A few months ago Everton were right in the race for a Champions League place in the Premier League, a spat of injuries then curtailed their promising season.
Consecutive defeats at Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea were almost fatal to their Champions League hopes.
However, there is still an outside chance that the Toffees could just nip in to take fourth spot and the last Champions League spot.
The team who look most in danger of losing out to Everton at the moment are Arsenal. The Gunners still have slender hopes of winning the Premier League title, but it is not inconceivable that the Toffees could still catch them.
The Gunners also have a host of injuries, as they prepare to welcome Swansea to the Emirates tonight, as Everton travel to Newcastle. Both teams will be looking at tonight’s game as must-win clashes.
Everton would need results to go their way to go above the Gunners, but here is how it could happen. The Merseysider’s are currently in sixth place, two points behind fifth place Tottenham, but have two games in-hand.
Roberto Martinez’s team also have a game in hand on Arsenal. The Gunners face another must-win at home to Manchester City at the weekend, while Everton face a trip to rock bottom Fulham. If Arsenal loses and Everton win the Toffees will be just five points behind the Gunners, assuming both teams claim victory in tonight’s matches.
The following weekend could be a crunch match for the two teams, as Everton host the Gunners at Goodison Park. If the Toffees defeat Arsene Wenger’s men then the Toffees would have a big opportunity to claim that fourth spot.
There are a lot of ifs and buts in there, but looking at the next three fixtures it is highly possible that Everton could actually go above the Gunners in the next month or so.
Everton have been fantastic at home of late, winning their last eight games at Goodison Park. The grand old stadium has become a fortress. In truth the Blues have not played that well in their last two home games, but have still managed to defeat Cardiff and Swansea.
It seems strange to say about a team that could go fifth in the Premier League table, but their form and performances have not been that great in recent months. It would take incredible consistency for the Toffees to make the top four.
They would virtually have to win all their remaining games, which is not an impossible scenario, but it is very difficult, especially with home games against Manchester City and Arsenal still to come.
Critics will say that Everton have not really progressed from last season considering they are in the same position as the previous campaign.
However, credit must go to Roberto Martinez for keeping the players positive. If the Toffees do the unthinkable and make the top four then the Spaniards positivity will have played a big part.
The team are playing a far better style of football under the former-Wigan boss than under David Moyes. Martinez’s attitude of going out to win games is a refreshing one and that air of inferiority that Moyes portrayed no longer exists at Everton.
Moyes used to bang on about lack of resources and go out to try and scrape a point against the so called ‘big teams’. His successor has installed a new positive attitude within everybody connected with the club that they can go anywhere and win.
Martinez certainly will not be writing-off Everton chances of finishing in the top four, because he seems to be the eternal optimism and that optimism seems to have spread throughout the football club.
Everton have made a promising start under the affable Roberto Martinez this season. Some rather idiotic rival’s fans were predicting a dramatic fall from grace for Everton this season, which was never likely to happen with the quality of player at the club.
Everton have stayed around the same position as last year, but have given themselves a better chance of a top four finish and played a much more attractive style of football this season.
Unfortunately despite a promising season, I do believe that the Toffees will fall slightly short of fourth place. However, considering the amount of money the other teams in the top seven have spent over the past few seasons, finishing in the top six should still be considered a decent achievement for Martinez and his team.
Could Everton snatch a Champions League spot?