Everton host Burnley this weekend as the Toffees look to maintain the pressure on those sides above them. A top four finish now looks extremely unlikely for Ronald Koeman’s men, but they have a chance of finishing in the top six and that would be a remarkable achievement for them. Their opposition on Saturday should be safe from relegation thanks to their incredible home form, but their away form continues to be a worry. They will want to record a win on the road before the end of the season, otherwise, they will risk carrying it into the next campaign.
The home side are level on points with Arsenal and, although they have played two more matches, they will be looking to move ahead of the Gunners before the end of the season. The bad feeling surrounding the North London club should give Everton confidence and if the Toffees win their matches, they have a great chance of knicking a top six finish. Koeman has problems of his own as the futures of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are uncertain, but he can be very proud of his first season as the club’s manager. This is only the first step and he will have ambitions of competing for a Champions League place before long.
Burnley have had a good season in the Premier League and are set to remain in the division for more than one year, the first time in their history. They are in 12th position and a top half finish is in their sights. Last time they were in the top flight, they had a squad full of workers but lacked the talent required. This time, they have more technical ability in the likes of Michael Keane, Jeff Hendrick, Steven Defour and Joey Barton, while managing to maintain the impressive work rate. Their away record is a worry, but they deserve a lot of credit for establishing themselves in this division with relative comfort.
The Toffees have only lost once in their last five and have managed to recover from a minor blip to record an impressive victory over in-form Leicester City last weekend. They are much better at home and they will go into this weekend with a lot of confidence, after scoring 26 goals in their last seven league matches at Goodison Park.
Burnley are limping to the end of the season with only one victory in their last nine league matches. They have faced some difficult matches, but they would have expected to have achieved a greater points total over this period. Last weekend, they had a great opportunity to end their away hoodoo, but they only managed to draw 0-0 with relegation-threatened Middlesbrough.
Ashley Williams is going to return to the starting eleven after serving his one-match suspension and he will likely replace Matthew Pennington. That is the only change expected from the hosts after a strong performance against Leicester City.
Although they didn’t manage to beat Middlesbrough, it is difficult to see Burnley making any changes this weekend. Sam Vokes and Steven Defour are players that could come into the team, but it is more likely that they name an unchanged team.
Ashley Williams will be available after serving his suspension. Aaron Lennon won’t feature, but Muhamed Besic is nearing a return from his bad knee injury.
For the visitors, Johann Berg Gudmundsson is close to a first-team return, but he is unlikely to be risked this weekend. Steven Defour is available after a number of weeks suffering from hamstring and knee injuries.
Match Prediction: Everton 4-0 Burnley
Everton have been excellent at home in recent weeks and have become a side full of goals. Given Burnley’s poor away record, it is difficult to see anything other than a convincing home victory. Romelu Lukaku will be looking to press home his claim to finish as the league’s top scorer with some goals this weekend. This should be comfortable for the Toffees.