Season Review: April
Capital gains as points taken off Spurs, QPR, Arsenal and Fulham.
April was another profitable month as eight points from five fixtures kept Everton hot on the heels of the clubs occupying the European qualification positions.
White Hart Lane was the first port of call for the Blues, but they were denied what would have been a first away win over Spurs in five seasons by a late Gylfi Sigurdsson strike.
Everton - already without the suspended Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini – saw their task get off to the worst possible start when Emmanuel Adebayor netted inside the first minute.
Yet the Blues then turned the contest on its head through Phil Jagielka’s header and Kevin Mirallas’ stunning solo strike, the goals coming either side of half-time.
The Toffees defended all that Spurs threw at them in the second period until Icelandic attacker Sigurdsson reacted quickest inside the area to find a late leveller for the hosts.
Normal service was resumed the following week at Goodison Park as Championship-bound Queens Park Rangers were sent tumbling to another damaging defeat.
A goal in each half from Darron Gibson – his first of the campaign – and Victor Anichebe had the victory more or less sewn up 35 minutes before the final whistle.
A midweek return trip to north London followed but – despite an entertaining end-to-end affair - it proved to be a stalemate at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
Ross Barkley grabbed the headlines with a fearless midfield display and may have snatched the winner too, his curling second-half effort missing the target by the faintest of margins.
From one end of the country to the other, Sunderland was Everton’s next destination three days later.
With the Black Cats fresh from the 3-0 win over bitter rivals Newcastle United in the Tyne-Wear derby and new manager Paolo Di Canio taking to the Stadium of Light dugout for the first time, it was always destined to be a tall order for David Moyes’ side.
And so it proved as Stephane Sessegnon’s effort on the cusp of half-time decided a game in which Everton – minus the injured Phil Jagielka – never really got going.
Jagielka was back fit the following week when Fulham became the latest team to leave Merseyside pointless.
The Blues’ rearguard was rarely troubled by a thoroughly unambitious Cottagers side who were condemned to a 20th successive Goodison Park defeat by Steven Pienaar’s seventh goal of the season after a quarter of an hour.
The home form – now standing at five straight league wins - was keeping Everton in the hunt, and with three matches remaining in the final month of the season, the Blues still held an outside chance of breaking into the coveted top-five positions.