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How does Everton’s penalty reduction affect Premier League relegation battle?

Everton’s stuttering bid to secure Premier League survival received a massive boost on Monday. 

According to The Athletic, the Toffees’ 10-point penalty for breaching the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules has been reduced to six, increasing their chances of avoiding relegation. 

Immediately after the initial punishment in November, the Goodison Park outfit launched an appeal, and after almost four months, it has come to fruition.

An independent commission has now cut the club’s penalty by four points, handing Sean Dyche’s side a significant morale boost as the season enters the crunch period. 

This decision has changed the relegation landscape in the English elite society, propelling Everton out of the drop zone and into 15th place in the league standings. 

While this sudden change of heart affects all other relegation-threatened clubs, it still doesn’t mean the Merseyside strugglers are out of the woods despite now residing five points clear of 18th-placed Luton Town. 

Everton’s survival not a foregone conclusion

November’s sentence substantially influenced Everton’s mental state towards the end of 2023, and their downturn has continued in the new calendar year.

Dyche’s men conceded a 95th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend, stretching their abysmal winless run in the Premier League to nine matches (D5, L4). 

To better comprehend the depth of this crisis, you’d need to take a trip down memory line and go back to December 16 for the Toffees’ last top-flight triumph. 

Despite boasting a five-point lead on Luton on the back of Monday’s penalty reduction, they have played one more game than the Hatters and have yet to take on the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Prone to dropping points in these high-profile match-ups, Everton still have a mountain to climb to uphold the second-longest continuous presence in English top-flight football. 

Confidence stems from their chances of suffering relegation plummeting from 16.4% before the reduction to only 4.4%, but that’s still not a decisive factor by any means. 

Who suffers the most from this change of scenery?

As aforementioned, Everton’s survival chances have soared after the correction. They’re now the sixth-most likely team to go down, leapfrogging Crystal Palace, among others.

Sheffield United and Burnley were already deemed beyond salvation even before this decision, though the Clarets’ chances of staying up have further decreased.

Luton were among the hardest-hit teams in the Premier League, with the latest calculations giving them a 69.3% chance of being relegated, while the percentage stood at 62.7% before the modification.

Nottingham Forest are also in jeopardy after they’ve run out of pace following a bright start under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo. 

With only four points separating them from the bottom three, it’ll require an immediate resurgence to get them out of trouble.

The same goes for Brentford. While the new prognosis keeps them out of this equation, a 2.1% chance of relegation could soon increase unless they stem the bleeding.

Thomas Frank’s men have lost four of their last five league outings and are now only five points clear of Luton. 

Other potential candidates

Palace have been flirting with the drop zone for years. The Eagles look safe on paper, as they hold a comfortable-looking eight-point lead on Luton, albeit having played one more game.

Roy Hodgson recently stepped down as a Palace manager, with the club replacing him with former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner. 

The German couldn’t have hoped for a better start to his Premier League tenure than a 3-0 home win against 10-man Burnley last weekend. 

Meanwhile, Bournemouth seemed on the path of glory at the end of 2023 as Andoni Iraola inspired them to their longest-ever unbeaten run in the top flight.

However, it’s been all doom and gloom since. A 1-0 loss to Manchester City last weekend extended the Cherries’ agony, making it six consecutive league games without a win (D3, L3).

Eight points above the relegation line, they still look safe and sound, yet if their rotten patch continues against Burnley in the next round, things could get tricky for the Spanish manager.

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