New campaigns for Everton frequently begin slugglishly but David Moyes’ side have raced out of the blocks this year, with some notable scalps taking them to the top three of the Premier League.
Last season represented a year of improved stability for Everton, with a respectable run to the FA Cup semi-finals and a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League, just outside the European berths.
The new season therefore began with an air of hope around Goodison Park, with players such as Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini in the form of their lives and new players boosting the squad, including Steven Naismith and the returning Steven Pienaar.
Although the 2012/13 campaign could not have started with a much harder game – Manchester United at home – the Blues came through the test with flying colours, winning 1-0 courtesy of a goal from the talismanic Fellaini, who was at his very best throughout.
Next up were Aston Villa, who were themselves trying to improve from the previous season, but the Midlands outfit put up little resistance and David Moyes’ side once again took the full three points in a 3-1 win.
A defeat by West Bromwich Albion and a controversial draw against Newcastle United followed,where Everton twice took the lead in a thrilling encounter but, despite a hugely controversial penalty appeal and a disallowed goal, the visitors equalised both times and the match finished 2-2.
But the Blues recovered and showed their class in thrashing Swansea City 3-0, with Fellaini again at his industrious best, having a key role in two of the goals before scoring the third.
Manager Moyes was visibly pleased during the game and he echoed his delight to the BBC at full time, saying: “The team were exceptional – we played really well and in truth could have scored into double figures.”
Everton are flying and the squad seems settled, despite selling some of their biggest stars. The summer had seen fan favourite Tim Cahill leave for the New York Red Bulls and hot prospect Jack Rodwell travelled along the M62 to Eastlands in exchange for £12million worth of the Manchester City fortune.
However, one frustration remains for Everton supporters who have not seen their club lift a trophy since 1995. With the FA Cup and League Cup their realistic opportunities for glory, the Blues already find themselves eliminated from the latter.
A midweek second-round tie saw Moyes try out some of his younger talents, who proved that there is plenty of strength in depth as they easily brushed aside Leyton Orient to win 5-0. The path to a trophy was quickly blocked by Leeds United in the third round, though, as the Blues were beaten 2-1 at Elland Road.