Norwich City v Everton
So the Roberto Martinez era is underway but the Blues’ new manager had to settle for a point on his first Premier League outing as Everton boss.
There was, however, enough signs at Carrow Road to suggest that this could be quite an entertaining ride under the Spaniard.
The Blues looked incisive at times against Norwich City, controlling much of the proceedings with possession-based football that would suddenly accelerate into sweeping attacking moves involving almost every player.
We had to wait a bit - a couple of nervy moments in the opening quarter of an hour caused a hint of consternation in the packed away end - but as the first half wore on, the Blues warmed to the change of style imposed by their new gaffer.
And enjoyed themselves.
At times they unlocked Norwich with swift counter-attacks more often than not led by Ross Barkley. The youngster clearly relished the chance of stamping his authority on this new-look Everton and played with a verve and confidence that suggests he has embraced the pressure of being in the Toffees’ first team.
It was he who helped work the ball to Kevin Mirallas in the first half’s best chance.
It was quick, concise and when the Belgian picked up possession, he slid a pass into lone striker Nikica Jelavic, picked up the return pass and fizzed a low shot narrowly wide of the target.
The chance encapsulated the change of style and lifted the Blues. More scintillating attacking play saw Seamus Coleman played in behind Javier Garrido and when the Irishman cut the ball back for Mirallas, his goal-bound effort needed a Norwich body in the way to stop Everton going in front.
That’s not to say the visitors had it all their own way in the opening 45 minutes. Norwich, quite content to try and pick out summer signing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel down the channels or to look to another recent acquisition Nathan Redmond for inspiration, were only denied a certain goal when Sylvain Distin’s perfectly executed sliding tackle stopped Wes Hoolahan in his tracks.
However it was Everton who were shading it as the first 45 minutes drew to a close.
But then Norwich scored. Five minutes into the second half, Steven Whittaker drove forward, wriggled past a couple of challenges, and had a go. His curling effort struck the post, but the Scot was in the perfect place to side-foot the ball into the empty net.
So an early puzzle for the new regime and delightfully it was Barkley that solved it. Teed up by Baines, the youngster checked onto his weaker – if you can call it that – foot and arrowed in a venomous shot that beat ex-Toffee John Ruddy all ends up.
Suddenly the Blues were rampant once more and then - ahead.
Baines and Steven Pienaar were the architects, and when the latter fed Jelavic, his effort was palmed away by Ruddy, straight into the path of Coleman – what on earth he was doing up there only he knows – who gleefully smashed in the loose ball.
But this is the Premier League and one-goal leads are hazardous. And so it proved as Norwich levelled in the most fortuitous of circumstances.
Whittaker horribly sliced an effort from range but instead of flying out for a goal-kick, the ball perfectly picked out Van Wolfswinkel who coolly guided a header past Tim Howard.
Back came Everton – reinforced with the introduction of Arouna Kone for his Blues debut - but Ruddy was at his best to deny first sub Steven Naismith then Jelavic from point-blank range.
The England keeper’s heroics kept it all square meaning Martinez opened his Everton account with a draw.
Was it as Martinez would have hoped? No, but it’s a start, and positive one at that.