Cause for hope or dread?

by   |   05/03/2023  44 Comments  [Jump to last]

Like many of us, I am sure we have been looking at the games to come and how many points we need to escape relegation. I started doing this as early as 1 January this season. Each week, the amount of information I add to the table either gives me hope or dread. Today I think was hope!

So here are some of my predictions. Please let me know if you think I am out for lunch! Today I added back to my table Palace, Forest and Wolves who last week I thought were clear but, as the table is today, Palace in 12th place are on 27 points and still in danger.

My first thought was to look at who each team from Palace to Southampton had left to play and, using a ranking system based on today’s table, giving 1 to Arsenal and 20 Southampton what “difficulty score” each team had left based on 13 games to go. Both Wolves and us have 12 so I used their numbers before this weekend. 

Going from easiest to hardest:

Article continues below video content

Leicester City      146
Bournemouth      145
Crystal Palace     144
Wolves                 128
West Ham Utd.   126
Leeds & Everton 123
Nottm Forest       118
Southampton      107

I didn’t take into consideration playing home or away. Doesn’t look great for us!

Then  I played “Magic Meg” and tried to predict the outcome of the games. Everton and Wolves have 12 left everyone else has 13.

My final table looks like this:

20 Bournemouth    29 points
19 Southampton     29 points
18 Crystal Palace    34 points
17 Nottm Forest      35 points
16 Everton               36 points
15 Leeds Utd           36 points
14 Wolves.                36 points
13 West Ham Utd     38 points
12 Leicester City      38 points

There is very little space for us not to end up in the Bottom 3 and our goal average isn’t going to help us much.

I feel I am doing this as a Everton fan and might be a little biased! By my reckoning, especially if we get Calvert-Lewin back any time soon, we might just scrape clear but it will go to the last 2 games against Wolves away and Bournemouth at home!

There is going to be a lot of nervous watching from behind the settee!


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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 06/03/2023 at 10:57:44
I predict 34 points.

We have what, 12 matches left?

I'm ruling out away trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge because we know Everton don't win at those venues historically.

Tottenham at home is, for one reason or another, a massive issue, we have beaten them about 5 times in 30 years at home, so I can't see that one working.

Manchester City is another one we are unlikely to win.

That leaves us needing at least 3 wins and 3 draws from 8 games.

We have won 5 games all season, so I think this is a huge ask for this Everton team to up the win ratio now.

Mick O'Malley
2 Posted 06/03/2023 at 13:24:49
Agreed Jim, and we've still got fans clinging to the hope that our mythical centre-forward the lesser spotted Calvert-Lewin will come in to save us!! The fella that's scored 6 goals in 2 years and who has scored once this season.

As fas as I'm concerned, he will be next to no help for the rest of the season. I'm hoping Townsend can get back cos he'll grab a few goals but, as for the rest of them, I just can't see where the goals will come from.

Our goal difference was okay the other week but that's gone to pot now. I was pissed off with Pickford on that first goal yesterday – why doesn't he try and tip those shots around the post?

He always parries them back into the danger area. I thought he should have done better with that shot but it's all a matter of opinion.

David Cooper
3 Posted 06/03/2023 at 17:49:50
Michael - what do I have to write for you to publish what I write in the Fan Article section of ToffeeWeb? The last 5 articles I have written have all ended up in Talking Points which at the bottom of the page gets very little reading? What should I infer from this?
This post Cause for hope or dread was written after many hours thinking about what will save us. The two facts that cannot be denied are
1) our performance on the field
2) the performances of those who are around us.
It is this 2nd one that I think gives us hope. Gone are the days when 40 points was the saving point now it is more likely to be 36-38 points. Why do I think that 36 points may see us safe?
There are 8 teams from 12 to 20 that are battling relegation. Crystal Palace are in 12th but have you seen who their next 3 games are against and what their current form is?
The way I look at the fixture list for those 8 teams they are mostly against top 8 teams or against other teams that are in trouble. Hence getting points from the top 8 might be difficult and every game against fellow strugglers will be a 6 pointer. So all in all teams are going to be dropping points all over the place. That gives me hope that the new Sean Dyche Everton might escape.
Another point is I believe that Sean is the most experienced of the managers of the 8 strugglers to steer us to safety. Only Brenda has more experience and that is with winning things!
So with 12/13 games to go where does that leave us?
Were we worse off last year needing to come from behind against Palace? Or 2 down against Wimbledon? Or when a victory over Coventry on the last day got us safe? With 12 games to go with or without DCL we are in a better position. And if SD is giving DCL another 4 games off that leaves us 8 games for him to score us some goals.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
Barry Hesketh
4 Posted 06/03/2023 at 18:31:37
I'm unsure whether some people even have a glass, never mind a half full one. Game by game, we'll see where we end up, no amount of speculation - even if it's 'reality' based. will win or lose Evetton a single point.
Dennis Stevens
5 Posted 06/03/2023 at 18:58:09
Only once in the last 10 seasons has 36 points not been enough for safety, I think it may be even lower this time.

Btw David, if you're thinking of '98 when mentioning Coventry City - we only drew!

Nick White
6 Posted 06/03/2023 at 19:27:16
Good article David. I had a go at a results predictor before the weekend games. Put us down to draw with Forest. The end of season table I had us on 33 points and down, a point behind Leeds and Forest. Hope I’m wrong and that I was overly harsh on our results. Will be close come the end though I’m sure.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
7 Posted 06/03/2023 at 19:27:52
Just to get you all worried - based on teams doing as well over the remaining games as they did in the fixtures last year and in comparison to the same fixtures last season. . . .
Wolves have dropped 10 points so far and would finish on 41
Leeds have gained 2 points so far and would finish on 40
West Ham have dropped -18points so far and would finish on 38
Everton have dropped 2 points so far and would finish on 37
Nottm Forest (compared to Norwich) have gained 12 points so far and would finish on 34
Southampton have dropped 7 points so far and would finish on 33
Bournemouth (compared to Watford) have gained 10 points so far and would finish on 33

And working backwards, the team finishing 18th had
34; 28; 34; 34; 36; 34; 37; 35; 33; 36; 36; 39; 30; 34; 36; 38; 34; 33; 33; 42 (2002/3 and West Ham got relegated).

I'm 68 and never watched Everton in Division 2 or whatever they call it these days.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 06/03/2023 at 19:33:51
I can see nine points from our next three games, and all against teams from Landon!
Oliver Molloy
9 Posted 06/03/2023 at 19:54:08
We are up against it, and even if we gain a few unexpected points, I believe we will be relying on favours to stay up.
I just finished watching yesterdays match again and I'm even more fucking angry with Forests equalizers - both very poor from us.
I agree with Mick at 2 - Pickford should have made sure that he parries the shot well wide or out for a corner, no awareness what so ever that Johnson is free - but even worse is McNeill "giving up" chasing back - had he kept running Johnson may not have scored, as for Doucoure's fuck up, well we all know he's fairly capable of mis placing passes.
I said it yesterday, we should have won this game.
Martin Farrington
10 Posted 06/03/2023 at 20:36:11
I believe the Forest game was indeed a cause for hope.
I live in Spain. I watch our games live but listen to the commentary via Match Centre (the club's website).

They pull no punches. Tell it as it is and with as much passion as the fans both home and away, who are praised endlessly.
They also state that Everton are the unluckiest team in the league. Something I have to agree with.

Yes, we are error-prone. When we make one, we concede. Unlike most others. It's called “Being an Evertonian”. We know. We accept.

It's not just that, however. There's a litany of unbelievable wrong decisions and mistakes by officials that cost us heavily.

How can a player run directly behind another, thus causing the opposing player and his legs to catch, thus resulting in a trip? It's cynical. It's a penalty – if you are any other club.

I looked a few times at Jordan's save and he did extremely well. He deflected it a good distance if you look at the point of his save. The distance he dived and its relative position looking front on at the goalposts. He was parallel to the ground. Not much above it and at full stretch. There is no way you can self-develop power other than a block deflection.

He did a similar one later. On that occasion it missed all the players. On this occasion, someone was running in unchallenged. No way is he to blame.

Their second goal. That lad's finish was exceptional. However, he was given an easy angle due to Keane's positioning and turning his back. Had Keane been a yard or less further right, then who knows?

But that said, we had enough players back to defend better.
In the recent past, we would have capitulated. More or less after we scored. Let alone Forests equaliser.

When the home crowd sensed blood we rallied. I was proud.
There is a core strength and belief showing.

Onana was the exception in this game. He was poor. Godfrey too, but at least he showed up. I know others will point to Iwobi as well but he did reasonably.

I'm sure the manager will sort out any shortcomings as best he can. I can now watch us without a foreboding sense of doom.


David Cooper
11 Posted 06/03/2023 at 21:21:00
Thanks for correcting me, Dennis! I knew it was Coventry and very close! I remember listening to parts of the 2nd half on the BBC World Service on the radio!
Dennis Stevens
12 Posted 06/03/2023 at 21:30:58
It was close, David. Dion Dublin scored the equaliser in the 89th minute, just 5 mins after Barmby had failed to double our lead from the spot!
David Cooper
13 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:05:35
Given that we have had 3 extremely close escapes, is it crazy to think that we will escape again?
Dennis Stevens
14 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:07:22
I'm clinging to the fact that we've only ever been relegated when there's a King George on the throne, David. On that basis we should be safe until William's lad inherits the crown!
Michael Lynch
15 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:09:17
Looking at the remaining fixtures, I think Leeds and Forest could be in trouble.

Barry Hesketh
16 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:30:58
I wonder how many of the fans of the Bottom 9 clubs consider themselves safe at this point in time, or are they all like some of us on ToffeeWeb, feeling doomed with a dozen games to play?
Barry Rathbone
17 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:34:36
Hope comes from the fact we're not yet adrift and are snaffling points in a typical Bottom 5 style. Now, where we finish in that Bottom 5 is the question. My personal view is our history of just not doing relegation will see us through but equally I could make a case for us going down.

But having got to the point of utter disdain for this club (and football generally), I'm not really arsed. Those heady days of peak covid when football was halted were a joy.

Pete Clarke
18 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:40:18
I start to look at other teams' form too but whilst doing that my mind is overcome with images of the current crop of shit players we have, then it drifts off to images of Moshiri and Kenwright before my light bulb comes on and I realize we are well and truly fooked barring a miracle.

Games won't come any easier than the last one to get 3 points.

Onana didn't show up, Gray was done at 60 minutes, as was McNiel and if it wasn't for his goal we would all be calling for Doucouré to be dropped because he is as poor a midfield player as I've ever seen. Throw in Iwobi and his half-hearted efforts and you may realize that we are down the bottom for a reason.

Dyche has them fighting for sure but then every team is fighting too.

We are lacking a playmaker and goalscorer to help us survive but, thanks to our board's decision to abandon all of their duties, it leaves us fighting a losing battle.
Nick Page
20 Posted 06/03/2023 at 22:57:27
The main man:

The Tony Bloom story

Ernie Baywood
21 Posted 07/03/2023 at 01:38:34
Hope stems from small improvements.

We're no longer ranked 20th in goals scored.

We're joint 19th.

Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 07/03/2023 at 02:40:25

I totally get what you're saying but somehow I'm in the Barry Rathbone camp as in we never get relegated so it can't happen. I guess it's the same mentality as the crew on The Titanic had.

I'll admit, here and there, my mind wanders and I start to imagine life in The Championship but then that arrogant (majority) of my brain cells shuts it down and says “It can never happen.” Totally illogical but it's all I've got.

Bill Gall
23 Posted 07/03/2023 at 03:50:49
As there is nobody who can actually predict the scores or results from games as the unpredictable usually happens. With the improvements that are taking place within the team, I still believe, all though it will be close, that we will be safe.

My hope is when that happens Moshiri will come to his senses and – starting from the top – have a clear-out.

Pete Clarke
24 Posted 07/03/2023 at 04:50:59
There was a passage of play early in that game against Forest when I saw Michael Keane hanging around in their penalty area and I thought “Wow, he's playing up front!” only to then realize a bit later that he was at the back.

He was far from our worse player out there but I think Dyche could have brought Coady and Maupay on and thrown Keane up front just to change it up a bit. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that stuff.

Gray was done and dusted early in the second half and that's worrying. McNeil's legs had also gone so not sure why Dyche did not make changes to counter what Forrest had done.

On one hand, Dyche has them fighting but, on the other hand, he's watching us lose momentum and doing nothing about it.

Something has to change because that draw really felt like a loss.
Alan J Thompson
25 Posted 07/03/2023 at 05:11:22
Never ceases to amaze me that, no matter who does the calculations or what figures are used, the same one team that is just about equal bottom always just misses relegation.

I sincerely hope survival at the top level comes about as I can't see any way that we can service the debt in The Championship, that the new Everton Stadium won't become the proverbial millstone, Mr Moshiri will bail us out a second time or his silent partner's fortune won't be sanctioned down to size. Survival might take on its truer meaning…

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 07/03/2023 at 07:09:44
We have the right manager but the wrong players. We're not good enough to go on a run of wins and get ourselves out of trouble quickly so it will go right down to the last couple of games, like last season.

It'll be very close.

Derek Thomas
27 Posted 07/03/2023 at 07:37:17
David; sorry mate, very competently done – but your way lies madness. The only way is 'One Game at a Time'.

Yes, there are trends and statistics, probabilities etc. But nobody can accurately predict individual football games.

John Moores literally made millions – back when a million was a 'kin shed load – based on that very fact.

One Game at a Time.

My feeling is – after any given round of games – we'll drift between 17th and 18th depending on how we play and on how others around us play.

It's a coin toss, it's Heisenberg, Brownian Motion, its Schrodinger's Cat time all rolled into one!

Colin Glassar
28 Posted 07/03/2023 at 07:52:03
I predict this will go down to the wire and we will stay up by winning our last game of the season and will only stay up due to goal difference (+1) over the team (Leeds?) in 18th.
Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 07/03/2023 at 08:03:00
The fact that people are talking about it genuinely gives me a lot of hope because it wasn't that long ago that a lot of Evertonians (most?) were already resigned to relegation.

We have gone from being awful, and are now only a centre-forward away from being a middle-tier team, imo, so all is not lost, because ‘we are slowly' beginning to look like a football team once again.

Robert Tressell
31 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:01:41
The painfully frustrating thing is that Dyche is probably getting as much out of the squad as it is able to give.

This time last season, we were bemoaning Lampard for zonal marking, playing too open away, constantly tinkering with the formation and personnel. It was costing us points.

This season, the major flaw is our lack of Richarlison and possibly Gordon. But Dyche can't fix that.

So it's just a waiting game.

Ernie Baywood
32 Posted 07/03/2023 at 10:14:10
If we're going all in for the stats... You've got us improving our points per game return over the last 12 games despite having an objectively tough run of fixtures. It would actually be quite an impressive return.

So I'll call 36 as being an upper figure for us. One that needs a bit of optimism.

If we simply take our points per game to date and project that forward you get 10 more points. We therefore finish on 32. That might be fair as a lower boundary?

So if I was a betting man I'd say that means we'll finish somewhere between 32 and 36, with the midpoint of 34 being most likely.

I think that would send us down. Maybe even prior to the last game.

Pessimistic or realistic?

Tony Everan
33 Posted 07/03/2023 at 10:24:09
It’s going to be a hive inducing stress fest as it’s down to the last day this season. We will need a total of four points from Wolves away, then Bournemouth at home. Underpants will need to go on a boil wash.
Sam Hoare
34 Posted 07/03/2023 at 10:55:44
Pretty sure it will be knife-edge stuff one way or another. We will get a few unexpectedly good results and a few unexpectedly bad results.

We've been unlucky so far under and I think our performances could well have merited a few more points (at least that what the xG models suggest).

If Dyche had been appointed before the World Cup I think there's a very good chance we would be 5-10 points better off by now and feeling a bit more comfortable. I also think that if the worst happens and we go down that he would get us up at first time of asking as he did with Burnley.

Robert Tressell
35 Posted 07/03/2023 at 11:07:00
I think you're right about those additional points Sam.

Makes me wonder where we'd be if we'd appointed Dyche instead of Ancelotti. Probably moaning about his incompetence for failing to get us above 7th or 8th.

Mark Taylor
36 Posted 07/03/2023 at 11:23:15
Mmm. That league table has Palace securing only 7 more points from 13 games, one of which is at home to us! Rather than predicting individual games, the bookies odds strike me as a better guide. They are 7-1. We are evens at best.

Much talk about getting DCL back and this helping our goal scoring but 1) there is clearly something very wrong with him and I don't think it is certain he will play much again this season and maybe never again for prolonged periods and 2) he is a notoriously slow re-starter, usually needing several games to get anywhere near match fitness, even if Sean does throw him in.

If you wanted a hunch, mine is we will need 3 points from our last game, home v Bournemouth. Buckle up.

Sam Hoare
37 Posted 07/03/2023 at 11:26:03
Robert, yes, no doubt there would be moaning!! Ha!

It's still early days of course but I do think Dyche is the most sensible appointment that we've made since Marco Silva. On an optimistic day I like to think that he could be capable of being our own British Diego Simeone and having us challenge nearer the top with a pragmatic, hard to beat mentality. But in reality I think most of us would probably take a few years of mid table mediocrity at this point.

I hope the board keep faith with him if we go down but who knows. Maybe MSP will be running the show by then.

Tony Everan
38 Posted 07/03/2023 at 11:49:10
Robert, it’s an interesting point about moaning of 7th or 8th place. This turmoil the club is going through now will give the new manager a few seasons of mid table finishes with a good cup run.

The board and fans will accept it now. It will allow the manager to develop a team and identity and give us the craved solid incremental growth from proper foundations. We can then develop into a European football challenging team every season in the early years of the BMD.

Dyche just may be the right man at the right time to build something that is coherent and lasts. It will be much more likely if the new investors can bring some professionalism into the boardroom.

It seems a lot like clutching at straws right now, but there are one or two tenuous signs that the corner has been turned. The problem is that turning point was from a very low ebb.

The bookmakers back up the small gains made by Dyche and his team. When he took over we were odds on 8/13 to go down, now even money. It’s all to play for.

Mike Price
39 Posted 07/03/2023 at 12:07:09
The timing of when you play these fixtures is critical. If you’re lucky you play them when they’ve nothing to play for or their star striker is banned. Toney won’t be banned against us.

Watched Brentford last night and they’re a good outfit. Lots of players picked up for peanuts that are streets ahead of ours and yet are probably on 30% of Everton’s charity salaries!

Robert Tressell
40 Posted 07/03/2023 at 12:37:23
If we stay up, and I think there's a good chance of that, then I have confidence in Dyche getting us back into the Moyes zone on a limited budget after a season or two to steady the ship.

If he's supported by MSP and a decent budget then maybe Sam's interesting comparison with Simeone isn't too far fetched.

Add fairly mediocre players like Walcott, Naismith, McCarthy and Zouma to this team and I think Dyche would do well.

Add genuine quality like Lukaku, Sigurdsson and Richarlison and we could be really good.

Raymond Fox
41 Posted 07/03/2023 at 12:59:32
Its a coin toss but as it is I'm leaning towards us going down.
If DCL can get truly fit I think we might stay up, if we cant get him on the field I fear the worst.
Its very difficult though to predict results, especially when it gets towards the end of the season so I wont even try.

If we go down it will be criminal, if Moshiri and the board had a plan to get us relegated they could not have carried it out any better.

Talk about a comedy of errors.

Dale Self
42 Posted 07/03/2023 at 13:51:27
Tony, that is a proper perspective. Dyche negotiated a decent keep us up bonus so he knows the board’s true beliefs on that. If he keeps us up then he knows he could be free to make foundation moves never under pressure for Europe in the early going. He knows the PL market well and can get a tune out of veterans/faders (Im thinking Rodriguez)
Casual observation tells me rhat a considerable part of those who would have had Moyes back or at least gave him lip service are not supportive of Dyche Seems like you get all what Moyes offers and more minus the Presbyterian rage with bulging eyeballs. Could be off there but have at it if I'm wrong.
Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 07/03/2023 at 14:00:10
I’m just concentrating on Everton, with Dyche in charge we look fitter, making lots more chances, need improvement converting them, I believe the more chances we create the more we will score, players coming back from injury will increase the chance to use better subs, Dominic will be better and fitter when he comes back and he will come back.

I am confident we will get at least thirty six points at the very least and when we get the desired number of points to keep us up we then need the protests to really peacefully get rid of those who have put the Everton FC in this neglected position.

Pete Clarke
44 Posted 07/03/2023 at 14:37:53
Tony @33
Right now I would take still being in with a chance going into the last two games because it will mean we have won a few games.
Before the Forrest game I was convinced it was a must win for us but the draw we got and other results have sort of kept our hopes alive. We can’t keep on relying on other results though so Brentford is that new must win game. Can we beat the Mighty Brentford ?
Gray is our leading scorer with 6 goals but after that it’s the odd goal from Maupay, Onana, Mina, Iwobi, McNeill, Tarkowski, Seamus, and Doucouré to show for our efforts. Dyche has to get them practicing putting the ball in the net because there has been plenty of half chances we have not taken or even lack of will to get in that six yard box to get on the end of things.
Goals win games and we are now asking the lowest scoring team in the league to win 4 or 5 games? Some of the top teams may not even win that many that’s how hard it’s gonna be.
I’m not a big fan of DCL but without him leading that front line I don’t see how we can pull this off. Time to get the skirt and high heels off him and put the shirts and boots back on with a few painkillers to help.

Neil Carter
45 Posted 09/03/2023 at 05:11:29
Going to be a tight finish.
Hopefully it’s “don’t panic!!!! don’t panic!!!” rather than “we’re doomed!!!! doomed!!!”

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