Season Review - May 07
May was the decisive month for the Blues in their pursuit of a European place.
And when the side's mettle was tested, they delivered in emphatic fashion.
There were just two games to contend - but what games.
Portsmouth arrived at Goodison on May 5 knowing that a victory would have moved them above the Blues in the table - and pushed Everton out of the European places with just one game remaining.
Not surprisingly, there was a nervous start to proceedings, but David Moyes' men showed their edge in the second half, stepping up a gear after a goalless opening period to sweep aside Pompey.
Two goals in the space of a few minutes were the key. David Moyes had been bold with his team selection, starting James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe together in attack for the first time with Andy Johnson out with an ankle injury.
The young forwards, both still just 18, performed admirably and it was Vaughan who provided Mikel Arteta to open the scoring from the penalty spot - fouled by Glen Johnson as he charged into the Portsmouth penalty box.
Minutes later, Joseph Yobo powered a header from an Arteta centre past David James and the victory was assured. A late diving header from Gary Naysmith, his first of the season, sealed the points and, with Reading's shock defeat at home to Wigan, Everton were all but guaranteed a place in the top seven.
Only a record defeat on the final defeat to Chelsea would have jeopardised Everton's place in the UEFA Cup.
But the manager's focus was on winning that game - becoming the first manager to mastermind the defeat of Jose Mourinho at home in the league since his move to Stamford Bridge.
It would have also assured Everton of a fifth place finish. It looked as if the win was on course as well. Vaughan netted a well-taken opener as Everton took a grip of the game.
But a controversial equaliser from Didier Drogba denied Everton the three points and the fifth place Moyes coveted so much. The controversy surrounded a blatant foul on Mikel Arteta in the build-up to Chelsea's goal.
The referee allowed play to continue - and the Everton boss was banished to the stands for his remonstrations on the side of the pitch.
It speaks volumes for the progress made by Everton in recent seasons that a draw at Chelsea was regarded as a disappointment. Qualification for European competition for the second time in three years, however, more than made up for it.