Everton will aim to get their Premier League survival bid back on track when Brentford make the journey to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Toffees were forced to settle for a point in a goalless stalemate with Watford in midweek, while the Bees most recently eased past Southampton 3-0.
It was only a point, but it could yet prove to be a priceless point in Everton’s fight to avoid a first-ever relegation from the Premier League, as they settled for a goalless draw away to a Watford side whose Championship destiny has already been decided.
There was no breaking down the impenetrable wall that was Ben Foster at Vicarage Road, but Watford offered very little in attack with their plethora of injuries, and Everton’s survival destiny remains in their own hands with three games left to play.
The Toffees’ revival has left them 16th in the rankings and two points clear of Burnley and Leeds United – still boasting a game in hand over the latter – so their safety could be confirmed with victory over Brentford and if Leeds fail to overcome Brighton & Hove Albion.
Securing survival before hosting Crystal Palace and travelling to Arsenal on the final day of the season will be of paramount importance for Frank Lampard, who does still need results elsewhere to go his way for that to occur this weekend, but a three-game unbeaten run stands them in good stead ahead of the visit of the Bees.
The hosts have also taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer at Goodison Park in a resilient run of form on their own patch, keeping three clean sheets in the process, but they have only managed to find the back of the net once in each of those resolute performances.
Successfully proving that the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United was nothing more than a minor blip, Brentford assured themselves of a second successive season of Premier League football by triumphing against Southampton by the same scoreline last weekend.
Within mere seconds of one another’s efforts, Pontus Jansson and Yoane Wissa put the Bees two goals to the good early doors before Kristoffer Ajer dribbled and finished with the aplomb of a seasoned winger in the 79th minute during their survival-clinching performance.
Thomas Frank has now led his eye-catching Brentford side to six wins from nine in the Premier League to leave them occupying 13th spot in the table – only two adrift of Leicester City and a potential top-half place – but it is job done as far as their goals for the season are concerned.
Meeting a hapless Leeds United at home on the final day will be an ideal way for Brentford to cap off a successful first season in the Premier League, but they have not kept a clean sheet away from home in the top flight since September – conceding in all of their 15 league games on the road since.
Frank’s men scraped a 1-0 win when Everton visited the Brentford Community Stadium earlier this season, but the Toffees thumped their upcoming opponents 4-1 in the FA Cup three months ago, and a similar performance would not go amiss for Lampard’s relegation battlers this weekend.
Everton Premier League form:
Brentford Premier League form:
We say: Everton 2-1 Brentford
As impressive as Brentford have been in recent weeks, keeping things tight at the back away from home has been an issue for them all season, and the Bees now have very little to fight for in the final few weeks.
Frank will not want to see his side take the foot off the gas either way, but a steadfast Everton side playing out of their skin to salvage their top-flight status should use the Goodison faithful’s roars to their advantage and claim another vital win – one that could very well see their safety confirmed.