Two sides that promised so much and have delivered little this season clash at Goodison on Saturday when Everton play host to Fulham.
David Moyes’ Everton side finished in eighth place last season and just missed out on the Europa League play-off spots, with expectations heading into this campaign high for the Merseyside club.
But after failing to record a win in their first six league games, Everton did not really get going until October and have been forced to play catch up as a result.
In their most recent outing, they drew 1-1 at home against Birmingham on March 9, leaving Moyes’ side sitting in ninth place in the English Premier League on 37 points – well short of fifth-placed Spurs, who have 48 points and would be guaranteed a Europa League berth.
Fulham, meanwhile, finished last season as runners-up in the Europa League after a 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in the final, though they then lost boss Roy Hodgson to Liverpool and replaced him with Mark Hughes.
Supporters were calling for Hughes’ head during the Christmas period after a disastrous run of results left them in the drop zone, but the Londoners have steadied since then to be sitting in 11th place.
In their most recent league outing, a 90th-minute penalty from Bobby Zamora helped them claim a 3-2 win over Blackburn on March 5. But with only three points between them and the bottom three, there is no room for complacency at Craven Cottage.
Hughes’ squad looks relatively fresh for this time of the season, with only long-term casualties Steve Sidwell and Philippe Senderos guaranteed to miss out.
Moyes will be sweating on the fitness of Spanish playmaker Mikel Arteta, who limped off with a hamstring complaint against Birmingham, while Tim Cahill is still bothered by an ankle injury and midfielder Marouane Fellaini is out for the season with an ankle injury of his own.