It’s do or die for Sean Dyche and Everton today as they take on AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park knowing their fate is in their own hands. The Toffees simply need to better or equal Leicester City and Leeds’ results on the final day of the season to guarantee their Premier League survival for another year.
A win would make it the simplest afternoon for the Merseysiders. With Leeds hosting Tottenham and Leicester at home to West Ham, it could be an intriguing final day in the relegation battle with a few twists and turns to come.
Dyche is without injured striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin for this encounter, but will still fancy his side’s chances against a Bournemouth side who sealed their own safety a few weeks ago. Leicester and Leeds will be praying for a favour from the Cherries. Follow all the match updates on Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below.
We’re counting down to kick-off at Goodison. Sky Sports have their main punditry lineup here, are they expecting some drama? Roy Keane’s blue shirt gives a hint to his loyalties in the relegation battle.
Expect to hear a lot about ‘as it stands’ and ‘permutations’ throughout today’s 90 minutes.
Everton fans are really making themselves heard on the streets around Goodison Park this afternoon. They know how important today is.
Goals, goals, goals?
Everton might be playing it safe with their team selection today, but they can console themselves with the fact Bournemouth have conceded the second most goals of any team in the league. Only Leeds have conceded more.
Then again, only Southampton and Wolves have scored fewer goals than the Toffees. So will they be able to breach the Cherries’ defence?
Here come the major players in today’s Merseyside drama.
Team news thoughts
So Sean Dyche has packed the defence and midfield today, partially you suspect due to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence up top, with Demarai Gray ploughing a lone furrow up there today. He’s supported by a cast of midfielders, some of whom will be playing as wing-backs – in the shape of Dwight McNeil and Alex Iwobi.
A central defensive trio of Yerry Mina, James Tarkowski and Conor Coady gives the side a very solid look. But are there enough goals in that lineup? That’s a huge question. Everton may have to score if Leeds and/or Leicester go ahead in their games.
Team news – Bournemouth
Travers; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly; Billing, Lerma; Brooks, Christie, Outtara; Solanke.
Subs: Randolph, Stephens, Cook, Mepham, Stacey, Vina, Moore, Anthony, Sadi.
Team news – Everton
Pickford; Tarkowski, Coady, Mina; McNeil, Doucoure, Garner, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi; Gray.
Subs: Begovic, Lonergan, Holgate, Keane, Maupay, McAllister, Simms, Welch.
The team news will be announced in 10 minutes. It will be fascinating to see how attacking Dyche goes with his lineup, knowing that a win guarantees safety but that a draw may well be enough.
Sean Dyche is in rabble-rousing mood ahead of today’s collosal clash at Goodison Park.
Here he is speaking to Sky Sports: