Everton are one of six teams to have never been relegated from the Premier League – but could this be the year?
The Toffees’ relegation concerns deepened as Frank Lampard’s side fell to a fourth successive league defeat in a 1-0 home loss to Wolves on Sunday.
Their misery was compounded as relegation rivals Leeds United and Watford both picked up valuable wins.
Everton, in 17th, are now above the bottom three on goal difference as pressure continues to mount at Goodison Park.
So, who were the big winners at the bottom of the table – and just how much trouble are Everton in?
‘We still have belief – but things are tough’
Everton have won just once in six Premier League games since Lampard replaced the sacked Rafael Benitez in late January, losing the other five.
They have failed to score during their ongoing four-match losing streak, with defeat by Wolves coming after a 5-0 thrashing by Tottenham on Monday – and leaving them with their lowest ever points tally after 26 games in the competition.
The players were booed off by some home supporters, as Jonjoe Kenny’s red card compounded another dismal day for the club.
One positive for the Toffees is that they have as many as three games in hand on the sides around them – though on current form there is certainly no guarantee that they will be converted into points.
“Their goal changed the game because it brought out a nervousness in us,” Lampard told BBC Sport. “We must keep our heads up and the important thing now is to remain positive.”
The former Chelsea boss added: “We came into a club on a bad run. You get used to losing games and that isn’t something that turns instantly. We must stay together. There are a lot of games to get the points that we need.”
He told Sky Sports: “We have belief here but at the moment it’s tough. We need to turn a corner somehow. We want to stay in the Premier League but the first thing is to keep fighting for it.”
Marsch hails Elland Road ‘magic’ & Watford boost survival hopes
There were rather different scenes at Elland Road, as Leeds United scored an injury-time winner to secure a dramatic first victory under manager Jesse Marsch.
On the pitch for less than two minutes, 19-year-old substitute Joe Gelhardt sent the home crowd into raptures as the hosts, who stay 16th, beat bottom side Norwich City to move four points clear of the relegation places.
“Obviously there’s a lot of emotions in the game. I’d heard a lot about the magic of Elland Road and we felt that today,” said Leeds boss Marsch.
“The crowd were fantastic and the performance brought them into the game,” Marsch added. “We have to fight for everything. We still have lots of work to do.”
The defeat, which left manager Dean Smith “frustrated” and “disappointed”, kept Norwich five points adrift of safety, with nine games remaining for the Canaries.
Watford stay in the relegation places, in 18th, despite victory – but they are level on points with Everton, while Leeds remain in sight.
Brentford’s second consecutive win moved the Bees further clear of trouble and simultaneously dealt a blow to Burnley’s own chances of avoiding the drop.
Sean Dyche’s men are one point from safety – having played one game more than Everton.
Despite sitting up in 14th – a point ahead of Brentford and with a nine-point cushion to the bottom three – Newcastle manager Eddie Howe insists his side are still in the mix after an eight-game unbeaten run was ended by Chelsea.
“We are still in a relegation battle,” said Howe. “We are under no illusion. We have to respond and we are looking forward to some big games ahead.”
‘Shocking to see Everton fighting relegation’
Everton signed Dele Alli from Tottenham, for a fee that could reach £40m, and Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek on loan, following Lampard’s appointment in January.
But, so far, their new additions have not led to an upturn in fortunes.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, former Everton player Steven Pienaar said: “There are so many players with a lot of quality but I think Everton have bought players for the sake of buying them.”
He added: “It is hard to see how they are in the place they are with players who have so much quality. It is shocking to see them fighting at the bottom of the table.
“If they play like they did against Spurs, it’s going to be very hard [for them to stay up].”
Everton still have to face five of the Premier League’s current top six in a challenging run-in over their final 12 games of the season.
Speaking after the defeat to Wolves, Everton defender Mason Holgate said there was “no hiding place” for his team-mates, adding: “It’s time to step up.
“Nobody wants to get relegated, no matter what club you’re at or what the history is. If you look at the squad we’ve got we shouldn’t be anywhere near here – but we are and we have to deal with it.”