Can Everton end this terrible season on a high

Everton (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /

After finally securing their top flight status with that emotionally draining 3-2 win over Palace on Thursday night, Everton face Arsenal away tomorrow in the final fixture of this truly forgettable Premier League season.

It is a huge relief to be able to write this match preview without the fear and trepidation that would have been the case had Everton not managed that remarkable turnaround at Goodison in the week.

If the Toffees’ had only got a draw or worse been defeated on Thursday, they would of course be heading down to north London needing all three points to be certain of surviving.

And, as we all know only too well this Blues’ team has been absolutely awful on their travels during this campaign, only managing a meagre two league wins away from the Grand Old Lady.

Well, now that embarassing inabilty to win games on the road doesn’t matter too much as regardless of tomorrow’s result Everton will be playing Premier League football next season.

In many ways the most important match for Blues’ fans tomorrow isn’t their team’s fixture but Manchester City’s game against Aston Villa. I imagine most of us will be keeping a very keen eye on that result in the hope City can ensure Liverpool don’t add the title to their cup wins.

Our lovely neighbours’ success has of course made this campaign even more unbearable and it certainly won’t be a season whose highlights will feature in any Evertonians’ Christmas wish lists!

As a result of the Palace win, Frank Lampard can afford to make a few changes, rest several of his usual starting eleven if he chooses and maybe give a few players who haven’t featured much recently, a chance to play.

So, one or two players such as midfielders Tom Davies or maybe Allan, neither of whom played on Thursday, could feature tomorrow, injury permitting of course.

And might he also rest Seamus Coleman who has been playing every game recently, with Jonjo Kenny presumably coming in for him.

Brazilian midfielder Allan’s long-term future is unclear. Overall he has been a solid servant of the club since his move from Napoli in summer 2020.

However, recently he has perhaps been a little underpar and given his age and injury record, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move on this summer.

Allan of course won’t be the only player who might leave Everton this summer and speculation has been rife about the future of several of the Toffees’ stars for months now.

I thought, as we saw Allan’s fellow countryman Richarlison leave the pitch on Thursday when he was substitued, that it was the probably the last time we would see him on the Goodison turf wearing a royal blue shirt.

His commitment to the Blues’ cause is unquestionable and he has shown tremendous fight, desire and determination during this relegation battle, while his goals have also proved crucial.

Understandably though, he wants success and the chance to win something, as well as play in the top competitions like the Champions League. Unless things change radically, he’s very unlikely to get that opportunity anytime soon if he sticks around at Everton.

I would certainly like to see him stay, but that looks a long shot and the club might anyway have to listen to offers for the Brazil international given the state of their finances. Perhaps he will sign off with another goal tomorrow afternoon to leave supporters with some great memories to enjoy.

Another player who has been rumoured to be on his way out after this season is Richarlison’s regular strike partner Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The England centre-forward has been most often linked with a move to tomorrow’s opponents and he will get a chance to show what he could do for them, if those stories turn out to be true.

One other player who I’m sure will get an extended run out at the Emirates is Dele Alli. The former Spurs star came on at half-time and changed Thursday’s game and also the outcome of the season itself with an excellent performance.

He deserves a chance to see if he can contribute that sort of creativity and attacking flair from the kick-off. Assuming he stays at Everton and can find his best form then he will prove a real asset next season and a player to build a new attack around.

So. can Everton’s players relax tomorrow and with no pressure on them play with freedom and sign off this horrible campaign with a win?