Everton ended 2018 in disappointing fashion, winning just one of their seven matches in the final month of the year.
December started with defeat at Anfield, as Divock Origi capitalised on Jordan Pickford’s mistake in the 96th minute to inflict on Everton a defeat they scarcely deserved.
A 5-1 trouncing of Burnley at Turf Moor on Boxing Day was the only December highlight, but the year ended with another dismal defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion.
There were some excellent goals from Everton in December, though, so which was the pick of the Blues’ 11 December strikes?
Lucas Digne v Burnley (second goal) - Digne rounded off his best performance in an Everton shirt with a beautiful second strike against the Clarets on Boxing Day.
With the Blues 3-1 up with 20 minutes remaining, the Frenchman took just one touch after receiving Bernard’s pass before finding the corner of Joe Hart’s goal with a perfect shot from at least 25 yards.
Richarlison v Burnley - After Digne’s goal came another super effort, as the Brazilian took a superb pass from Gylfi Sigurðsson into his stride before firing a devastating finish past the helpless Hart in injury time to put Everton 5-1 up.
The Blues’ top scorer continues to enthrall, and this was another pertinent example of the flair and quality he has brought to Everton.
Runner-up: Lucas Digne v Burnley (first goal)
Another beauty from the Everton left-back, as he put the Blues two ahead inside 13 minutes from just outside the area with a beautiful free-kick into the top-right corner of the Burnley goal.
Hart may have been disappointed to concede it, after getting a hand to Digne’s effort, but it was nonetheless another demonstration of why Digne is proving the ideal replacement for the beloved Leighton Baines, not least because of his ability from set-pieces like this.
Winner: Lucas Digne v Watford
In truth, there is little to separate Digne’s free-kick strike in December, but given the timing and the circumstances of this goal, it edges out the Burnley effort.
With Everton seconds away from a 2-1 home defeat to the Hornets, Digne bravely stepped up ahead of Sigurðsson to slot an unstoppable shot past Ben Foster who, unlike Hart, was utterly helpless.
It was Digne’s first goal in royal blue and proved priceless, snatching a draw with almost the final kick of the match.
The £20 million signing from Barcelona could certainly claim to be Everton’s best summer acquisition, and this showing was the pinnacle of an almost faultless start to Digne’s time on Merseyside.
Some memorable finishes from Everton in an otherwise forgettable December. After 2019 having got off to the worst possible start with the 1-0 defeat against Leicester City, the Blues will be hoping for an upturn in fortunes sharply.