11:07:38
Rob, you have picked me up off the Boxing Day floor.

We are alive. Give the players smelling salts and wake them up. We are 2 games off 10th place.

Goal difference is usually as good a gauge as points at this point in the season. Despite our poor recent run of results, the Bottom 3 and Bournemouth have by far the worst. We are level-pegging on points and goal difference with West Ham.

I don't believe as a West Ham supporter they are going down.

Can we and will we stay up? Of course – on both counts.

Kim Vivian
3 Posted 29/12/2022 at 11:18:15
Guys – we're not alone.

I often read over the Have Your Say comments or similar for clubs similarly in our predicament, probably to make myself feel better... which invariably it does. But taking your post literally, let's look at Leeds:-

After last night and a good few posters have Leeds going down unless they ditch Jesse Marsch among other beefs. Here's a couple of comments...

"We would have probably fared better if they could string more than 3 passes together to their own teammates coupled with most of them having the first touch of a baby rhino and also playing 4 statues in defence."

"Only Gnonto looked like the only Leeds player trying to do something."

"Very poor performance."

"January better be good for Leeds. Personally I'm done with Jesse. He says the players are right behind his system, what system is that? Chase the ball, kick the opposition, kick them again, tactically inept. We still have a Championship back 4 and if you've never had a can of Red Bull, then we aren't interested in signing you. If he stays, then January better be good or we are down."

"As good as City are, and I expected us to lose, they weren't at their best tonight and still won easily and should have been by more! Where's the Leeds United plan? An owner who has used us as a cash cow, a coach who is no more than a cheerleader and no investment in the first team = inevitable relegation. Leave now, Radz, you've only ever spent cash invested or player payments. Fans deserve better"

"Hold on a mo… yes outclassed, out thought but FFS, Jesse, make some changes in games earlier.

Roca gave away every time and Koch had a parachute on! Forshaw good pro but day has gone. Make the goddam changes before the club change you, JM!"

"As a Leeds fan, I didn't expect us to get anything out of the game tonight but that was a disappointing display. I'd rather see us lose having a go than lose trying to keep the score down."

There's many more but you get the gist. This (with a few name changes) could easily have been a post-Everton match thread and Christ knows what our threads will look like from Sunday onwards.

However, over half a season to go; get a reasonable striker and provider and there is plenty of reason to believe the only way is upwards.

I live in hope.

Neil Copeland
4 Posted 29/12/2022 at 11:23:17
Rob, like you, I always try and stay positive. As you say, there are a lot of games to play yet and nothing is even close to being decided,

If I were a Leeds fan, I would be very concerned. Leeds ship goals like they are going out of fashion and, although they can look good going forward, they seem weaker than last season.

Marsch gave them a new manager bounce but they look very vulnerable to me at the moment. Meslier is a big plus for them, not much else there though.

As for Everton, I agree that a striker and creative midfielder would make a huge difference. I worry about Frank's tactics and subs though.

Tony Everan
6 Posted 29/12/2022 at 11:49:15
Thanks, Rob, for injecting a bit of perspective and positivity.

Another way of looking at it is where we would be now in the table if we had bought a quality replacement for Calvert-Lewin in the summer.

100% certain with a quality target man striker, we win that game on Saturday. Then there's reasonably five or six other points we've missed out on due to this same issue.

This one quality goalscoring target man will see us safe. All the focus should be on this player, the right man will change things up.

Then, if we can get Kudus or Sarr to bring goals and assists from the wing, we start to become a force again. Throw in an attacking midfielder on loan, like Connor Gallagher or similar (Thelwell may surprise us) and we look completely different in terms of goals and threat. Anthony Gordon will come good in this better attacking environment too.

The club should hold off on the Iwobi contract until the summer because I think we should be looking for more end product from our main attacking midfielder, as well as more aggressive, snapping defensive work.

Too right, it's all to play for, Kevin Thelwell, the ball's firmly in your court.

Never give up, the club may have been run by incompetents but the awesome Everton fans will win the day.

Dennis Stevens
7 Posted 29/12/2022 at 12:18:13
Aye, Tony, that one position must be the top priority for the window – preferably signed on Day 1!

I'd like to see somebody who's going to present a real challenge to Calvert-Lewin trying to get his place back... once, if ever, fit.

Rob Halligan
8 Posted 29/12/2022 at 12:22:45
Kim, like you I also read the Have Your Say comments on the BBC Sport website.

Already, it sounds like Southampton fans want a change in their manager, despite Nathan Jones only being in charge for two games, three if you count their Carabao Cup game. They have so far lost the two league games he's been in charge for, and by all accounts were lucky to beat Lincoln in that cup game.

They just don't see Nathan Jones, whose previous managerial experience was at Stoke and Luton, as being a Premier League manager.

Rob Dolby
9 Posted 29/12/2022 at 13:43:26
Pick any 3 from 14th spot downwards to be relegated. All of those teams have issues. Like us, Wolves can't score, others can't defend, and some can't do either.

It is early days and I have said we need to give Lampard the January window before panicking.

The frustrating things for me are his stubborn tactics that are so reliant on two inconsistent wingers. He is never pragmatic enough to try something different.

Ian Bennett
10 Posted 29/12/2022 at 14:08:38
Relegation odds on Odds Checker:

Bournemouth 4/6
Forest 4/6
Southampton 5/4
Everton 6/4
Wolves 30/17
Leeds 4/1

Kim Vivian
11 Posted 29/12/2022 at 14:22:58
Wolves and Bournemouth last games of the season.

Those might be nail-biters (although we should be safe by then).

Paul Hewitt
12 Posted 29/12/2022 at 14:34:04
I'd be more confident if Lampard wasn't manager.
Paul Kossoff
13 Posted 29/12/2022 at 14:40:23
I am a fan of other teams in the Premier League, every team that plays Liverpool, that is.

Doesn't matter who the team is, if they are playing against them bastards, I support them. Nuff said! 🎄🎅👮

Joe McMahon
14 Posted 29/12/2022 at 14:48:04
Rob, as you have asked: Leicester City, they have some good players (although not a good result at the weekend), and an experienced manager. Also, no way should West Ham Utd be down there with that squad.

Of other clubs, I worry for Everton, they don't have a striker when others have three or four, plus they have to play a rejuvenated Man Utd twice, Man City twice, Arsenal twice, and Liverpool at Anfield. They only won at Anfield 2 seasons ago because of no home fans.

Everton's manager also doesn't seem to be able to manage the course of a game, with rigid tactics every time.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 29/12/2022 at 15:45:58
Everton are the team I see every other week live, plus other games on TV, and I see a very poor, weak and timid squad, managed by a very poor manager playing the (mostly) same players in the same system.

It was not even changed after the long break in the season, so as much as I admire your optimism, Rob, and definitely the way you support Everton through thick and thin, I haven't seen a worse or more unfit team than Everton this season.

This means I'm pinning my hopes on better players coming in January or a new manager who is more able than Lampard to get more out of this squad to keep us up.

We really are piss-poor and I doubt very much that there are three teams worse than us who have less fight than Everton. I hope very much that I'm wrong.

Paul Hewitt
16 Posted 29/12/2022 at 16:12:05
Isn't it sad that we are hoping that there are 3 worse teams than us?
Paul Kossoff
17 Posted 29/12/2022 at 16:25:25
Dave @x15,

I totally agree with every point you made. I've never seen a more unfit team in the Premier League or the Championship than Everton. Moyes had us as one of the fittest but, since then, we have gone downhill.

I watched us get overrun by Wolves for the winner when we had three on one as the breakaway started, one Wolves player in our half up against three. We were all over the place trying to win at the death.

Patterson (who was passed by the eventual goalscorer) looked like he would collapse and throw up, such was his struggle to run at pace. Iwobi ran like he had a 10-pound bag of potatoes in his shorts.

Who will sell or lend us a striker in January? Anyone in the Premier League? I doubt it? Anyone in the Championship? I doubt it. Back to Turkey for another bum, maybe?

I think we are at the moment dead in the water with just the gun dog wading in to mop us up. I'll support Everton no matter where they are, it's just a pity when, if we go down, that bastard Kenwright will still be in charge.

Rick Tarleton
18 Posted 29/12/2022 at 16:28:22
I've got a close mate who's a big Palace fan and he says that all he ever hopes for is to be mid-table, survival each season is a triumph. Admittedly in recent seasons that's been our aim too.

However, for Evertonians, there's always the shadow of our history, of our former greatness and our aspiration to return to that level. When the great players chose Everton as their new club: Alan Ball chose Everton over Liverpool, Alex Scott chose Everton over Spurs. It's a long time ago, but it's there.

I'm old enough to remember us as a top-tier club and Liverpool as our poor neighbours in the old Second Division. I think for teams like Palace or Bournemouth, this now represents their zenith; for us, it's very much our nadir.

So Rob, I think somehow it's worse for us. This may be narcissistic and historic rather than realistic, but it's how I see it.

Paul Kossoff
19 Posted 29/12/2022 at 16:54:02
Anyone know about this player?

Everton are eyeing up a potential move for Chicago Fire striker Jhon Duran in the January transfer window.

At just 19 years of age, Duran is one of the rising stars in the game, having scored eight goals and supplied a further six assists in 28 games for Chicago Fire in this year's MLS.

Everton are ‘looking at' Duran in January, adding that Frank Lampard is now ‘pushing hard' to bring in a new striker.

He also broke into the Colombia national team in September and has three caps for his country as a teenager.

Journalist Simon Philips said: “There's a few names they've been looking at. The only one that really stands out and I have had solid information on lately is Jhon Duran.

“Everton are there and are one of the clubs that are looking at him. But there are other names and Lampard is pushing hard now to bring a new striker in during January.”

Apparently he's a bit of a wild boy, and Rio has talked about him. He's got good reflexes and is hungry like the wolf.🎅🎄👮

Rob Halligan
20 Posted 29/12/2022 at 17:02:57
Paul H,

So far you've posted twice on this thread, with a grand total of two lines. You said elsewhere on the forum the other day that you were 95% certain that we are going down this season, so naturally that means any one of Wolves, Forest or Southampton are going to climb out of the bottom three.

So come on, pretend for a few minutes that you are a fan of one of these clubs, and explain to us all why you think they will survive? Try not to use anything that's already been said though, or your flawed logic that we've already lost to the likes of Wolves or Bournemouth etc, because you know what I'll come back with.

As to your post #16, at the moment there are three teams worse than us. The league table, after all, doesn't lie. We have a far superior goal difference to all three, and would you believe it, more points, so yes, at the moment there are three teams worse.

If the second half of the season pans out exactly the same as the first, then odds are the Bottom 3 will remain there. Wolves may put up a fight, but I don't hold out much hope for Forest or Southampton.

Dale Self
21 Posted 29/12/2022 at 17:04:29
Right on Rob!! Smack some sense into us, figuratively of course.

We do have transfer market uncertainty which could jockey the teams around us as well as the injuries that I'll bet are more frequent in the last half of the season.

Additionally, we've seen the team occasionally put in a performance that makes us say 'where the hell has that been' and 'more please'. Then, inevitably we've been hit by an injury-prone Calvert-Lewin or some other minor catastrophe.

I know, 'Waaaa', this is the Premier League and no-one feels sorry for Everton – not even their own fans. We do still have enough character to weather this storm but the disconnect between our defence and how we attack (read: fail to) is a major concern.

I think at some point we will find our way to a simple system where we can regain our footing for a final run. Paul Tran's point on this in the other thread was spot on, the more I think about it.

Andrew Clare
22 Posted 29/12/2022 at 17:07:04
Rick #18,

I agree with you in part but I think that we have been mediocre for so long now that most people think of us as a Palace, Bournemouth, West Ham type of club now. It's been a long time since we have been contenders.

When you look at Sunderland with their great support and stadium and where they are now, it could easily happen to us. We are historically bigger than these clubs but that counts for nothing if you are not performing.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 29/12/2022 at 17:37:08
Rick #18.

I would probably agree with what you say. For years now, our expectation levels have been dropping to such an extent that our objective at the start of the season is to be in the Premier League at the start of the next season.

I doubt we are going to be seeing the Premier League trophy paraded around the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock anytime in the near future, but surely an FA Cup or Carabao Cup victory parade shouldn't be ruled out?

We are still, at present, fourth highest winners in terms of nine league titles, we have FA Cups and a European title in the trophy cabinet, and have only spent four seasons outside the top flight.

I know all this does not give us a divine right to remain in the Premier League, but surely our expectations should be greater than the likes of Palace, West Ham etc, instead of nervously facing a relegation battle each season.

Sean Roe
24 Posted 29/12/2022 at 18:03:11
The alternative to supporting Everton is wearing one of them red shirts that rides up over my beer belly and a ''kiss me quick hat''. No thanks.

If we go down, we go down, I will always be Blue.

Paul Hewitt
25 Posted 29/12/2022 at 18:10:06

I can't pretend that I support another club and say why they will stay up. I can only say why I think we will probably go down (hope I'm wrong).

First, we don't score goals – the main reason you win games, and yes we may well go out and buy a couple of new strikers in January that could make a difference.

We look very unfit as a squad and have since Moyes left. Lampard is totally out of his depth, we have won only 9 games in the 35 games he's managed, that would see us relegated. He has no in-game management and his subs are late and predictable.

The players look lost during games, we can't pass the ball to each other have no movement and no midfielder runners. If you think we will stay up, excellent I really hope you're right,

Peter Mills
26 Posted 29/12/2022 at 18:23:45
Rob, trying to address your challenge, I'll put myself in the shoes of a Nottingham Forest supporter.

For some strange reason, I've always had a soft spot for them. This may go back to seeing Fred Pickering score a hat-trick against them in a 6-1 win on his debut.

I was in amongst their supporters alone as an 11-year-old when they beat us 3-2 in the FA Cup quarter-final in 1967, and they treated me well, despite my blue and white scarf.

The draw there in 1986 that probably prevented us winning the league was a bad day, but it wasn't their fault; we missed our chances.

So, I was pleased to see them promoted. I like Steve Cooper, their manager, and thought it was great that, when there was speculation about him being sacked, the club responded by extending his contract.

They signed a shed-load of players in the summer. That must have made it very tricky for Cooper to assess and assimilate them, but it will provide a big squad as the season progresses.

So, as a fan for the day, I am anxious about the current league position but believe Cooper will have enough about him to get the team above the Bottom 3.

Tomorrow, when I'm an Evertonian again, I hope that is all nonsense! All the best, Rob.

John Raftery
27 Posted 29/12/2022 at 19:12:08
Losing teams tend to look unfit compared with winning teams. With all the coaches, fitness and performance experts we employ, I cannot believe our players are lacking fitness.

What is lacking, I suggest, is tactical awareness and direction – both on and off the pitch. As a consequence, players waste energy making pointless runs to little or no effect.

Sean Kelly
28 Posted 29/12/2022 at 20:29:53

Thanks for getting our minds thinking outside the box. I'm going right outside and wish we could be an Everton of the 80s for just one or two days a week. Not much to ask but we could start on Saturday and do to City what we used to do.

Just dreaming… or am I? There could be a performance in that team that lost on Monday just to prove there is a pulse.

Brendan McLaughlin
29 Posted 29/12/2022 at 20:40:20
Okay, I'll play, Rob, and I'm going for Wolves.

We've appointed a manager with significant experience and some success on his CV and we're already experiencing the managerial bounce by winning away at one of the relegation favourites.

Naw... doesn't help one bit, Rob!

Andy Meighan
30 Posted 29/12/2022 at 21:13:17
I'll echo what Dave @15 said. All I see is a very ordinary side with nothing about it.

And I couldn't imagine being a supporter of any other team –not for one minute, because I'm not arsed about anyone else. I watch Everton and have done regularly for 50-odd years.

I will say this, though: I hope they don't put me through what they did last season. Because I don't think I'll cope.

It is a striker or two we need but we also need two attacking goalscoring midfielders. Because our current lot couldn't provide the ammo for said strikers.

Andy Crooks
31 Posted 29/12/2022 at 22:47:37
Rob, that article has made my day.

Hope you are well, by the way.

Ian Riley
32 Posted 30/12/2022 at 00:57:17
Simply, we are not working hard enough due to fitness or instructions.

I watch the passing at times and it’s awful and I put that down to the pace we are playing at. From the off,we should be closing down and winning battles.

Unless our approach to matches changes mentality and physically, we are done. Bringing more players in will make little difference until the above changes.

At this level, with the science behind measuring fitness and coaches, it's insane to believe these players are not primed to go. Season after season, it looks hard work for the lads. Under Moyes, the quality was limited but energy and fitness could not be questioned.

Reality is mid-table I dream about! I couldn't care less about other clubs! Finishing above the Bottom 3 clubs is all I care about!

Derek Thomas
33 Posted 30/12/2022 at 06:32:34
The Heisenberg in me picks West Ham, who will lose enough to keep us up, but in doing so will then sack Moyes, who will be snapped up by Kenwright, causing them to improve and us to get worse.

And the black cat from the Wolves game of a few seasons ago will be in a box in Kenwright's office and nobody will know if it's dead or alive – much like our chances of staying up... or keeping Lampard!

Danny O’Neill
34 Posted 30/12/2022 at 07:20:26
Andy Crooks. When are you next over?
Rob Halligan
35 Posted 30/12/2022 at 07:47:37
Hi Andy. I am fine thanks. Well fine in terms of health.

Unfortunately, the football is giving me nightmares. I said to Danny via WhatsApp that I woke up in the middle of the night after the Wolves game in a cold sweat.

Could have been the ale, I suppose, but at the moment it's not good for your health following Everton. I'll still be there tomorrow though, ready to go again!

Danny O’Neill
36 Posted 30/12/2022 at 08:11:16
I can't be there tomorrow, Rob, but see you next month.

Last time out it was the Half Moon and Spoons. A couple of yards down the street is the Blind Beggar. Historical Pub.

Focus will be on supporting the team tomorrow, as always.

Brian Murray
37 Posted 30/12/2022 at 08:33:07
Danny, is there a nod to Ron and Reg in the Blind Beggar or is it too infamous for their liking?
Paul Tran
38 Posted 30/12/2022 at 08:37:38
I'll pick Southampton and I'd be very concerned. Another 3 weeks of last season and I think they'd have gone down. Barring Ward-Prowse, a squad that's thin on quality and character.

I'm glad I know fans of loads of other teams. Gives you a sense of perspective and helps you realise that most, if not all, fans are hardened moaners!

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 30/12/2022 at 09:15:14
I'd still be concerned if I was West Ham or Bournemouth. Or Leeds with their explosive and temperamental manager who is likely to self-implode. Or Palace even.

The Premier League is wide open.

It's a very unassuming pub, Brian. I went out of curiosity once. You wouldn't even know it was famous. But they do have one of those police crime scene white markings on the floor of a victim that you see on films.

On a serious note, what struck me is that it is in Bethnal Green, which in someways would remind many of somewhere like County Road. Only it is in the shadow of the City (London) if you look to the right as you leave. Talk about stark contrasts within a few miles of each other.

Andy Crooks
40 Posted 30/12/2022 at 20:15:12

I hope to get over in February or definitely when Mike Gaynes is coming. Be good to catch up again. By that time, we should be safe mid-table and heading towards Wembley!

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