With the new additions on board, the Blues would truly find form in a month of just three games.
A trip to the DW Stadium gave Steven Pienaar his second Everton debut, but even he was powerless as a freak own goal gave Wigan a surprise lead.
A deflected cross struck Neville, falling for Howard to make a routine catch. However, the ball took a harsh bobble on the turf and evaded the American international before nestling into the bottom corner.
Thankfully super-sub Victor Anichebe was on the scene to rescue a point from the bench, the Nigerian heading home a Leighton Baines corner with eight minutes left.
The Toffees returned to winning ways a week later, and in some style.
Chelsea were next to be put to the sword at Goodison Park and Pienaar reintroduced himself to the Blues faithful in style.
The South African chased a looping ball beyond the Londoners' defence and lashed past Petr Cech after just four minutes. Welcome home.
Stracqualursi eventually sealed a 2-0 win on 70 minutes, latching onto Landon Donovan's neat pass and sidefooting home after Neville had produced a crunching but clean challenge on Ashley Cole to win possession.
Drawn at home again in the FA Cup, the Blues then welcomed Championship side Blackpool to Merseyside, where the game was all but wrapped up after seven minutes of play.
A sweeping move started by Baines saw Marouane Fellaini pick up the ball in the box with his back to goal. The big Belgian then turned to lay off a simple pass for Royston Drenthe and a quick first-time effort flew into the goal with the clock showing just 49 seconds gone.
And Stracqualursi continued his fine run of scoring form by bundling home Drenthe's corner just minutes later to put David Moyes' men into the hat for the quarter-finals.