We are now into the home straight as Everton face 11 games to save their Premier League skin.
The international break probably arrived at a good moment as we all needed some time away after a difficult few months.
The hope is that those players who stayed at Finch Farm are well rested and have worked one some things with Frank Lampard and his coaching team (defending and attacking, hopefully) while the players who have been away with their countries return boosted by a change of scenery.
If not, then things could get messy very quickly because there is little time to draw breath between now and the end of the campaign – starting with a huge six day period.
First up is West Ham away, which while tough represents a huge chance to pull further away from danger after Burnley and Watford both lost on Saturday.
Anything we get from the London Stadium I’d consider a bonus, but it would also deal a huge psychological blow to our relegation rivals.
Then there is the simply huge trip to Burnley. A preview on that will of course come later on, but suffice to say it is one of the most pivotal Everton matches in years.
Then a hectic week is wrapped up with the visit of Manchester United to Goodison next week. A game we are expected to lose, but with the Goodison crowd in full voice who knows?
Strap yourselves in.
It is hard not to look on with a touch of envy at the work David Moyes has done at West ham given Everton turned down the chance to reappoint him in December 2019.
He may not have done what he has done at the Hammers of course, but there’s no doubt the West Ham team contains all the elements this current Everton side lacks.
They have gone from relegation strugglers to European contenders in two years, and go into the weekend in seventh place as they look to nail down another Europa League spot for next season.
They still remain in Europe too and have a huge Europa League quarter-final against Lyon to come in midweek, their best continental run since 1981.
Let’s hope their minds are drifting towards that game on Sunday.
Everton have a decent record away at West Ham, losing just one of their last 13 trips to east London.
However, this current Everton team is like no other and head south with the worst away record in the league.
Everton 0-1 West Ham - October 17, 2021
Angelo Ogbonna’s header earned West Ham all three points in the reverse meeting at Goodison in October. It was only Everton’s second defeat of the season – but the start of a run of six defeats in seven as the season began to unravell.
Frank Lampard says Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fully fit after a productive fortnight at Finch Farm.
Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina are still sidelined but not too far away from a return, while Allan serves the second game of his three-match ban.
Andros Townsend is out for the foreseeable with a knee problem and Tom Davies is also unlikely to play again this season.
What they said
Everton boss Frank Lampard: “If you saw the character and togetherness of the stadium against Newcastle – the players and the fans and the staff – it is clear those things are there, that is not in question.
“The question is sustaining it and applying it in every moment you can.
“There is so much to mentality, it is too easy to speak casually about.
“As coaches and staff, we have to find nuggets, for individuals and the collective, to make sure players believe in themselves and have confidence.
“You will take hits in the Premier League, home and away, and when we’ve taken them away we’ve not recovered well enough. That is something we need to improve.”
West Ham manager David Moyes: “They had a good win against Newcastle a few weeks ago and Newcastle have been doing well.
“I’ve seen them in other games where they were probably disappointed with how they played, but that’s the way the Premier League is: it’s really difficult to judge. The games are tight and there’s very little between a lot of the teams, so I expect Everton to come here and make it really hard for us.
“It will be a tough game – we’re under no illusions how hard it will be. From our point of view, we have to try and keep winning to stay up with the teams in the top half of the league.
“We’ve got a lot to play for and we feel as if it’s more about us than it is about Everton, so I’m more concentrated on what we do here at West Ham, trying to focus and keep up with the teams at the top.”
We cannot keep relying on the teams below us to lose so I hope the recent break can act as something of a reset. A win here would be massive – so would a point. Another defeat and the pressure on that Burnley game will ratchet up even further