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Everton at Sheffield United: Match Preview | Pride is all that’s left to play for

The Toffees are marooned in mid-table as thoughts already drift towards the transfer window

Everton FC v Sheffield United - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The final week of the Premier League season is upon us, and once again Everton have absolutely nothing to play for.

Four listless performances have yielded just two points, ending any hopes of European football next season and making even a top half finish unlikely.

Given we were in the relegation zone when Marco Silva in December was sacked we cannot be too ungrateful, but it doesn’t make the displays against Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Wolves and Aston Villa any more disappointing.

It was hard not to feel sympathy for Villa when Theo Walcott headed a barely deserved equaliser for the Toffees in midweek. There was more effort and application than we had witnessed at Wolves, but the quality was conspicuous by its absence.

Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference on Saturday that he will be backed by the board in the transfer market, with recent matches strengthening his case.

It means thoughts have already begun to drift to the summer transfer market rather than the final two games of the season, a reflection of yet another campaign where Everton have drifted along in the anonymity of mid-table.

The opposition

In sharp contrast to Everton, Sheffield United are enjoying their most memorable season in years.

Back in the top flight for the first time since 2007, Chris Wilder’s side are currently eighth in the table and are on course to qualify for Europe for the first time.

Sheffield United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Blades highest ever finish was sixth in the old First Division in 1975 before a ninth place finish in 1992, making their achievements this campaign even more impressive.

The Yorkshire club came away with a 2-0 victory over the Blues in September despite only having one shot on target (thanks to Yerry Mina’s own goal). Not that Wilder sets his side out defensively or were any way unlucky, he comes across as a progressive coach with a well-drilled side that has been one of the highlights of the Premier League this season.

Previous meeting

Everton 0-2 Sheffield United - September 21, 2019

Everton FC v Sheffield United - Premier League Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

As mentioned, Sheffield United eased to a comfortable victory against Everton in September, an early sign that Marco Silva’s tenure was starting to unravel. Yerry Mina headed into his own net to put the Blades ahead, with Lys Mousset scoring in the counter late on to seal the points.

Team news

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Mason Holgate will miss the final two matches of the season.

That is likely to mean a first Everton start for Jarrad Branthwaite, who impressed as a substitute against Aston Villa.

Everton FC v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Recent form

Sheffield United

Leicester (A) Lost 2-0

Chelsea (H) Won 3-0

Wolves (H) Won 1-0

Burnley (A) Drew 1-1

Tottenham (A) Won 3-1

Everton

Aston Villa (H) Drew 1-1

Wolves (A) Lost 3-0

Southampton (H) Drew 1-1

Tottenham (A) Lost 1-0

Leicester (H) Won 2-1

Final word

Given Everton have nothing to play for and have been terrible for the past few weeks, it is hard not to see this as a Sheffield United victory, especially given they have so much riding on.

Whatever the result, it is unlikely to tell us anything new, with plans for yet another close season revamp hopefully already underway.