With the final international break of the year having come to an end, Everton will look to pick up where they left off when they host Cardiff City on Saturday.
Several first-team players represented their countries last week, including Frenchman Lucas Digne, England’s number one goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, and Richarlison, who scored the only goal for Brazil in a 1-0 victory against Cameroon on Tuesday.
Here’s what history tells us about how Everton cope after these breaks in the schedule:
2018/19 – 2 games, 3 points
It has been a mixed bag in this respect for Everton this season. They followed up the first break of the campaign in September with their worst performance of the season, a 3-1 home defeat to West Ham United.
Perhaps their poor showing was partly due to new manager Marco Silva having little time together with the entire squad to prepare, but irrespective of that, it was still a deserved loss for the Blues, against a side who arrived at Goodison Park with no points from their first four games.
But they followed up the next round of internationals with a euphoric late win against Crystal Palace, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun, who had represented Turkey the previous week, sending Goodison into raptures with goals in the final minutes.
2017/18 – 4 games, 2 points
None of Everton’s three managers last season could achieve a single post-international break win between them.
Under Ronald Koeman, the Blues marked the return to action by being thumped 3-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur in September, and a 1-1 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion in October; an injury-time Wayne Rooney penalty rescuing a point in the Dutchman’s penultimate league game at the helm.
David Unsworth could only lead Everton to a 2-2 draw away to Crystal Palace, rock-bottom at the time, after the November interval, while Sam Allardyce presided over a 3-1 home defeat to runaway champions Manchester City in March, a game so embarrassingly one-sided that City midfielder Fernandinho completed only two fewer first-half passes than the entire Toffees side.
2016/17 – 4 games, 5 points
Everton’s first season under Koeman was a marginal improvement in this regard. Romelu Lukaku returned from scoring a brace for Belgium by hitting a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Sunderland in September, and followed up another international strike in October by finding the net in the 1-1 draw at Man City.
But in November, the Blues laboured to a 1-1 home draw with Swansea City, as an 89th-minute Seamus Coleman equaliser rescued a dissatisfying point against Bob Bradley’s men.
A March international break marred by Coleman breaking his leg and bickering between Koeman and Ireland manager Martin O’Neill over James McCarthy’s fitness was followed by more derby despair, as a beleaguered Everton suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
2015/16 – 4 games, 6 points
Roberto Martinez managed two wins and two defeats from these games in his final season in the Goodison hot seat.
The two losses both came against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United, going down 3-0 at Goodison in October and 1-0 at Old Trafford in April.
But the successes including one of the most memorable days of a miserable campaign, as a Steven Naismith hat-trick secured a 3-1 home win over Chelsea in September.
The other post-international victory also came on home soil, as the Toffees eased past an Aston Villa side that would be relegated with a meagre 17 points, thanks to braces from Lukaku and Ross Barkley.
2014/15 – 4 games, 12 points
It was a full house for Martinez in his second year, though, as Everton resumed domestic duties with home wins against Villa, West Ham and Southampton, and an away triumph at West Bromwich Albion in September – the Blues’ first three points of another disappointing season.
How does Marco Silva’s recent record compare?
Silva’s overwhelmingly excellent record in games after international breaks was tarnished somewhat by that West Ham defeat.
Before that, he had prevailed in his previous seven, winning all three with Watford last season, away to Southampton and Newcastle United and a late home victory against Arsenal.
He also beat West Ham in his only post-internationals match with Hull in April 2017, despite him ultimately failing to steer the Tigers clear of relegation.
The previous year, he won all four with Olympiakos as they romped to the title in his only year in the Greek league.
Though one of these games, away to Panathinaikos, was marred with crowd trouble pre-match, causing the game to be called off and Silva’s side awarded a default 3-0 win.
His record the previous year, with Sporting Lisbon, was patchier, with league draws at home to Belenenses and at Paços de Ferreira, both of which ended one apiece.
But they won two Taça de Portugal cup matches after these breaks, away at FC Porto and a 5-0 drubbing at Sporting de Espinho, on their way to lifting the trophy, their first piece of silverware for six years.
It has generally been an impressive return from Silva in these matches, and he will look to replicate this form on Saturday against a Cardiff side marooned in the relegation zone.