As part of our season review for Everton, we are taking a look at every game month by month. Today's article focuses on a December that was the beginning of a slow and steady turnaround in Everton's seasons. Catch up on our month by month previews by looking back at August, September, October, and November.
After the extremely disappointing loss to West Brom as November, Finch Farm was an extremely dour place to be. Reports of extra training for the players filtered through the media as David Moyes made it clear he was unwilling to tolerate any more displays of that nature. Although the players said all the right things about playing better, and that spirits were high, most fans would disagree with the squad sitting far closer to the relegation side of the table than the European side.
Everton's first December match was a trip to Stamford Bridge to face a squad that has yet to beat the Toffees since the 09 F.A. Cup Final. Everton certainly came to play and gave the Londoners a stiff challenge in the first half. Everton were unlucky to concede in the half as they went down on what can only be described as a soft penalty on Tim Howard. The American came off his line to snuff out a breakaway, but Anelka passed the ball around the keeper and then promptly ran through him, and drawing the penalty. Thankfully super sub Jermaine Beckford was able to score in the later stages of the second half off a brilliant header to make the final score 1-1.
After a deserved point at Stamford Bridge expectations had once again risen as Wigan Athletic made the trip to Goodison Park. In a very typical fashion, Everton threatened constantly but were unable to convert any of their opportunities. Time and time again the players missed fantastic chances, and in the end a 0-0 draw left them with only themselves to blame.
Following the depressing draw, Everton traveled to Manchester to face off against a favored enemy, Manchester City. The Citizens have been frequent victims of the Toffees, and this game ended up being no exception. Everton jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it. This was one of the best efforts put forth by the squad, and only a ridiculous dismissal from Victor Anichebe marred the effort. Phil Jagielka was the victim of an unfortunate own goal that made the final score 2-1 in Manchester.
Originally Everton were supposed to play Birmingham on Boxing Day, but several frozen pipes ate Goodison following an extremely cold spell led to the final game of the year coming against West Ham in East London. Once again inconsistency plagued the squad, and the team found themselves down early after an unlucky strike of the ball off Tony Hibbert's leg. Seamus Coleman found the back of the net off a long cross from Australian Tim Cahill to level things in the second half, but the Toffees surely felt they deserved all three points after Fellaini and Cahill missed golden chances to score.
From four games Everton continued their unbeaten run away from home since their August loss at Aston Villa, as well as beginning their unbeaten home form that would continue through the rest of the campaign. With a draw against Chelsea and victory versus Manchester City the squad also continued their excellent run of form against top sides, but once again were undone by a lack of finishing against the lower level teams. Check back later this week as we continue our review of each month as well as other features on Royal Blue Mersey, and until next time COYB!