Everton: Ranking the Top 10 Matches from the 2010/11 Season
With the 2011 season now consigned to the past, time for a quick look back at the best results Everton achieved during a difficult year.
As this list will portray, last season saw several moments when Everton managed to upset the form book against far more fancied adversaries. For an improved 2011/12, they must find a way of taming perceived inferior opposition on a more frequent basis.
For now though, a time to reflect on the positives and some of the more memorable moments of 2010/11.
10: Everton 2-0 Birmingham (a)
This makes the list simply due to the relief the result caused supporters. It was the seventh game in the Premier League for Everton and up until then, the Toffees had yet to attain a victory, consigned to the very foot of the table. All the inflated hope and expectations fans had built up over the summer had quickly turned to anger and pain.
Thankfully, they got a bit of much needed luck, thanks to an own goal from Roger Johnson. A late Tim Cahill header sealed the win, and Everton finally got their season going.
The pleasure of this result was augmented by the fact that the points lifted Everton out of the relegation zone at the expense of Liverpool, who slipped below them.
9: Everton 2-2 Liverpool (a)
True, a draw rarely fetches the same satisfaction as the acquisition of three points, yet this point left Everton fans in high spirits. At the time of the fixture, Liverpool were surrounded by a mass of positive hype. The match was billed as the return to Anfield of Kenny "King Kenny" Dalglish, who was surely set to rejuvenate Liverpool’s floundering season?
Not for the first time this season, Everton excelled when playing the role of underdog. Although they could not truly burst their bitter rival's bubble and win, this draw certainly deflated the atmosphere around Anfield, something Evertonians enjoy more than anything.
After conceding to a Raul Meireles strike, goals from Sylvain Distin and Jermaine Beckford temporarily stunned the hosts. Liverpool managed to muster a penalty, enabling them a share of the spoils, but Everton dominated the proceedings in the second half and went home with the happier set of supporters. The draw, for the time being at least, also kept Everton above their foes in the table.
8: Everton 2-1 Tottenham
This victory showed the class David Moyes has at his disposal, when his side function properly, as Everton outplayed their Champions League opponents. Under floodlights, Goodison Park was typically vociferous as Everton were encouraged to continually surge forward.
Goals from Louis Saha and Seamus Coleman either side of a Rafael van der Vaart equaliser were enough to secure the victory, on a night when Steven Pienaar appeared for the last time in royal blue. He departed for Tottenham soon after this game, although nobody could ever question his commitment to Everton's cause any time he put on the jersey.
7: Everton 5-3 Blackpool
This game encapsulated many parts of Everton’s season in just 90 minutes. Dominant early on, Everton were comfortable at 1-0 and 2-1 up, yet for no obvious reason, they suddenly capitulated, allowing Blackpool to lay siege to their penalty area. Two goals in three minutes gave the visitors a 3-2 lead, as Everton fans struggled to comprehend what they were witnessing.
Roared on by their home support, Everton dug deep to eventually salvage the situation and come away with a 5-3 win, thanks to some late strikes. Louis Saha was at deadliest, scoring four goals, with Beckford grabbing the other.
Everton fans would have suffered the full range of emotions during this game, and the eventual win would have caused as much relief as satisfaction to supporters.
6: Everton 1-0 Chelsea
On the final day of the season, Everton battled away with last season’s champions and eventually came out on top, 1-0. Forced to play the majority of the second half with 10 men, after Seamus Coleman was sent off, Everton displayed typical stubbornness and resilience, securing an impressive victory.
Once again, Everton were ably assisted by the Goodison Park faithful, as strident as ever, keen to make the most of the last game before the summer break. They witnessed the Toffees dominate the first half, and defend heroically in the second.
Everton eventually won thanks to an inspirational solo effort from Jermaine Beckford, who almost ran the length of the pitch for the goal. The result gave fans a perfect send off in the final fixture of the season, and the scoreline will undoubtedly lift a few expectations for the coming season.
5: Everton 3-3 Manchester United
Another draw on this list, qualifying due to the stunning finale of this game. Everton fans were on their feet, ready to go. Their team all but defeated, trailing 3-1, with barely two minutes of added-on time remaining.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Tim Cahill rose highest to score what was generally assumed a consolation goal. Manchester United routinely kicked off, expecting the final whistle to sound any second. Yet merely seconds later, Everton wrestled possession back, and after more tenacity from Cahill in the air, Mikel Arteta fired in a knock down to send Goodison Park into mass hysteria.
This point was secured from one of the unlikeliest positions seen at Goodison Park, against the eventual league champions. After two disappointing results in the league, this was the first thing Evertonians could shout about for the 2010/11 campaign.
4: Everton 2-1 Manchester City
Everton continued their impressive streak of wins against their wealthy visitors. This 2-1 victory was their fourth in a row since Joleon Lescott left Goodison Park for the riches of Manchester City in 2009.
After a lethargic first half in which Manchester City scored, Everton came out after the break inspired. Thanks to a tactical reshuffle from David Moyes and goals from Distin and Leon Osman, they ended up victorious. It was a dramatic comeback for Everton that delighted all in attendance.
The match was also a bad tempered affair, as this fixture has recently become. Heated exchanges and fracases frequently interrupted the game, making victory all the sweeter for Everton fans at the end. Defeat was that much harder for Manchester City to take, and several members of the clubs staff finished the game involved in further altercations with Everton players, as the picture depicts.
3: Everton 2-1 Manchester City (a)
Earlier in the season, Everton again ousted Manchester City by the same score line. The win ended a run of seven games without a win, in which Everton had only collected a measly five points, continually under performing. Manchester City, in complete contrast, were seven unbeaten at the time and within touching distance of the peak of the Premier League.
Despite their previous poor form, and to Manchester City’s surprise, Everton imposed themselves on their opposition early, taking a shock 2-0 lead before 20 minutes had passed. From then on it was a courageous defensive effort that saw Everton through, as Manchester City were continually thwarted.
The feat was especially notable as Everton were down to 10 men for most of the second half, as Victor Anichebe was shown a red card. The elation the Everton players experienced at the fulltime whistle was clear to see, as the players celebrated in front of their supporters long after the end of the game.
2: Everton 1-1 Chelsea (a)
Everton secured one of the larger upsets in the FA Cup this season, as they disposed of Chelsea, the holders, gaining revenge for their 2009 FA Cup final defeat. The match was a protracted encounter, spanning two fixtures, as well as extra time. It finally culminated with a penalty shoot out, which Everton ended as the victors.
After a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, few expected Everton to travel down to London and come away with anything. However, Everton were once again on top form against a formidable opponent and kept Chelsea out for 90 minutes.
Extra time arrived, and saw Frank Lampard score with what looked like the winner for Chelsea. However, in a dramatic twist, Leighton Baines levelled the tie with the last kick of the game. His delicate free-kick was voted Goal of the Season for Everton.
The lottery of a shootout followed, and it was aptly left to skipper Phil Neville, to fire home the winning kick that sent Everton through to the next round. Despite not progressing any further in the competition, this result caused great levels of optimism and pride for all connected with Everton.
1: Everton 2-0 Liverpool
No result gave Everton supporters more satisfaction than their early season victory over Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. At the time, due to the fixture's early appearance in the calender, the win gave supporters genuine hope that Everton’s slow start was behind them, and they could genuinely mount a challenge for the Champions League places this season.
Everton edged a cagey encounter early on, and Tim Cahill soon put them in front after diligent work from Seamus Coleman. The inspirational Australian, ever reliable on derby days, celebrated with a passionate, elongated celebration, depicting the emotion this fixture arouses for supporters and players alike. Early in the second half, Mikel Arteta scored with a fierce strike, to wrap up the points for the Toffees, as Liverpool struggled to keep up with their neighbours.
The result catapulted Everton up the league and left Liverpool one place off the foot of the table, a situation that delighted the blue half of Merseyside. The win was especially poignant as Liverpool had secured a memorable double over Everton the previous season.