By Paul Conatzer
Everton’s three-game winning streak came crashing to an end with an unexpected 2-0 defeat by Fulham at Craven Cottage. With the loss, the Blues lost a chance to move ahead in the race for seventh place and a possible Europa League Spot. They remain in ninth place on 46 points.
They haven’t lost ground, as both Leicester and Wolves also lost. Leicester fell to Newcastle, 1-0, on Friday night. Wolves, perhaps still reeling from their stunning FA Cup semi-final defeat last weekend fell 3-1 to Southampton on the South Coast. They both sit on 47 points.
Those results now give Watford, who play host to Arsenal on Monday, the chance to move into sole possession of seventh place. Watford can end all three teams’ Europa League hopes by winning the FA Cup. But they face Manchester City, who could still be chasing the quadruple.
Marco Silva’s Everton came into the match in their best form of the season having won three straight while recording clean sheets against Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal. However, London’s lowest-placed Premier League was a bit too much. Fulham, who have already been relegated had lost 10 straight, including four straight at home, got goals from Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel to turn back an Everton squad that seemed to have left its swagger on the bus.
Silva was disappointed by his squad’s performance.
He told the BBC, “It was a disappointing result, we did not perform in the way we want. We were not aggressive.”
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a chance to equalize but his shot clipped the outside of the post and bounced out of danger.
“We had a good chance to change the game,” Silva said of Calvert-Lewin’s miss. “But we didn’t score, after that it was not a good game for us. They were more aggressive than us, faster and created problems.”
At times, Everton have struggled with teams below them in the table although Saturday’s loss won’t rankle the Blues and their fans as much as March’s 3-2 loss to Newcastle did and probably still does. Everton gave up three goals in the last 35 minutes to throw away a two-goal lead and finish on the short end of a 3-2 score.
Everton next play host to a Manchester United team that is fighting fo earn a Top Four finish and a place in the Champions League. In the final game of the season, Everton travel to Spurs new stadium to face a Tottenham squad that already own a 6-2 victory at Goodison Park and is also hunting a spot in the Top Four. In between, Everton travels to Crystal Palace and plays host to Burnley.
The Blues probably need to win all four to have a chance to qualify for Europe.