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Saturday 30 August K.O. 17:30

January 2007

January 2007

January was, in many ways, a surreal month for the Blues.

How else could you describe a month in which the Blues suffered a hammering at home in the cup, entertained a Hollywood living legend and managed to move up the Premiership table despite only securing one victory during the month.

It was also the month in which Manchester City showed something they failed to reproduce for months to follow - goalscoring form at home.

Unfortunately, it was the Blues on the receiving end. Two goals in the second half from substitute Georgios Samaras - including one penalty - consigned Everton to a New Year's Day defeat at Eastlands.

But it could have been very different. Leon Osman netted a late effort - and was then felled minutes later. Video replays revealed a penalty should have been given but, not for the first time during the season, the referee disagreed.

Morten Gamst Pedersen scores Rovers' secondMorten Gamst Pedersen scores Rovers' second

Nevertheless, Everton remained justifiably confident going into the FA Cup third round, despite the draw pitting them against Premiership rivals Blackburn at Goodison.

What followed, however, was the biggest defeat of the season for the Toffees.

Mark Hughes named a young side - but they managed to put the Blues on the back foot with Matt Derbyshire netting after just five minutes. By the time Andy Johnson pulled one back from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining the tie was already lost, with Morten Gamst Pedersen and Paul Gallagher adding further first-half goals. Benni McCarthy made it 4-1 in injury-time.

Disappointment turned to euphoria a week later when Sylvester Stallone arrived at Goodison as the special guest of Bill Kenwright. Stallone was in the UK promoting his film, Rocky Balboa.

Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone on the pitch at Goodison

But his connection with Everton shareholder Robert Earl proved the draw for his trip to Merseyside. He received a heroes welcome, but unfortunately Everton couldn't provide him with a victory in their Premiership game against Reading, Andy Johnson netting to earn a 1-1 draw.

Despite only drawing that game, Everton moved up from eighth to seventh in the table.

And in the final game of the month they consolidated that position, Mikel Arteta scoring two at Wigan to earn a well-deserved three points.

The January transfer window also saw some activity at Goodison, with David Weir departing on a free transfer to sign for Rangers and Manuel Fernandes arriving from Benfica on loan.

Mark Hughes also left Goodison permanently, the reserve team skipper signing for Northampton.

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