As Everton prepares to end March with an away match against Birmingham City on Friday, let’s look back on the past four weeks. The month started incredibly for Everton; the Toffees won back-to-back games for the first time since early in the season, defeating Aston Villa 1-0 and Leicester City 3-2.
Since the win over the Foxes on March 12, the Blues have gone into freefall. The last four results — one in the FA Cup and three in the Women’s Super League — paint the picture of a team that is far from contending in England’s top tier.
Here are Everton’s last four fixtures: 3-0 defeat vs. Chelsea (WSL); 4-0 defeat at Manchester City (FA Cup); 4-0 defeat at Manchester City (WSL); 3-1 defeat at Manchester United (WSL). In the past four matches, the Toffees are 0-4 with a minus-13 goal differential.
Still, Everton’s miserable season seems like a dream compared with the campaign Birmingham is having. On Jan. 9, Birmingham defeated Arsenal — currently in second place — 2-0 at home, and that was the Blues’ lone league victory of the season.
Through 17 matchweeks, Birmingham is 1-1-15, has scored the fewest goals (11) and is tied for the most goals conceded (43). That’s 0.64 goals scored to 2.53 conceded per game — not exactly a recipe for success.
If Birmingham was to win its final five matches and Everton was to lose its last four contests, City would finish the season two points ahead. And while they aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, April could bring blues to the Blues with relegation from the Super League.
Of the 21 senior players listed on the club’s website, only seven have scored in the division this season, and four have just one marker, according to the statistic-tracking website Fbref.
Center-back Louise Quinn leads the team with three goals and is joined by Rebecca Holloway, who has been used as a wingback this year, as the heart of the team’s defense. And 20-year-old forward Libby Smith is quietly having a decent year; the England international has two goals to her name.
A relegation scrap always looked to be in the cards for Birmingham. Manager Carla Ward, who kept the team up last season, resigned last spring, and Scott Booth, Ward’s replacement, was fired after nine games. Birmingham also saw nine players — several of whom were vital contributors — leave the club in the summer window, and the replacements have had little success.
Friday will mark the first time these two sides have met since Sep. 25. In the third matchweek, the Toffees had to work hard for the full three points; the affair was tied until the 73rd minute, and Birmingham might have pulled ahead had it not been for a key Hanna Bennison goal.
Competition: FA Women’s Super League, Matchday 19
Date and start time: Friday, April 1st at 2:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. BST
Stadium: St. Andrew’s, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
How to Watch/Listen
TV: N/A - United States; BBC Two - United Kingdom; Sportsnet - Canada, Optus Sport, Viaplay
Live stream: Fubo, NBC Sports App, nbcsports.com, Fanatiz USA, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Web, ATA Football, The FA Player, Sportsnet Now
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Information from LiveSoccerTV.com