Everton’s worst five games you say? Take your pick.
I’m sure Evertonians could come up with at least half a dozen different shortlists after such a miserable year.
I have, however, tried to narrow down the 20(!!) Everton losses in 2022-23 to a final five (ish)
5) Everton 1-4 Brighton, 3 January
We were into the dying embers of the Frank Lampard era when Brighton absolutely ripped the Toffees to bits at Goodison in early January. A draw at Manchester City a few days earlier proved to be a false dawn as the Seagulls showed Everton everything they should aspire to be.
4) Everton 1-3 Fulham, 15 April
As nervous Evertonians pored over the fixture list as we entered the run in, the game with Fulham in April will have likely been circled as a must win, which only made the 3-1 defeat all the more galling.
Don’t forget this was a Fulham side that had lost their five previous matches and had nothing to play for.
The Toffees recovered from a poor start to go in level at the break, but they reverted back to type in the second half, slumping to a timid defeat.
3) Everton 1-4 Newcastle, 27 April
This was the game where most Evertonians began to believe relegation was more likely than not.
The fans roused themselves to create a boisterous atmosphere before kick-off, but after a bright start they collapsed after Newcastle’s opening goal. It left Everton 19th and two points from safety with five games remaining.
A near-empty Goodison by the final whistle symbolised a fanbase that had begun to lose hope.
2) Bournemouth 4-1 & 3-0 Everton, 8 & 12 November
OK I am cheating but I have lumped the two Bournemouth games together given they were within four days of each other and equally atrocious.
A much-changed Everton side were dumped out of the Carabao Cup in midweek before a full-strength team was beaten just as easily in the league the following Saturday, with the furious travelling fans making their feelings known at the final whistle.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course but would Everton have been such a mess had they sacked Lampard after these two games going into the World Cup break? We will never know, but they were a clear warning sign as to what was to come.
1) Everton 1-2 Southampton, 14 January
It is difficult to pick out exactly when Everton’s season reached its nadir, but the home defeat to bottom club Southampton was close.
It was a game preceded by ‘headlock-gate’, with the board advised not to attend the match because of a security threat and then leaking unproven reports chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale had been put into a headlock by a fan at the previous game against Brighton.
Everton actually went ahead in the first half though Amadou Onana, but a double from James Ward-Prowse after the break secured Nathan Jones’ only Premier League win as Saints boss who would then go down anyway.
The game was followed by angry supporters confronting some of the players as they left in their cars.
A truly grim day.