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v Wolfsburg

Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05

September - 2005

September - 2005

The start of September marked the closure of the transfer window - and the arrival of Andy van der Meyde.

But Everton's fans had to wait for their first glimpse of the Dutch winger - snapped up from Inter Milan - thanks to a groin injury.

He was a spectator for the opening game of the month, that ended with bitter disappointment against Portsmouth.

Team-mates look concerned as Mikel Arteta lies stricken on the Goodison turf The win over Dinamo Bucharest at Goodison ended in UEFA disappointment and concern over Mikel Arteta after a horror challenge

The Blues went into the match against Pompey confident of returning to winning form against Alain Perrin's south coast strugglers.

Instead, an own-goal from Duncan Ferguson shortly before the hour mark proved the decisive moment of an uninspiring contest.

The defeat to Villarreal in the Champions League qualifiers denied Everton a place in the group stage of the competition. And to rub salt into the wound for the Blues they were drawn against Romanian outfit Dinamo Bucharest in the UEFA Cup - one of the strongest sides in the competition at that stage.

Five days after the Portsmouth game the Blues travelled to eastern Europe for the first leg of the UEFA Cup tie. A Joseph Yobo header and a strong first-half performance provided cause for optimism.

But a 1-1 scoreline was transformed into a 5-1 drubbing during a second half collapse that virtually ended Everton's hopes of progress.

Duncan Ferguson beats Andy O'Brien to the ball Duncan Ferguson makes his presence felt against Portsmouth

A fortnight later at Goodison and Everton threw everything they had at Bucharest. But despite an array of chances and a fine display from Mikel Arteta - who was utilised as a right winger for the first time in a blue shirt - the home side could only muster one goal from Tim Cahill.

And to make matters worse, a horrendous challenge on Arteta late in the game left the Spanish playmaker prostrate and left fans concerned as he was stretchered off.

Scans revealed no major damage but the concussion suffered by Arteta kept him out of action for much of the remainder of the month.

Without Arteta, Everton produced a decent display at Highbury but still fell to a 2-0 defeat against the rampant Londoners.

That was followed by another 1-0 home defeat - this time by Wigan in their first league visit to Goodison.

Both those games preceded the second leg Bucharest disappointment - the final game of the month was also the final game of Everton's European excursion in 2005/06.

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