RESILIENCE has become a byword for describing David Moyes’ Everton, with the Scot developing a team that rarely makes the same mistakes twice.
But some may nevertheless be surprised to learn that it has been almost two years since Everton lost consecutive games in the Premier League.
Sixty-five top flight matches have taken place since the Toffees last endured the bitter taste of defeat twice in a row, stretching back to November 2009. To put their record in perspective, only Manchester City come even remotely close, with 32 games since they lost twice.
Evertonians must cast their mind back to a gloomy winter evening 22 months ago, when they were beaten 3-2 by Hull City on the same evening that their hopes of a new stadium in Kirkby were dashed.
The stat will provide optimism to Blues fans ahead of this Saturday’s derby showdown at Goodison, which follows Saturday’s defeat by Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
But there is a less welcome factor in the equation – the rare defeat which followed that setback in Hull in 2009 was a 2-0 Merseyside derby reverse at Goodison Park.
The Blues typically made amends for that demoralising reverse at the hands of Phil Brown’s Hull later in the 2009/10 campaign, when they thrashed the Tigers 5-1 at Goodison thanks to strikes by Mikel Arteta, Landon Donovan and Jack Rodwell.
And despite a poor start to the campaign, Moyes eventually guided his men to a respectable eighth-placed finish, just two points behind their city rivals.
The following campaign saw the Blues never allow losing to become a habit. One of the low points of the season was undoubtedly the demoralising 4-1 humiliation at the hands of West Brom at Goodison, and a trip to Stamford Bridge immediately afterwards presented the toughest road to redemption.
But the Blues responded to going behind to a Didier Drogba penalty in West London, to snatch a late equaliser courtesy of Jermaine Beckford.
Then, when they kicked off the New Year with a 2-0 defeat by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, Everton responded with a pulsating 2-1 win over Harry Redknapp’s high-flying Tottenham at Goodison.
The following month saw the same pattern repeated; Arsenal consigned the Blues to a 2-1 loss at the Emirates during a controversial game when Moyes claimed Cesc Fabregas should have been sent off for his half-time comments to the fourth official. Once again the misery was banished with a thrilling 5-3 demolition of Blackpool at Goodison that saw Louis Saha fire his way into the history books with four goals.
Even the dismay at West Brom completing the double over the Merseysiders in their final away game of the season at the Hawthorns was banished with a triumphant closing day win over Chelsea.
Moyes’ all-encompassing analysis of bad results means his team have bounced back time and time again.
And the Scot has engendered such loyalty in his players that they are always desperate to restore his faith in them after a below-par display.
There were no consecutive league defeats in the 2008/09 season, and you have to go back to October 2007 to find another two league disappointments – one of which included the infamous Mark Clattenburg derby shocker.
Now everyone of a Royal Blue persuasion will hope to enter a tough run of games, as fixtures against Chelsea, Fulham and Manchester United follow, on the back of yet another resilient triumph.