At the end of March, Everton lost two key members of their stout defence and soundly lost the Merseyside Derby at Anfield in a matter of days.
The Toffees’ luck on the road against other top six sides hasn’t been any better in recent years, their last win in that category coming way back in 2013.
Yet at the time of writing, Everton sits in seventh and just three points out of fifth place. Although every side above them has at least one or two matches in hand, The Blues are still listed by many British online sportsbooks like OnlineGambling.co.uk at around 5/1 odds to finish in the top six.
That might sound crazy given their recent run of luck, but there's three key reasons why the Blues might still be a good bargain buy for punters.
At the end of the day, the reason Everton can feasibly still sneak into the top six is a big one (literally): Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian's 21 goals not only leads the Prem, but according to WhoScored.com no player has capitalised on more clear-cut goalscoring opportunities (15) than him.
That kind of cold-blooded finishing is a big reason why the big no. 9 has been so red hot lately. Lukaku tore through the February-March slate, scoring at least once in four straight Premiership matches and adding another for good measure against Greece in a World Cup qualifier. And against the sides remaining on Everton’s fixture list, Lukaku has netted a respectable five goals in seven matches across all competitions this season.
2) United and Arsenal Stumbling To The Finish
While the race at the top of the table looks like it will come down to a matter of who screws up the least between Chelsea, Spurs, and possibly Liverpool/City, the recent play of the clubs in spots five and six has been less than convincing.
United has missed out on points at home to both Bournemouth and West Brom in recent weeks. Arsenal has been slogging through perhaps the toughest section of their schedule, getting just four points from their last five matches. Both clubs still have four matches remaining against the top six (including one against each other) to wade through compared to Everton's two. Amidst all this, Jose Mourinho is also tasked with a careful squad balancing act due to United's ongoing Europa campaign.
3) Favourable Matchups
After their draw at Old Trafford on 4 April, the brunt of the Toffee’s remaining schedule is much friendlier. A visit from league-leading Chelsea on the last day of April and a visit to the Emirates on the final match of the season still await, but in between those lie fixtures all against the table's bottom half.
To close out the campaign, Everton hosts Leicester and Burnley, visits West Ham, hosts Chelsea, then plays at Swansea before the final home match of the season against Watford. Save for Chelsea and Leicester (who still has the weight of European play on their back), every one of these clubs has been on a terrible run of form recently. Even more encouraging, Goodison has been a formidable place for opponents to play this season, as Everton’s 10W-4D- 1L home record shows.