We're on the road for the final time this season, heading to Goodison Park to take on Everton tomorrow afternoon. While our top flight survival was guaranteed with room to spare in midweek, Everton's fight to retain their Premier League status goes on. Get all the build-up to our Super Sunday on Merseyside below.
Everton's destiny is in their own hands heading into the final week of the season but that doesn't mean anyone from the blue half of Merseyside is relaxing just yet. Wednesday's draw at Vicarage Road against Watford left Everton two points above the drop zone with three to play.
Rafael Benitez's nightmare reign at Goodison Park came to an end in January with The Toffees 15th in the table, six points above the drop zone. Things, initially, got worse under Frank Lampard with Everton dropping into the bottom three at the end of last month, five points from safety, after earning just ten points from Lampard's opening 12 matches.
However, May has brought an upturn in form with Everton taking seven points from their last three games to lift their heads above water. A shock home win over Chelsea was followed up with victory at Leicester City last weekend before their midweek Hornets stalemate.
Top-scorer Richarlison (above) has earned The Toffees three points with his goals in their last five games but it has been Jordan Pickford's performances in goal which have caught the eye in recent weeks. England's number one was outstanding in The Toffees recent wins over Leicester City and Chelsea and has made the fifth-most saves (109) of all top flight keepers this term.
The Toffees are unbeaten since mid-March at Goodison Park, having taken 26 of their 36 points on home soil. They have the seventh-best home defensive record in the top flight, conceding 20, and have won as many home games (eight) as Chelsea have this term.
When asked for Hot Off The Press, Sky Sports' Ben Grounds , said: "I feel this could be the time for Lampard to move away from the cautious 3-4-3 approach witnessed in the recent upturn in form. It was used again in the stalemate against Watford but Everton failed to create many chances against a side happy to sit back. It left fans frustrated as it was a missed opportunity. Lampard referenced a lack of cutting edge, refusing to admit any sense of regret at his approach, but I feel he will now struggle to resist the temptation to go more offensive by deploying an extra forward with survival within touching distance and backed by a partisan home crowd."
Sergi Canos is set for a return to the matchday squad tomorrow but there will still be no Zanka (adductor), Ethan Pinnock (hamstring), Frank Onyeka, and Saman Ghoddos (ankle).
Fabian Delph (muscle) will miss Sunday's game, but Ben Godfrey (quad) and Donny van de Beek (groin) have a chance of making the matchday squad. Yerry Mina (calf) will miss out while Nathan Patterson (ankle) and Andros Townsend (ACL) are out for the remainder of the campaign.
- Everton can go four league matches unbeaten for the first time since their opening four fixtures of the season under Rafael Benitez.
- The Toffees have won their last four home matches against Brentford in all competitions, including a 4-1 victory in the FA Cup this season.
- Brentford won the reverse fixture against Everton 1-0 in November; their only league double against the Toffees came in the first ever campaign in which the sides met, back in 1935/36.
- The Bees have had 15 different goalscorers in the Premier League this season – excluding 1992/93, the only team to have more in their debut campaign in the competition were Bolton Wanderers in 1995/96 (16).
One of the greatest midfielders of his time, Frank Lampard won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the UEFA Champions League during his 13 years at Chelsea. He racked up 913 appearances in club football, and was also capped 106 times by England; playing at three World Cups and one European Championships.
Lampard is one of nine players, and the only midfielder, to have scored 150 or more goals in the Premier League. He is fourth in the Premier League's all-time assists ranking, with 102 assists.
After winding down his career with New York City and Manchester City, Lampard stepped into the dugout with Derby County in 2018. He led The Rams to the Championship Play-Off final that season, where they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa. His success at Pride Park earned him the dream return to Stamford Bridge as manager. However, despite a fourth-placed finish and an FA Cup Final appearance during his first season in charge, against a backdrop of a transfer embargo, Lampard lasted just 18 months in SW6, losing his job in January 2021 with The Blues ninth in the Premier League.
THE OPPOSITION VIEW
Frank Lampard told evertonfc.com: “[The Brentford Cup match] was a really big moment for me in my managerial career, you never take receptions and support for granted and that was a special day. But this game will be completely different, given where Brentford are now and where we are at this point.
"Brentford are a hard team to analyse because of the flexibility they have in the team, which shows they have a very good coach. They have been in particularly good form in recent weeks and will be a big challenge for us.”
LAST LEAGUE MEETING
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt and Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Andrew Madley
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
342 fouls - 16th in Premier League
75 yellow cards - Fourth-most in Premier League
4 red cards - Joint-most in Premier League
A strict residents' parking scheme is in place on the streets surrounding Goodison Park, and surrounding roads are closed 2 hours before kick-off. A full road closure will be in place 45 minutes before kick-off, and remains in place for 15-30 minutes after the final whistle.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Tomorrow's game is live on Sky Sports and around the world via the Premier League's broadcast partners. Click here to see if it is on where you are
Ben Burgess will also be joining Mark Burridge for live commentary on BeesPlayer.