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After their loss to Newcastle on Tuesday, it is fair to say that Everton now officially find themselves in a relegation battle and although they may have the quality to stay up, that quality needs to start proving its worth.
Especially as the Toffees play host to Leeds this Saturday and although this is not quite a relegation six-pointer, defeat for Everton would leave Frank Lampard and his men in an even stickier situation.
In fairness, Everton versus Leeds does not sound like a game that should have so much riding on it at the bottom of the table, but because of the fortunes of these two teams, this is where we find ourselves.
Some will argue that this is a must-win encounter for both clubs and they would have a strong case to make. However, Leeds can arguably look at this trip to Merseyside as a simple do not lose fixture instead.
Which means pragmatism may end up being the order of the day and if you like me, you think a nervy showing will be on the cards from both, you can back under 2.5 total goals at odds of 6/5 .
With Frank Lampard taking the reins at Goodison Park recently, it was believed that a new era at Everton had begun and after getting the better of Brentford in the F.A. Cup, it was nothing less than a perfect start.
However, the perfection that Lampard demands as manager was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday night and although they took the lead against fellow strugglers Newcastle, there was a great deal of fortune connected to their opening.
One that saw Jamal Lascelles score an unfortunate own goal to put Everton ahead and no sooner had the away celebrations ended, then the Toffees gave Newcastle a comical gift of their own.
An own goal which quickly took the wind out of Everton’s sails and saw them revert to their usual type. A type that has seen the blue half of Merseyside win just six points from the last 42 on offer.
It is an eye-wateringly bad run of results for Everton and although Frank Lampard can only shoulder the blame for one of those 12 defeats from 14 outings, he must now fix the damage that has been left behind.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the visit of Leeds, Frank Lampard’s men will have a relatively clean bill of health and with only long midfielder Fabian Delph out through injury, there will certainly be competition for places at Goodison Park.
Although Leeds have had a period of enforced rest - that being due to their Third Round F.A. Cup exit to West Ham, the teams below them have been in action and perhaps more importantly, have been picking up points as well.
Which means the Elland Road outfit have quietly been dragged into the relegation mix once more and although there is just enough of a safety net at the time of writing, Marcelo Bielsa will not allow his players to rest on their laurels.
Which is why the trip to Everton is one that is linked to so much potential jeopardy and if Leeds can pull off a win on Merseyside, it will cause even further woes for their struggling hosts.
Then again, if Everton can land a first league win under their new manager, it will only serve to drag Leeds further into the mess near the bottom and make the battle to avoid the drop even more interesting.
With that said, Leeds are not worried about the entertainment of others, instead they are concerned about earning enough points for themselves and if they can get closer to the magic 40-point marker this weekend, then they will take a big step towards safety.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Everton, it is more of the same for Marcelo Bielsa and once again the Argentine must do without the trio of Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips, and Charlie Cresswell.
As far as these two clubs are concerned, they take their rightful place as bastions of English football history and although trophies have eluded them for more than a quarter of a century, they are welcome members of the Premier League.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Everton have won on 34 occasions, Leeds 52 and there have been 33 draws
Although Everton have plans to move into a new stadium soon, they must make do with their Goodison Park home for now and with their supporters being very close to the action, it can either act as a help or a hindrance to the home side.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
Although Frank Lampard knew he would be taking on a big job at Everton, he probably did not encounter it being this big and after such a lacklustre showing against Newcastle, it is time to get to work.
There is no doubt that Everton have the players to stay up, but if they are not playing to their potential then that worth is something that will only decrease and although the Toffees have never suffered a Premier League relegation before, they are currently going the right way about it.