Season 2015-16 Opinion Match Reports
Accounts from matches by our editorial team and featured correspondents
David Unsworth's team blended of youth and experience and exhibited welcome tempo and tenacity as they ended 2015-16 on a real high with a 3-0 win over Norwich.
For the second away game in succession, Everton were shockingly inept, gutless and directionless. The Blues not only formed the guard of honour for the new Champions, they pretty much lay down and became the blue carpet over which Claudio Ranieri’s men trampled towards lifting the trophy.
By his own admission, football is a results-based business. The Catalan's horribilis sabbati should be his final curtain call.
Roberto Martinez promised to make Evertonians proud before the Merseyside derby. Instead, Blues fans were served up utter humilation in the worst arena possible, his Everton side disgraced at the home of rivals Liverpool.
Everton’s aimless drift towards Roberto Martinez’s latest date with destiny continues after much of his second string served up 90 abject minutes of directionless football that was somehow enough to earn a point.
A decent enough point in the context of Everton's poor run of form but the search for pre-Wembley momentum goes on.
Hardly an inspiring warm-up for a possible reunion in the FA Cup Final. For long periods, it was an untidy and uninspiring tussle between two teams drifting in mid-table.
On the evidence of this third straight League defeat, Roberto Martinez's Everton are a shadow of the side that ended a 21-year winless run at Old Trafford in December 2013.
Everton hit a new low in a season littered with painful home defeats with a comprehensive 2-0 reverse at the hands of Arsenal.
The Belgian produced a moment of brilliance and followed it up with a second well-taken goal fire the Blues to a semi-final date at Wembley.
It was Groundhog Day at Goodison Park again as Everton threw away another two-goal advantage and lost 3-2 to West Ham.
Everton never really got going but still beat the struggling Midlanders convincingly behind goals by Funes Mori, Lennon and Lukaku
Everton redeemed themselves to a large degree for November's capitulation on Bournemouth's turf in the Premier League with a 2-0 win and passage to the FA Cup Quarter Finals.
Everton atoned for the two prior meetings with Stoke and took another step back towards the right area of the Premier League table.
Everton's hopes of ending a 21-year trophy drought were extinguished by Manchester City in controversial and yet predictable fashion at the Etihad Stadium leaving Roberto Martinez's hopes for redemption resting on the FA Cup.
Everton have slipped into reverse under Roberto Martinez who must surely be on borrowed time where it comes to convincing the fanbase that he is capable of evolving away from the approach that scuttled Wigan.
Everton came within seconds of a season-igniting victory at Stamford Bridge but were denied by horrendous officiating that will ensure that what was already an extraordinary game of football will live long in the memory.
A result that will probably prove more useful in terms of psychology for the second leg of the Capital One Cup than Everton's derailed charge for the top four but a hugely creditable draw nonetheless.
Thanks to an impressive performance that blended patience, tenacity, skill, organisation and a heavy dose of character the Blues will take a slender but precious lead to the Etihad in three weeks' time.
Everton stopped the rot after successive home defeats to Leicester and Stoke but they still couldn't hold onto a winning position.
The manager's suspect game-management and the continuing softness of his back line contributed to another three points being swept away in a torrent of goals.
If the Bournemouth draw bore the hallmarks of the kind of result that Martinez might have referred back to at the end of the season as a psychological blow from which his players never recovered, the manner in which his charges won this game will hopefully feel like redemption and a new lease on life in terms of morale.
It was billed as a battle between two of the Premier Leagues most dangerous attacking partnerships but the Jamie Vardy-Riyah Mahrez double-act came out on top, as did Leicester who deepened the demoralisation in the blue half of Merseyside by plundering all three points.
The Blues' window of opportunity in an unpredictable Premier League season narrowed further with two more points frittered away from a winning position.
Sixth place and a berth just two points behind the top five beckoned if the Blues could fashion a win. Instead, frowned upon by Lady Luck up front, they found themselves forced to chase a game again after falling behind.
The Goodison faithful were left toasting another sumptuous exhibition of attacking football and three important points to kick off what the manager has identified as a dozen crucial games in Everton's season.
The Blues struggled to find at extra gear to lift themselves above West Ham once the Hammers had lost their chief inspiration in Dimitri Payet,
Orchestrated magnificently in midfield by Gareth Barry on any other day he would have been a shoo-in for player of the match aided by the greater license to get afforded to McCarthy and then executed by a forward line of Deulofeu, Kone and Lukaku that was simply irresistable at times, it was an attacking exhibition to savour.
As with any cup game, the important thing is to get through, sometimes by whatever means are necessary. On this occasion, that meant relying on a goalkeeper seizing his chance to shine and finding enough impetus from the substitutes to find a route back into the match.
A result that carried a depressing air of inevitability about it as Everton were punished for slack defending, indecisive goalkeeping and a continuing inability to put together two halves of decent football in the same game.
Evertonian eyes will naturally focus on what this result means in terms of a reality check on the Blues' resurgence but the level of performance put in by Louis Van Gaal's men went a long way to influencing Everton's own dismal showing.
Another derby, another draw; honours even and bragging rights postponed for another day.
Everton complete a memorable recovery at The Hawthorns, fighting back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and move up to fifth in the table after seven games.
An almost perfect away performance by the Blues was let down by Romelu Lukaku's lack of conviction in front of goal
Steven Naismith's hat-trick capped an excellent home performance against the reigning Premier League Champions
With a bit more adventure, more cohesion in the final third and that elusive play-maker already embedded in the side, Everton might be sitting in a more favourable position heading into the first international break of the 2015-16 season.
Decisive half-time changes eventually turned this Capital One Cup second round tie in Everton's favour as Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley provided the catalyst.
City were superior but also fortunate and the margins on the day in front of of the respective goals were slim. Sometimes fortune favours the brave but Martinez played it frustratingly safe.
What a difference a week makes. Few Evertonians would have expected what unfolded on the south coast today but the travelling Blues were treated to an excellent display a handsome 3-0 win over highly-fancied Southampton.
One game doesn't make a season but this one certainly perpetuated a trend firmly established last season, one which clearly illustrated the priorities for the summer. Fail to find those missing pieces and, on the evidence of today, you feel that Everton are doomed to another season of mediocrity.