After Everton survived the drop last season thanks to a late surge in form under Frank Lampard, supporters on the blue half of Merseyside must have thought they had weathered the worst of the storm. Surely a new season would bring greater fortunes, and a team capable of challenging in the top half of the table?
Unfortunately for the Toffees, things have turned sour once again. Lampard suffered a terrible start to the season, and was eventually shown the exit door in January. Sean Dyche is the man who has taken the reins since, and although many expected to shore up Everton’s defence and get them the results needed to steer clear of the dreaded drop, at the time of writing Everton remain firmly in the relegation odds conversation.
A terrible run of winter form is what has really cost Everton this season. Following a 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace in late October, Everton didn’t win another Premier League game until they defeated Arsenal in their first game under Dyche in early February. Of course, there was a World Cup in the midst of that time period, but it was still an eight-game stretch without a victory.
They have suffered a similar bad period of form in recent weeks, up until a timely 5-1 win over Brighton got things back on track. The Toffees had won just one game in eleven up until that victory on the south coast, which goes to show that Dyche has struggled to make things work at Goodison Park.
What might end up saving Everton is the fact that they have managed to salvage a greater number of draws in recent months, compared to the dire run of defeats they endured over the winter months. That may well be the Dyche factor in effect, but you could argue that a club like Everton should not be scrambling for points to ensure their Premier League survival.
The club is in a state of chaos, on the field and off it. Owner Farhad Moshiri has put the club up for sale, and fans can only lament a downturn in fortunes that has seen them finish in the top 10 under inspirational coach Carlo Ancelotti in 2021, before spiralling down the table under the stewardship of Rafael Benitez, Lampard, and now Dyche. Meanwhile, Ancelotti has won the Champions League with Real Madrid.
The new stadium currently under construction in the Bramley Docks area of Liverpool stands as a glimmer of hope for Everton’s supporters, but the new ground risks being a white elephant if this great club were to find themselves in the Championship.
If Everton do stay up this season, lessons must be learned from last summer to avoid another relegation battle in the 2023-24 campaign. With a full pre-season, Dyche will be able to instill his philosophy and system more effectively, but there will be pressure on the former Burnley boss to deliver a style of football that meets the expectations of the Goodison Park faithful.
It’s been another rotten campaign that most Everton fans will want to forget quickly. The only positive is that it’s nearly over.