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Loss to Chelsea proof Everton still have steps to take, but top six finish remains possible

As Ancelotti so aptly said, “No tragedy”

Chelsea v Everton - Premier League
Jorginho of Chelsea scores their side’s second goal past Jordan Pickford of Everton from the penalty spot
Photo by John Sibley - Pool/Getty Images

Everton fought valiantly and with grit, yet Thomas Tuchel’s relentless machine proved too much for the Toffees on this match day. Few would deny that with their ball control, movement and organization Chelsea were the better unit. Everton certainly could’ve been level however, or even ahead were the first goal to have missed Ben Godfrey and Richarlison got his shot on target early in the second half.

The game was not our most glorious venture to be sure, but in a Premier League campaign of ups and downs, the tough fought contest must help the club build further contest for the matches ahead. While the loss hurt the squads top five chances, and was not either the draw, nor the victory that would’ve been more positive, these results will occur, and that ultimate ambition is not yet out of grasp. The Toffees will have to be sharp against Burnley on the weekend, the last warm up before Everton face Manchester City once again, this time in the FA Cup Quarterfinals.

Looking Forward From Stamford Bridge

As Burnley come to Goodison Park next, the Toffees must demonstrate the proper mental resilience. Coming in with any type of ill-feeling still lingering from the last affair will provide nothing positive for a club that needs confident play and another three points. The return of James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman would be useful, as would the eventual addition of another true right back like Max Aarons or perhaps even Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The first two names would boost the club currently suffering without Abdoulaye Doucoure, who will miss time with an injured foot; it will take an all-hands-on-deck mentality for Manchester City in the cup regardless of who takes the pitch after all.

That match, for which Everton will be heavy underdogs, will be a defining moment for the club’s season without question. Few will pick us to come out victorious, just as few picked Arsenal to do just so last season. In other words, while it is a massive task to ask the gentlemen on the team to accomplish, it is far from an impossibility. Regardless of the outcome, the team has put up valiant performances all season long more or less, and should be applauded for the progress they’ve continued to make; with this understood, everyone will be disappointed with a loss mostly because it will signal another campaign with no trophy for the Toffees.

But a victory on the other hand, would absolutely reinvigorate Everton with an energy similar to that which they were riding upon before the Chelsea encounter. Such is the fickle nature of football that momentum can be lost and re-won in spans of just weeks; the schedule afterwards for the Toffees is quite friendly for the most part, and a proper run could see them reach a top finish.

Everton v Manchester City - Premier League
Everton will need Richarlison & Co. to find the goals against Man City
Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images

The Final Stretch

After Manchester City and the generous break that succeeds that affair, the People’s Club have what many would consider a mixed bag of games ahead of them. When Crystal Palace travel to Merseyside, the Toffees will once again have to demonstrate their competency against inferior opposition; the same will have to be done the next week, when Everton travel to the coast to play Brighton. Six points from those two matches will be important, as the next three will likely help to shape the state of the team’s top six ambitions.

When Tottenham come to visit Everton at Goodison Park, it will be a star-studded affair to say the least. Harry Kane, Son Hueng-Min, Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura on one side, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and company on the other. While Spurs have been looking better recently, they will play Manchester United and likely the second leg of a Europa League quarterfinal before visiting the Toffees.

Arsenal follows, presenting another desperate opponent to Everton with little to lose and everything to gain from snatching points from them. Aston Villa, a team hovering around the middle of the table is next, and are always capable of taking a result in shock manner. With West Ham United the next opposition in line afterwards, the Toffees will have their last chance to defeat an opponent who might still be fighting for a European position on the Premier League table with them.

Poor results in a majority of these matches will doom the club even before the final three weeks of the season are upon us. The last three games could all be inconsequential for the Blues’ opponents, with Sheffield United (possibly already relegated), Wolves (stuck in midtable) and finally Manchester City (already crowned champions) to close out the schedule. It will be imperative for the Toffees to still be in contention for a European spot with the favorable fixtures to end the campaign.

Should the team play poorly to that point for whatever reason, they will have set themselves up for failure in their most grand ambition. But with the proper focus and force, Everton do have a real chance to take points against the teams they are and are not supposed to, and should be right there at the end of the campaign. Despite the loss to Chelsea, there is still a chance that with a proper run Everton could find themselves comfortably in a top six position before the last week of the 2020-2021 Premier League campaign.