Everton FC: Month-by-Month Difficulty Guide to Next Season's Fixtures

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IJune 18, 2012

Everton FC: Month-by-Month Difficulty Guide to Next Season's Fixtures

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    Euro 2012 took a temporary break from the headlines this morning, as the Premier League officially unveiled next season's fixture list.

    Over the past few years, Everton have been reluctant to begin a new campaign in any kind of hurry, generally lurking in the lower half of the table before eventually deciding to sprint to the finish line around the turn of the year.

    Could this be the season David Moyes coaxes his squad to perform for a full set of fixtures?

    Here is your month-by-month guide to the Toffees' 2012/13 season, complete with a difficulty gauge for each month.

August 2012

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    18/08: Manchester United (h)

    25/08: Aston Villa (a)

    Everton open up against a wounded Manchester United side, surely desperate to hit the ground running and make amends for their late season wobbles that saw them surrender last year's title. 

    The first away trip is to Aston Villa in what will be Paul Lambert's first home match in charge—a far from ideal scenario for David Moyes.

    Both games will be tricky affairs, and Everton will need to continue with their late-season form to gain any success.

    Last Season: 1/6 points


    Difficulty Rating: 4/5

September 2012

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    01/09: West Brom (a)

    15/09: Newcastle (h)

    22/09: Swansea (a)

    29/09: Southampton (h)

    After an unkind August, David Moyes will hope the end of the transfer window can boost his side as it did in January this year, as he will want to capitalise on a far more generous set of matches.

    Each fixture in September was a contest the Toffees' took maximum points from last year, and fans will be disappointed if the Toffees do not collect between seven and nine points from this quartet of games.

    Last Season: 9/9 points (Southampton n/a)


    Difficulty Rating: 1/5

October 2012

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    06/10: Wigan (a)

    20/10: QPR (a)

    27/10: Liverpool (h)

    A set of forgettable 1-1 draws and a painful defeat against Liverpool will look to be improved on as the Toffees' tackle October.

    Despite finishing above them, Everton lost three times to their arch-rivals last season, and fans will demand an improvement for the 2012/13 campaign.

    Last Season: 2/9 points


    Difficulty Rating: 3/5

November 2012

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    03/11: Fulham (a)

    10/11: Sunderland (h)

    17/11: Reading (a)

    24/11: Norwich (h)

    28/11: Arsenal (h)

    The end of the year sees a crammed diary, and Everton negotiate two southerly journeys with three home fixtures.

    Last season's wins over Sunderland and Fulham were memorable for differing reasons, and with both sides hot on the Toffees' heels last season, Moyes will be keen to re-establish a dominance over both outfits.

    In contrast, the Norwich and Arsenal games were both highly frustrating tussles. Two games that the Toffees dominated, but thanks to some wayward finishing and some dubious refereeing calls, took very little from. 

    Last Season: 7/12 points (Reading n/a)

    Difficulty Rating: 2/5

December 2012

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    01/12: Manchester City (a)

    08/12: Tottenham Hotspur (h)

    15/12: Stoke (a)

    22/12: West Ham (a)

    26/12: Wigan (h)

    29/12: Chelsea (h)

    Naturally, the festive period brings the most cluttered month of the season, and Everton have been handed a demanding schedule.

    An away trip to the champions is not the nicest way to begin advent, and the following away journeys to Stoke and West Ham will also prove a challenge.

    Goodison Park hosts three games, with a clash against Wigan sandwiched between the visits of Champions League chasing Spurs and Chelsea.

    David Moyes secured an impressive haul from these matches last season and would be delighted if he could repeat that success again.

    Last Season: 10/15 points (West Ham n/a)


    Difficulty Rating: 5/5

January 2013

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    01/01: Newcastle (a)

    12/01: Swansea (h)

    19/01: Southampton (a)

    30/01: West Brom (h)

    The new year brings some friendlier contests after what may prove a difficult December. January actually mirrors September, with the same four teams played in a slightly different order.

    This is the time Everton generally get into gear, and, as with September, fans will look for between seven and nine points in these games, if not more. 

    Last Season: 6/9 points (Southampton n/a)


    Difficulty Rating: 1/5

February 2013

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    02/02: Aston Villa (h)

    09/02: Manchester United (a)

    23/02: Norwich (a)

    This trio of matches brought three draws of varying satisfaction. 

    A momentous 4-4 draw against Manchester United—recovering from 3-1 and 4-2 down—would have been many Evertonians' moment of the season.

    Arguably, the Toffees merited more than draws from the other two matches and will look to improve on their return next year.

    David Moyes has generally found Aston Villa a difficult side to overcome during his tenure, and he will be keen to improve his record over them in the month's first fixture.

    Last Season: 3/9 points

    Difficulty Rating: 3/5

March 2013

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    02/03: Reading (h)

    09/03: Arsenal (a)

    16/03: Manchester City (h)

    30/03: Stoke (h)

    A month with three out of four home fixtures will be appreciated, although the visit of the Premier League champions will provide Everton with a stern test.

    Travelling to Arsenal has also never been the most eagerly anticipated fixture for fans, who may well consider the Stoke and Reading games as must-win—although Stoke have troubled Everton at home recently.

    Manchester City was the only one of the three matches that Everton took any points from last season, and David Moyes will surely feel his side can improve on this.

    Last Season: 3/9 points (Reading n/a)


    Difficulty Rating: 4/5

April 2013

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    06/04: Tottenham (a)

    13/04: QPR (h)

    20/04: Sunderland (a)

    27/04: Fulham (h)

    As the season heads nearer its climax, April gives Everton the chance to rectify some poorer results from last season, especially the first three in this month, in which the Toffees only emerged with one point.

    Fulham and Sunderland are two clubs that David Moyes boasts an impressive record over, and he will want to maintain that with both teams now possessing high calibre managers.

    Last Season: 4/12 points


    Difficulty Rating: 3/5

May 2013

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    04/05: Liverpool (a)

    12/05: West Ham (h)

    19/05: Chelsea (a)

    Everton finish with a trio of testing games. Liverpool away has rarely seen the Toffees return with anything other than a defeat, and ending the year at Chelsea may prove similarly troublesome.

    The Toffees bid farewell to the majority of their fans with a home tie against West Ham, and David Moyes will be even keener to see his side leave Goodison Park on a high, given the month's other clashes.

    Last Season: 0/6 points (West Ham n/a)

    Difficulty Rating: 4/5

In Conclusion

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    Everton's season arguably gets slightly tougher as it progresses. December seems a particularly testing month, and the final stretch will certainly test the Toffees' recent habit of sprint finishing.

    For this reason, with some less daunting ties featuring earlier in the calender, it is vital David Moyes shakes off his side's tendency to start slowly.

    Everton have tended to amass around 20 points from the first half of the season before catching fire and grabbing around 35-40 points from the second half.

    Should they final start a season in-sync and reach 30-35 points by Christmas, it would surely lead to a successful campaign and a return to Europe—something fans would revel in.

    Which month do you see as the crunch period of the season?


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