2023: another year of chaos and underacheivement at Everton

As the year draws to a close let us have a look over the last twelve months and review how this club have fared.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton FC - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton FC - Premier League / Malcolm Couzens/GettyImages
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Well, clearly it has been a year of huge upheavals and change at Everton, although that's not unusual or in fact anything different from the last four or five years! The cycle just keeps repeating it seems.

The year began with the Blues yet again struggling badly on the pitch and calls for another chance of manager once again gaterhing pace.

Frank Lampard had earned some decent credit due to his overseeing survival at the end of the 2021-22 season after that come-from-behind 3-2 win over Crystal Palace kept the Toffees up with a game to spare.

However, that credit was diminishing fast as the following campaign had gone from bad to worse with Lampard's side unable to win a match until the seventh game in and therefore finding themselves playing catch up all season long.

Then results really started to go south as 2022 moved towards it's conclusion with the Toffees in particular finding scoring goals to be a real problem.

As autumn turned to winter, Everton lost at Leicester City and were then trashed twice in succession by Bournemouth before losing five of their last six matches under the former Chelsea and England star.

Finally, the inveitable axe fell and Lampard was sacked leaving Farhad Moshiri looking for his seventh permanent manager since he took control of the club in 2016.

Sean Dyche quickly emerged as the frontrunner and was finally confirmed in post just 24 hours before the end of the January transfer window.

There then followed a truly farcical deadline day when the Blues tried in vain to sign nearly every striker that the media could find to link with them!

The result was that the new boss had no new signings to work with (the only Premier League club that didn't bring in any additions) as he faced the prospect of trying to turn around the sinking ship he had inherited.

First up Dyche's side were taking on league leaders Arsenal at Goodison Park.

Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the club, Everton won 1-0 and produced a strong and determined performance. How long would the latest new manager bounce last.

After the usual derby defeat at Anfield, the Toffees beat Leeds United again 1-0 at home before defeats to Aston Villa and then Arsenal away.

While the team's home form started to drop off on their travels the Blues began to improve with Dyche's preferred 4-5-1 formation working much better when Everton were defending and counter-attacking without much possession.

Crucial points were gained at Chelsea, Palace, Leicester City and Wolves along with a spectacular and totally unexpected 5-1 thrashing of Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

But it still left the Toffees needing to win on the final day against Bournemouth to avoid relegation to the Championship.

That win duly arrived courtesy of an Abdoulaye Doucoure strike which proved enough to see off the Cherries and secure a seventieth consecutive top flight campaign.

A busy summer followed with a host of players leaving as the club desperately tried to reduce the wage bill and cut costs.

This was given added inpetus by the news that the Premier League had decided to create an commissionto look into Everton's finances amid longstanding allegations of FFP breaches.

The Toffees were the only club (and still are) who had been referred to this commission with the news that it would likely report in October.

A new campaign then opened with defeat to Fulham at Goodison Park, even though the home team had dominated and created plenty of chanes to win.

This quickly become the theme of the new season with Everton repeating this depressing formula and losing to Wolves and newly promoted Luton Town (for their first win of the season of course!)

Despite the bad start Dyche kept working with his players and results began to improve, again especially away from home.

Then came news in September that Moshiri had agreed to sell his stake in the club to 777 Partners, a US-based investment group who had been long linked with the Toffees.

Most Evertonians, despite any misgivings over 777, were probably just happy to think that the ill-fated Moshiri era might finally be coming to a close!

However, just as it looked as though the Blues might be turning the corner the Premier League's commission announced they had found Everton guilty of a single breach and recommended a ten point penalty be applied, immediately.

This was a stunning outcome and although it fell short of the twelve points rumoured to be the League preferred penalty, it was still the largest single points deduction in English football history, even more than has ever occured for adminstration.

So the Toffees found themselves right back in the relegation zone and they were briefly bottom again before a run of four consecutive wins lifted them back to safety.

That mini-run has come to an end now and Everton have lost the last three to leave them once again hovering above the drop-zone as another year begins.

Deja-Vu or something like that seems the most appropiate response. We can only hope once more that 2024 doesn't follow and repeat the pattern seen so often.

Happy New Year to all Evertonians wherever in the World you are!