Everton succumbed to their sixth defeat of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign at the hands of Leicester City at Goodison Park on Saturday (5 November), and things are not looking good for manager Frank Lampard and his side.
Patson Daka had a fine effort saved by Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford a few minutes into the game, and the hosts should have taken the lead when Dominic Calvert-Lewin played a good pass into Alex Iwobi’s path.
However, the Nigerian attacker could only direct his effort wide when he should have scored.
That proved costly in the end as Youri Tielemans gave Brendan Rodgers’ side the lead in the 46th minute with a goal-of-the-season contender from the edge of the box that left Pickford helpless.
Calvert-Lewin had the opportunity to draw Everton level after play restarted following a lovely pass from Iwobi, but the English striker failed to beat Danny Ward, who saved brilliantly with an outstretched leg.
James Maddison hit the outside of the post with one of his trademark efforts much later, and he made up for the miss by turning provider with four minutes to the end of regulation time.
Harvey Barnes bagged his third Premier League goal in his last four games with a stunner, and it was enough to hand the Foxes their fourth league win of the campaign.
Leicester were winless in their opening seven games of the season, but have now emerged victorious in four of the seven games that followed, losing twice and drawing once.
Their latest win saw them move to 14th in the table, with 14 points to their name so far.
They are now two points off the drop zone and will be aiming to pick up another three points when they visit the London Stadium to play West Ham United on Saturday (12 November).
The one-time Premier League champions finished last season in eighth place, and they could soon be challenging for the top-seven if they maintain their current momentum.
Everton are also on 14 points after 14 games, but they are 16th in the table as a result of an inferior goal difference.
They have won three games, drawn five and lost six others, and they will be hoping to get a win when they travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth on Saturday.
A win and four defeats in their last six games have moved them closer to the drop zone, and their woes were further compounded when the Cherries dumped them out of the League Cup on Tuesday (8 November) after handing them a 4-1 drubbing at the Vitality Stadium in the third round.
Weekend’s game is a six-pointer as Bournemouth are 17th in the Premier League table, with a point between them and Everton.
The Toffees cannot afford to lose their last game before the World Cup, and Lampard could be in some trouble if that happens.
The World Cup break could provide the team with the chance to rest and work on some of their shortcomings, particularly in the final third.
They have scored just 11 goals, and while the 14 goals they have conceded make them the fourth-best defence in the league, they surely can get better.