They flew too close to the sun but avoided getting burned thanks to a well-calculated managerial change, some notable wins and late drama.
Everton will take notes from the chaotic campaign to avoid dancing on the edge of despair again next term. But they will gratefully do so as a Premier League club.
Here’s Everton’s 2022/23 season review.
Player of the Year: Dwight McNeil
Yerry Mina and James Tarkowski should be credited for stepping up in the big moments towards the end of the season.
However, Dwight McNeil’s transformation under Sean Dyche’s leadership stole the spotlight, with the versatile winger establishing himself as a central figure under his compatriot.
The 23-year-old notched ten goal contributions and also put in some talismanic performances to help his side avoid the drop late in the season.
Performance of the season
Everton’s emphatic 5-1 success over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium caught everyone by surprise, especially as the Toffees had gone 15 away games without victory.
Coming up against a side competing for the European places, the odds were firmly stacked against the struggling Everton, but they rallied to a thumping success.
The Seagulls could do little about the precision from Dyche’s side on the counter-attack, and the victory acted as a catalyst that eventually spurred the Toffees to safety.
Disappointment of the season
Everton narrowly survived their first relegation battle since 1998 in the penultimate game of last season, with Frank Lampard pulling off ‘the great escape’.
The Englishman had galvanised the squad and the fans to ensure they were pulling in the same direction, so there was plenty of promise and expectation for what the future held under his leadership.
However, after a shaky start to the season, where they failed to win any of their opening six games (D4, L2), Lampard was soon under pressure following an awful run of poor form.
The 44-year-old was grasping at straws, and a dismal tally of five points from 12 games (W1, D2, L9) on either side of the World Cup break saw him sacked, leaving Dyche to work with a squad bereft of a winning mentality and fighting spirit.
What do the stats say?
It has been a historically bad season for the Toffees, who finished an appalling campaign with their worst placement and points tally in nearly two decades.
They finished 17th in the Premier League table, having accumulated 36 points (W8, D12, L18) for the first time since the 2003/04 campaign (17th place, 39 points).
They created 49 big chances (1.7 per match) but only converted a paltry 34 goals (0.9 per game) – the second-worst attacking return this season, with only Wolverhampton Wanderers netting fewer times (31).
It is their worst goal tally since 2005/06, and not even in their relegation-battling 2004 campaign did they manage such pathetic numbers in front of goal.
Everton’s defensive metrics were not as bad as the season suggests after conceding 57 goals (1.5 per match), and Jordan Pickford was a big part of why they maintained respectable numbers at the back.
The Englishman made 124 saves while managing eight clean sheets. His 3.4 saves per match rank fourth amongst other goalkeepers in the league.
Pickford also created one big chance and has an assist to his name.
Everton have maintained their Premier League status at the death, extending their remarkable top-flight run to 71 consecutive seasons.
It was a far from acceptable season, but the Everton supporters will be delighted with a happy ending to a campaign that looked destined to be the worst in the club’s rich history.
Their survival was more about relief than celebrations, and something fundamental needs to change if they are to return to the heights of previous campaigns when they competed for European places.
‘Sack the board’ was a recurring theme chant from Evertonians who have been worn down by a series of appalling decisions by the club hierarchy.
A significant change at the boardroom level will be pivotal to the club’s long-term ambitions.
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