Everton once again displayed their unique ability to build up supporter expectation only to drag them down to earth with a bump in the space of 90 minutes.
I think it is important not to over-react to what was a very poor defeat to an average Blackburn side, it is only game one after all, but it was disappointing to see the same old problems rear their ugly heads after such a promising pre-season.
Starting with Howard's gaffe - it was just one of those things. He is a World-class 'keeper who has saved more points than he has conceded in the past so there is no need to lambast him for his error on Saturday. Plus we still had three quarters of the game to get ourselves back into it.
But after that it became another one of those infuriating defeats where we had plenty of neat possession 40 yards from goal, but with Rovers doggidly defending with men behind the ball, we lacked the nous and creativity to break them down.
Match fitness could be an issue. I was surprised Moyes went with Pienaar, Fellaini and Cahill from the start. Fellaini has only been training for a couple of weeks after his ankle injury while Cahill and Pienaar returned late after World Cup duty. They are our strongest midfield yes, but given the form in pre-season of the likes of Jack Rodwell and Dinyar Bilyialedinov, I was surprised with Moyes' selection. It shouldn't have been a surprise to him that we tired badly in the second half. Plus I still feel Leon Osman, especially away from home, is outmuscled out of games too easily. He should be considered a relaible sub rather than certain starter.
There must have been much head scratching among the fans at the final whistle as this talented bunch of players seemed to completely lose the plot and collectively play so below par. The 'slow-starters' tag is one Moyes is desperate to shake off but it appears more appropriate than ever. The side needs to build up momentum before they play their best football - hitting the ground running from a standing start not one of their strengths.
The positive thing is that we have plenty of time to put things right, starting with Wolves next week. The negative thing is that another performance like that and we won't beat Mick McCarthy's men, and if we want to entertain any notions of finishing 4th, we can't afford many more slip ups like Saturday.