Everton will aim to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since August when they take on Leicester on Wednesday and in doing so move six points clear of the relegation zone.
The Toffees have had an 11-day break since that’s breathless win against Manchester United during which time their relegation rivals below them have failed to significantly take advantage.
Watford and Norwich both lost while Burnley picked up a battling point away at West Ham to narrow the gap to Everton to three points.
Of course prior to that game the Clarets sacked manager Sean Dyche after nearly a decade in charge at Turf Moor. With no immediate appointment (at time of writing) it suggests the decision was made in a panic and without a succession plan in place (sound familiar?).
Does that benefit Everton? It’s hard to tell. The Clarets board are clearly hoping for a new manager bounce that will yield two or three wins to really put pressure on the sides above them.
Everton just need to focus on their own job - starting with Wednesday.
With Liverpool and Chelsea to come in the next two games this match is hugely important. Lose here and the sense of panic and dread we felt after Burnley away will return.
The Toffees will once again hope the crowd provide a rousing backdrop to the game as they have done in all of Lampard’s home games in charge.
Five wins from seven games is a decent return and a similar ratio between now and May should see them over the line, just.
It was always going to be tough for Brendan Rodger’s to follow on from last year’s FA Cup triumph, so an inconsistent set of league results was perhaps expected.
The Foxes go into the game in ninth place on 40 points, 12 points behind West Ham in seventh and facing to battle to qualify for Europe via a league position.
That said, they have made history again this campaign by reaching their first European semi-final thanks to an impressive victory at PSV Eindhoven last week.
Adding the Europa Conference League to their Premier League and FA Cup triumphs would be yet another glorious chapter to their recent history.
This game comes at the end of a frantic weeks that has seen them travel to PSV, Newcastle and now Everton in the space of seven days.
Will they be fatigued? Let’s hope so. They also have a rotten away record that has seen them keep just one clean sheet in 22 league games on the road and lose six of their last eight games away from the King Power Stadium.
They do, however, possess some fine players, particularly the in-form James Maddison, so there should be no room for complacency. Everton are nowhere near good enough for that.
Everton 1-1 Leicester - 27 January 2021
This fixture has twice been postponed because of Covid so the two teams have not met since January last year, when a James Rodriguez stunner was cancelled out by Youri Tielemans.
Frank Lampard has confirmed that Yerry Mina is fit and available after recovering from a quad injury that has kept him out since February.
Donny van de Beek is also available after illness, injury and ineligibility kept him out of the club’s last three games.
Tom Davies, Nathan Patterson and Andros Townsend are long-term absentees.
What they said
Everton manager Frank Lampard: “We’ll approach the games with a huge amount of focus and understanding that Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea are great opposition.
“It is a tough run of games – but at this stage of the season, it is easy to over-analyse the opposition.
“We must focus on ourselves and go game by game and we will tackle it [run-in] head on.
“I am in the best position I’ve been, in terms of selecting from a squad that has players back fit.
“At Goodison, we want to continue our good form and run of results.
“We always get a helping hand from our fans, who give us huge support.
“It is important we tap into that, give the crowd something to get behind and continue with the level of performance.”
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: “It’s been well documented there’s a lot of money been spent, but if it doesn’t all join up then it doesn’t really matter.
“It’s probably frustrating for the supporters, I’m sure, because it’s a huge club and the investment has been huge and they probably wanted better.
“There was obviously a spell on Merseyside at the time I was there when Roberto Martinez was doing really well with them, so it’s tough.
“I think Frank Lampard will do really well as a manager. He’s gone in there with a really good team of coaches, but of course that overall vision of the club is so, so important.”
Everton gave themselves a lifeline with that win over Manchester United, but it will be worth little if they don’t follow it up against Leicester. With two tough games to come you feel this is a must-win, which would give them some vital breathing space.
We have said that before though…