West Ham did Everton a huge favour yesterday beating Leeds United 3-1 to give the Toffees a further chance to save their Premier League status.
The Blues had themselves salvaged a potentially priceless draw at Wolves the day before, through Yerry Mina’s ninety-ninth minute strike.
That meant Everton had another point cushion over Leeds as the Yorkshire club travelled to the London Stadium to face the Hammers.
The Lillywhites lost by two goals, which further damages their goal-difference and leaves them three goals worse off than the Toffees going into the final round of fixtures. This could be critical.
Leeds now have to beat Tottenham on the last day and hope Everton lose to have any chance of staying up.
But of course, this being the Blues there was no way everything could go well. And, as happened at Goodison last Sunday, at half-time for the second week on a row, Dominic Calvert-Lewin had to be withdrawn hurt.
It is now touch and go whether the centre-forward will be fit enough to play any part in next weekend’s mamouth match against Bournemouth.
It is almost comically predictiable how many injuries this player seems to suffer from, although I’m sure it isn’t to him, or his managers.
Every time he returns and you think he might finally be fit, he breaks down again with some other aliment. This incredible fragility has had a very significatly deterimental impact on Everton’s fortunes over the last few years.
Without the player who is undoubtedly their best striker and goal threat, the Toffees have had a truly toothless attack this campaign and have managed a paltry thirty-three goals all season long. Only Wolves and now relegated Southampton have scored fewer.
Calvert-Lewin now has to be a serious doubt whether this team can score the goals that will be needed to beat Bournemouth and secure top flight status.
Again, as with the run-up to the Wolves game the key question is who should take his place if DCL doesn’t recover in time?
I’ve said before that I think if Calvert-Lewin cannot play then the forward to replace him in Sean Dyche’s starting eleven next weekend, should be Ellis Simms, with support from midfield being critical.
Once again Dyche’s substitutes left serious questions on Sunday as he opted to throw Michael Keane up front as an emergency centre-forward instead of bringing on the young striker.
It was almost like he was deternined to get Keane on the pitch even if he couldn’t keep playing him at centre-back!
To be fair Keane did have a part to play in Mina’s goal, but was still a slightly strange choice when Simms was sitting on the bench.
The manager has shown a strong reluctance to use the former youth team product and again last weekend he didn’t turn to Simms when Everton were desperately trying to find a goal.
Simms certainly isn’t the finished article for sure. But, he has strength, pace, power and can certainly score goals, as he showed at Chelsea. Surely now he has to start on Sunday?
The Blues will have to go for it next weekend and do everything in their power to secure three points and hope other results (including Leicester’s) have gone their way. What a situation this once great club again finds itself in.