Everton turn their attention to the Carabao Cup this midweek as they look to seal their place in the quarter-finals with victory over Burnley at Goodison Park.
The Toffees go into the game in good spirits after Sunday’s deserved 1-0 win at West Ham, which came courtesy of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 50th Premier League goal for the club.
It is not surprise that Everton are picking up positive results now Calvert-Lewin is fit and firing. It has been a horrible two years for the England international but it looks now like he had put those injury woes behind him.
Though it was only 1-0 West Ham rarely threatened, James Tarkowski and Jarrad Branthwaite dominant at the back.
Branthwaite in particular was outstanding, earning a player of the match award. The 21-year-old forms a solid spine upon which to build the team along with Jordan Pickford, Amadou Onana and Calvert-Lewin.
Things could all go wrong very quickly of course, they often have recently. But it is just nice to see the team playing well after a tortuous couple of seasons.
Wednesday will also be the first game at Goodison since the death of chairman Bill Kenwright, with tributes planned before the game.
Burnley have endured a tough return to the top flight after the bounced back from the Championship so spectacularly under Vincent Kompany last season.
Since the departure of Dyche the club has pivoted from largely British, experienced pros to young European imports with sell-on value, playing attacking, forward-thinking football.
That worked a treat as they swept all before them in the second tier, but they have found themselves exposed in the top flight. The Clarets have more wins in the Carabao Cup this season (two), than in the league (one), with their tally of four points meaning they sit second-bottom.
In mitigation they have had a tough start, facing Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Manchester United, Newcastle and Chelsea already, but the need for points is clear. For that reason, I expect Kompany to make plenty of changes for this fixture.
Burnley will still be determined to get one over on Everton though. As well as being managed by their former boss, some Clarets fans still feel aggrieved that they went down instead of Everton during the 2021-22 season, the campaign where the Toffees have been accused of a profit and sustainability rule breach.
Burnley 3-2, Everton 6 April 2022
Frank Lampard’s Everton led twice at Turf Moor in a nervy relegation six-pointer but were pegged back twice before losing late on thanks to a goal from Maxwel Cornet.
A grim night that many thought had condemned the Toffees to the drop.
Sean Dyche is expected to make some changes to the side, though he will not want to make too many with progress in mind.
Idrissa Gueye, Beto and Arnaut Danjuma are in contention. Seamus Coleman is back in full training after a knee injury but isn’t yet match fit, though he could potentially make an appearance off the bench.
What they said
Everton captain James Tarkowski: “We seem to have a bit of consistency in the team, performance levels have been good, training levels good as well, competition for places within the squad, a fit Calvert-Lewin, who is scoring goals, so we seem to be in a good place.
“But we definitely can’t be complacent because we’ve won four of the last six.
“We need to continue to build and improve as we feel we have more to give rather than thinking we are doing all right now.
“This tie is not getting in the way for us – it’s a great opportunity.
“It’s a good cup game for us to go and win and get into the quarter-finals and then there are opportunities at the weekend (against Brighton) to pick up more points and move up the table.”
Burnley boss Vincent Kompany: “Every time you put your boots on, it’s an opportunity to get a reaction. That’s how the group must look at it.
“Having a big squad allows us to use players and compete in other competitions and also give time to those players that will want to use soon.
“At the moment, our concern is not the league or the cup, it’s about our team showing the teeth we know it has and putting in a strong performance.”
This represents a great opportunity for Everton to go far in a competition that has brought nothing but disappointment and frustration over the years. But as last month’s defeat to Luton showed, you can never take anything for granted nor get too complacent.