Life at Everton could not be much different from this time last year, with the sweet success of last season being replaced by tales of tribulation for the Toffees, which is leaving a more sour taste in the mouth.
Monday night’s 0-0 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion was their eighth match without a win in all competitions.
Kevin Mirallas taking a penalty, ahead of first choice spot-kick taker Leighton Baines, and then missing the said penalty has epitomised Everton’s season so far.
This last time last year, coincidentally after a draw against West Brom (this time 1-1 away), they were sat in sixth, with 42 points, just one point off the top four, while this campaign they are looking over their shoulder.
Only 23 points have been amassed, 19 less, and they are perched in 12th, four points adrift of the bottom three.
Such a situation was unthinkable in the summer, as a side that ended up in fifth by the season’s end, bolstered their squad with Muhamed Besic, who was a regular for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the World Cup, and two time Champions League winner Samuel Eto’o.
Eto’o is, in fact, subject to speculation away from Merseyside already with Sampdoria monitoring the 33-year-old.
Half of the players Everton had on loan during 2013/14 also joined, this time permanently: Gareth Barry on a free transfer, as well as Romelu Lukaku for a club record £28 million fee.
Christian Atsu also joined from Chelsea on a season-long loan but, at the time of writing, has only managed three league appearances in Everton’s shade of blue.
Lukaku is the most puzzling disappointment of the quintuplet considering his impressive Premier League goalscoring record that has seen 32 goals in 76 games, 15 of those coming in the 31 games he played for Roberto Martinez’s men last season in a loan spell.
Just six goals in 21 have been provided by the big Belgian since his permanent switch, most worryingly of all, that tally makes him the Toffees’ top goalscorer so far this season.
Wonderkid Ross Barkley has also struggled to regain his dazzling form from last season after suffering a knee injury one day before the season started in what has turned out to be a foreboding moment.
The aforementioned Barkley is not the only Everton casualty, however, with eight sidelined in total – the third highest in the Premier League.
First choice goalkeeper Tim Howard is sidelined (calf), Besic too with an ankle problem, along with Mirallas and James McCarthy with hamstring injuries.
Martinez must have thought he had left relegation worries behind when he departed Wigan for Everton in 2013 but unless results turn around soon, he will need to dust off his great escape handbook.