After a season that would usually have seen us qualify for a Europa league place, the Blues have yet again raised eyebrows amongst the doubters within the game (Hansen and the rest of the Match of the day team spring to mind!). There have been some very unattractive player performances where our players haven't shown their talents, but there have also been a good number this year where certain players have played above and beyond what was expected.
Here are our picks for the best player performances of the campaign.
April 16th 2013, Emirates Stadium, 0-0.
Everton traveled down to London in what would have been seen by many as Everton's biggest game of the season. If the Blues came away with a win that evening they would have almost certainly secured 5th and been a good bookies choice for 4th. Unfortunately the Toffees would only secure the draw, which was still a credible result but didn't help their European push. They missed the ever present Leon Osman for this one and replaced him with Ross Barkley, who had been chomping at the bit for months. Ross was given a central midfield role to try and shake up Wilshere and Arteta in an attempt to knock them off their comfortable stride. On the whole Ross had a fine game, intercepting crucial passes offering us a different line of attack that we hadn't exploited till that point in the season. His strength to knock players off the ball and also beat players when on the ball, saw him bypass numerous Arsenal tacklers in an attempt to set up a chance to open the scoring. The major thing that stood out was his professionalism and his comfort on the ball, he was rarely caught in possession and gained the Blues some important space and created time for the other players to run off him. Hopefully he is part of Martinez's plans.
4. Jan Mucha/ Leon Osman vs Manchester. City
March 16th 2013, Goodison Park, 2-0.
As usual at Goodison park, the atmosphere was bouncing for another crucial game against then champions Man City. Everton were dominating possession in large chunks with Leon Osman the catalyst and he rarely put a foot wrong. He won tackles, he played passes Andres iniesta would have been proud of and he scored, what more can you ask of a central midfielder? Sometimes Leon held us together in the 2012/13 season and he definitely deserves more recognition.
Another of those who proved his worth, some might say finally, was Slovakian international Jan Mucha. Jan was called up to take the place of injured Tim Howard for almost a full month and the game against City might be his best he will play in an Everton shirt. The stand out champagne moment if you like, was his double save when he dived to his right to save a shot bound for the bottom corner, then got to his feet in almost one motion and smother another shot at his near post yet again on its way to goal. To crowd at Goodison stood to applaud and rightly so.
3. Marouane Fellaini vs Manchester United
August 20th 2012, Goodison Park, 1-0.
The game against Manchester United was Everton's first home game of the season and played on a Monday night at a boisterous Goodison. The lights were on and the crowd were ready to support their team loud and proud. Fellaini the season before hadn't been seen as Everton's major threat, but here he proved he could be just that when needed. He took passes to his chest under pressure from behind and turned effortlessly to play passes almost anywhere on the pitch. He made Man United's world beating centre back Nemanja Vidic look average to say the least. His goal came from a corner taken by former united player Darron Gibson, Fellaini leaping above everyone to power the ball past De Gea. He had the crowd set and ready for a good start to a season. He lead the way and the game was probably one of his best all season.
2. Leighton Baines vs West Brom
January 30th 2012, Goodison Park, 2-1.
Baines for some time had been talked about as arguably the best left back in England and the game against West Brom certainly didn't do those claims any harm. From the very start Baines was attacking West Brom's right side with assistance from Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar. He caused havoc in the first half in what proved to be a crucial win come the midway point in the season. His first goal came from some brilliant link up play between the two I mentioned and Baines himself. Yet again attacking the Baggies right, Baines then cut inside and smashed a thunderbolt past Ben Foster's right hand into the top corner of his goal. He added a second before half time with a penalty, he yet again smashed it, this time low to the right of Foster and into his bottom corner. He was man of the match by half time. Best English left back? By a long way for me.
1. Kevin Mirallas vs Tottenham
April 7th 2013, White Hart lane, 2-2.
Now some of you may not agree that this was the Belgian's best game, but for me, off and on the ball, it was and this was the first sign that he could step up and be the centre piece for us in a big game. At Tottenham we had to get at least a point to have any chance of making it into the Champions league places. Kevin was for me the biggest part of that for Everton on the day, he attacked the Spurs defence, making a team look average when they have been anything but this season. He did a job above and beyond what would have been expected of him on the day, he was relaxed and confident in his ability and the best part was that this was against one of the best team's in the league. He scored a goal that could and perhaps should have been awarded the Everton goal of the season, recovering the ball on the right to then come inside one Tottenham defender, turning another inside out and playing with the final defender - taking him in, then out, then in and back out again - before drilling his shot low and hard across Lloris into the inside of his far post. Brilliant.