Top BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted that the Toffees will see out the season with a win tonight, and give the fanbase one last performance at a level we were expecting “throughout the campaign”.
A win may not be entirely good news for us, though, as Lawrenson also noted how our guests Burnley struggled to get going this season, having been a surprise addition to the Europa League.
The Turf Moor natives entered the second-string UEFA competition via the same back door we are striving for, having brought last year’s campaign to an end in seventh place while Chelsea lifted the FA Cup and saw out the Premier League in fifth place.
This year, we are hoping that Manchester City are able to hold aloft the oldest club knockout competition in world football come May 18, as a Watford win would give the Hornets the final Europa League spot regardless of where they finish in the Premier League.
We still need Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City to drop points in the final two games of the season, as well, but Marco Silva’s men can put the pressure on Wolves and the Foxes with a win over Burnley tonight.
“I am backing Everton here,” the former Liverpool defender noted. “They have got it together in the past few weeks and the way they are ending the season is probably the way their fans were expecting them to perform throughout the whole campaign.
“Burnley took a while to get going too. When their manager Sean Dyche reflects on their season, it will be interesting to know what difference he thinks it made with them being in the Europa League because it clearly stretched their squad before Christmas – especially with the way they play.”
The BBC pundit also gave his backing to Wolves ahead of their game at home to Fulham, but expects Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes to go behind at Manchester City.
Should the cards fall in our favour over the next few weeks, however, the boss must take note of the potential consequences qualifying for the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League will bring.
We will not be able to afford the same sluggish start to life in the league like Burnley endured, especially given how many times we have struggled to maintain a consistent run of form ourselves.
Do that again next term, and it will be the Ronald Koeman era all over again.