Everton could have mathematically secured their place in the Premier League for next season on Sunday but crumbled to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Brentford while finishing the game with just nine men on the pitch following Jarrad Branthwaite and Salomon Rondon’s red cards.
Will Everton win on Thursday?
However, the Toffees do have another chance to do so on Thursday night when they welcome Crystal Palace to Goodison Park, which will be their best chance to secure safety as they have to travel to the Emirates Stadium on the final day of the season.
While playing a team with very little to play for could be seen as a great game, they are set to be without two key players in Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph, according to O’Keeffe.
He said: “It’s terrible in terms of absences through now suspensions and players who are missing that might not be back. I’d be surprised at this stage if we see Yerry Mina again, which is so frustrating – probably the same for Fabian Delph. Obviously, we need to somehow get over the line.”
TIF Thoughts on this double injury blow…
It’s been a frustrating season for the Everton duo Mina and Delph, who have only managed a combined total of 19 league starts this campaign. The absence of Mina in particular has been felt the hardest, as he ranks second for points per game picked up out of players to have started a match in the league (FBRef).
Everton fans and players will know that it doesn’t matter how they play on Thursday evening as long as they can pick up three points, but to do so without the likes of Delph, Mina, Rondon, Branthwaite and potentially others such as Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey – who didn’t make the matchday squad on Sunday – will certainly be a tough ask.