Is Everton still relevant when it comes to the battle to finish in the Top 4 of the Premier League? Tim Howard certainly thinks so.
On Wednesday the goalkeeper told Sky Sports News HD: “I think we’ve always been a dark horse, we’ve always been the outsider in that race, and we still are.
“If we put a few moments of magic together, if we can win out, which is never easy with the games that we have, and we can get some help in and around us, anything is possible.”
Mathematically, yes, such a feat is possible, but it’s anything but easy.
Doing so requires the Toffees to beat Liverpool in this weekend’s Merseyside Derby at Anfield. It’s a victory that Everton haven’t experienced the likes of since the 1-0 win in September 1999 when the Reds had Sander Westerveld and Steven Gerrard sent off.
If the Toffees manage their first away derby victory in 13 years they’ll then be tasked with a winnable home fixture against West Ham and a brutal final matchup at Stamford Bridge. It’s been over 18 years since Everton have managed to take down Chelsea, although the Toffees have managed a draw in five of their last six league trips to the Bridge.
The ‘help’ that David Moyes’ side will require to reach the Top 4 feels even more audacious. The Toffees will need Arsenal to lose two of their final three matches, which just happen to be against three of the Premier League’s worst sides: QPR, Wigan and Newcastle. Champions League glory also requires Tottenham to lose and draw two of their final four games meaning Spurs will need to drop points against Southampton, Chelsea, Stoke and/or Sunderland.
In other words, as far as Champions League qualification goes for Everton, it will take a miracle to see the Toffees through. The importance of such a miracle, however, can not be understated as the future of Moyes, Maroune Fellaini and Leighton Baines all depend on where Everton finishes in the table. It’s widely believed that a Champions League berth would secure all three of their services while anything less – even Europa League qualification – will likely result in a dramatic changing of the guard at Goodison Park.