Chris Sutton drops 'enormous' Everton verdict as Mark Chapman moots fan advantage over Leeds United for final day
Everton securing a point with Yerry Mina’s late, late equaliser against Wolves on Saturday (23 May) was “enormous” in the relegation battle, according to Chris Sutton.
The Toffees head into the final weekend of the season with their fate still in their own hands after finding a way to get something at Molineux deep into added time, giving them a two-point advantage over both Leeds and Leicester with two of the three headed for the Championship.
While the Wolves clash had been pegged a possible win that would have got Sean Dyche’s side over the line already, Mark Chapman feels there may be an advantage over Sam Allardyce’s Whites side because the fight shown has maintained a better connection to the fans after Leeds lost 3-1 at West Ham on Sunday (22 May).
Sutton said on BBC Radio 5’s Monday Night Club (22 May, 1h 30m 10s): “We’ve mentioned Bournemouth, I know Bournemouth have stayed up but that’s not an easy fixture for Everton.
“What’s massive from Everton’s point of view is that Yerry Mina goal, three centre-halves combining and Yerry Mina scoring in the 98th minute.
“That’s an enormous point for them.”
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Chapman added in comparison to the relegation rivals: “It’s interesting you mention Everton. There is a little bit more of a connection between Everton fans and some of the players because they have that fight, and that isn’t there with Leeds at the moment is it.”
Finish the job
Considering how low the outlook at Goodison Park had got at points this season many fans, and possibly Dyche himself, would probably have taken a single game against Bournemouth to secure safety.
Given a free choice the Cherries would perhaps not have been the ideal opposition, given that the past four meetings between the two have all been lost by a combined score of 13-3.
But it could be a lot worse, with Gary O’Neil’s side already safe in 15th but obviously not one of the Premier League powerhouses.
That it is a home game in front of the Evertonians should make it some occasion, and if survival is secured it may recreate scenes from the Crystal Palace victory last season.
But it is far from a given, especially with Dominic Calvert-Lewin likely to be missing, and should Allardyce’s embattled Leeds side defeat Tottenham or Dean Smith’s Foxes beat West Ham they can both sneak past if Everton lose.
The back-to-back losses at Bournemouth heading into the World Cup saw Frank Lampard’s reign on its last legs and fury from the away fans directed at the players, but over an up-and-down second half of the season under Dyche some of those bridges have been mended, in large part thanks to the sparkling win at Brighton on 8 May.
Everton supporters will hope the latest meeting with the Cherries ends in far happier circumstances than the last two, in what is the most significant of them all.