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December was a month that began in frustrating fashion.

Everton hosted Stoke City in the first of five games and, as they had done so often at Goodison, totally dominated proceedings.

But Robert Huth's close-range goal from a rare Potters corner was enough to consign the Blues to the most painful of 1-0 defeats.

It was a different story but the same outcome a week later at Arsenal when Robin van Persie's wonder-strike was the difference between the two sides, coming perversely just as the Toffees were establishing a foothold in the match.

Much was expected from David Moyes' side when Norwich turned up at Goodison for the next game and Everton began in enterprising fashion.

Ross BarkleyRoss Barkley commits his future to Everton

But Grant Holt wrestled a one goal advantage for his side and Everton began to run out of ideas.

Substitute Royston Drenthe made a real difference though, and his shot was diverted in by Leon Osman to grab the Blues a point.

That pair were at it again just four days later when the Dutchman set up the local lad for the only goal in the 1-0 win over Swansea.

That win, the news that Landon Donovan was on his way back and the securing of Ross Barkley on a long-term contract meant it was a Happy Christmas for the Blues.

Boxing Day brought the all-too-familiar trip to the north east for the Everton contingent and they returned home with a point after Leighton Baines' dubiously-awarded penalty cancelled out Jack Colback's deflected opener.

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