The stage is set for one of Everton’s biggest games of the season on Saturday as they welcome Leeds United.
Winless in six league matches and on the back of a four-game losing streak, Frank Lampard is tasked with turning the tide at Goodison, but he must act quickly to alleviate any relegation concerns.
The Toffees are four points above Norwich in 18th - albeit with two games in hand - and could pull further away with a win as the Canaries host Manchester City on Saturday evening.
Leeds sit just one place and four points above Everton, but have just about avoided being dragged into relegation talk with important wins at important times.
Games in hand also mean they can - theoretically - move above Brentford and Crystal Palace once the playing field is level, but defeat at Goodison would drag them back towards the edge of the cliff.
Injuries a huge concern
Much like Everton, Leeds United’s season has been marred by injuries to key players.
Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper have both been absent since December 5, while Patrick Bamford hasn’t started since mid-September - he came off the bench for 23 minutes against Brentford in December, scored an injury-time equaliser and pulled his hamstring celebrating.
Cumulatively, Leeds players have missed over 90 games due to injury and have had 5+ absences in six of the last seven matches.
Cooper and Phillips are set to return in March but Bamford’s outlook is bleak, with Bielsa saying during the week: ‘He hasn’t played for 15 games now. How can I not worry?’.
Their managers insistence on a small squad has put incredible strain on the few Leeds players that haven’t been injured and while the return on key players is imminent, new injuries are almost guaranteed to surface.
Top players win games
Again, much like Everton, Leeds have more than enough quality to win the games needed and pull themselves away from danger.
Luckily for Bielsa, Raphinha has been fit for all but one Premier League game this season and has proven the difference maker regularly, scoring eight goals so far - double anyone else’s tally.
The likes of Jack Harrison, Dan James and Rodrigo all possess the quality to swing games Leeds’ way - not to mention lifelong Liverpool fan Joe Gelhardt in reserve.
The likes of Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk hold more than enough quality to stifle Premier League opposition, while the experience of Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Adam Forshaw has proven invaluable during an arduous campaign.
And in 21-year-old Illan Meslier they have an excellent young goalkeeper.
The Elland Road faithful can prove both a blessing and a curse for Leeds.
In good times, the 36,000 strong stadium can become a cauldron for opposition players, making it seem impossible to get a foothold - see last minute goals against Wolves, Crystal Palace and Brentford.
But the weight of expectation can also present a breeding ground of nervous energy and frustration, and this has at times made it onto the pitch.
If Everton can take all three points on Saturday, upcoming home games to Manchester United and Tottenham could provide exactly that and potentially drag Leeds into serious trouble.
In reality, all Frank Lampard’s side can do is beat what is in-front of them and see where that gets them.