A seventh-placed finish this season may not appease most people associated with Everton Football Club, but there are still several positives that can be drawn from a disjointed campaign which only a few months ago looked like it could end in disaster.
Once again the Blues suffered from a faltering start and perhaps some could argue that the writing was on the wall from the first day of the season. A blunt, lifeless performance in a 1-0 defeat away at a Blackburn Rovers side that narrowly avoided relegation epitomised the problems to come.
It was clear that Everton lacked a cutting edge going forward and free signing Jermaine Beckford was simply not a quick fix to solve the side's inept attack. But in a true reflection of what you can expect from a David Moyes side, the team spirit at Goodison Park was still as strong as ever. Again his team proved that money is not everything as ambitious spenders Manchester City were routinely swept aside in a gutsy performance at Eastlands.
On countless occasions this season fans' expectations were scorned after rare victories of quality were followed by far too many draws. Four wins in 19 games led to ramblings of discontent at Goodison and, for the second season in a row, murmurs of relegation were prominent among the Everton faithful.
But then came the revival that albeit late, provided some
moments of ecstasy for the fans to savour, the pinnacle of
which came in an FA Cup fourth-round replay at Chelsea.
Leighton Baines and Phil Neville sparked the euphoria of
another potential trip to Wembley, with the former netting
an unstoppable free-kick - which would go on to be voted
Everton’s goal of the season - before Moyes' men
Typical of the inconsistency the Toffees showed all season
a few days later.
With little left to play for, the Blues finally began to win
games, with a run of seven victories in eleven matches
culminating in a spirited 1-0 victory over Chelsea in their
final match of the season at Goodison.
Highlights of the season would undoubtedly include the
continuing progress of Baines, whose flawless
performances from left-back have attracted praise both
home and abroad.
Having being converted from full-back, Seamus Coleman
has cemented his place on the right-wing in Everton’s
midfield and at times looked the most likely source of
goals, while solid and consistent displays from Sylvain
Distin and Phil Jagileka have been essential to Everton’s
post-Christmas march up the table.
Another trophy-less season for Moyes and little in terms of finances to supplement a squad that lacks goals, would seemingly agree with the manager's recent comments that perhaps seventh is as high as his team could hope for next season.
But optimists will note that Everton have again competed with and at times outclassed the so-called bigger teams in the Premier League this season, so a better start in August could see the club competing for places a little higher than what their manager expects.
By David Downie, Deputy Sports Editor
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Inconsistent results have left David Moyes with a lot to think about for next season (Pics © Trinity Mirror)
EVERTON FC 2010/11 SEASON
© Trinity Mirror
(Pics © Trinity Mirror)