When bedlam and euphoria exploded all around Frank Lampard at Goodison Park last May, there were hopes it might herald a new era.
Yet, a little more than half a year on from Everton’s dramatic escape from Premier League relegation trouble, the Merseyside club are again in the mire.
A shambling 4-1 defeat to Brighton means the Toffees are in the drop zone and Lampard is odds-on to be the next manager out of a job in England’s top division.
So, how did it comes to this?
MORE: Next Premier League manager sacked: Updated odds for 2022/23 bosses as Lampard feels pressure
Why is Frank Lampard favourite to be next Premier League manager sacked?
Everton are on a run of six winless league games going back to October. Lampard’s men also won none of their first six top-flight matches this term and such prolonged slumps are, unfortunately, the building blocks for relegation.
That initial run at least ended with four consecutive draws that were then consolidated by back-to-back wins over Southampton and West Ham – the two clubs accompanying Everton in the bottom three as the first week of January concluded.
Since then, they have been in freefall – losing seven and winning one of the past 10 Premier League games.
A battling 1-1 draw away to champions Manchester City on New Year’s Eve now looks like nothing more than the latest false dawn of Lampard’s 11 months in charge.
In-form Manchester United are up next in the FA Cup third round, a free hit that could quickly turn into a humiliation.
League games with Southampton and West Ham follow and, without positive results in those matches, it would be increasingly hard to see Lampard take charge when Everton host leaders Arsenal on February 4.
Lampard’s Everton record and transfers
Of Lampard’s eight wins in all competitions after taking over last season, seven came at Goodison Park. This included four wins and a draw in their final six home league games, a run that was decisive in Everton securing survival.
By contrast, the Brighton defeat was Everton’s third in a row on their own patch, with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace their only Goodison triumph in five matches since the start of October.
Dele Alli, on a free transfer, and Donny van de Beek and Anwar El Ghazi, each on loan, all arrived on deadline day last January, the same day Lampard’s appointment as Rafael Benitez’s successor was confirmed. As such, it feels unfair to lay their minimal impacts entirely at his door.
Fans at Everton have long been disgruntled with how the club is run and the board rather than Lampard were the main target of their ire during the Brighton match.
Lampard was not furnished with a huge transfer war chest during the summer but was allowed to sign Amadou Onana and Dwight McNeil for significant fees. James Garner is yet to start a league game since joining from Manchester United and is now sidelined through injury, while forward Neal Maupay has managed a solitary Premier League goal.
Conor Coady and James Tarkowski arrived on loan and on a free transfer respectively to become Lampard’s preferred central defensive pairing.
None of the incomings have truly compensated for the departure of Richarlison to Tottenham, but this is now a team that bears Lampard’s stamp to a significant degree.
Next Everton manager
The former Burnley manager is the bookmakers’ favourite and might soon have his pick of jobs in the lower third of the Premier League as the relegation battle becomes increasingly congested.
There are also a few familiar faces from his time at Burnley in the Everton squad. Dyche spent almost a decade in charge at Turf Moor, a job that is likely to remain his masterpiece, and his next move will be watched with interest.
A Goodison Park hero in his teens before leaving to become Manchester United’s all-time record goalscorer, Rooney’s homecoming second spell on Merseyside was cut short as he left to join D.C. United in Major League Soccer.
The 37-year-old is now head coach in Washington, having impressed in dire circumstances at Derby County. Time is on Rooney’s side at this stage of his coaching career and the opportunity of taking charge of his boyhood club would have to be weighed against how the situation might subsume a young manager. Lampard could probably tell him a thing or two about that.
Moyes made his reputation over the course of 11 years at Everton between 2002 and 2013 prior to his ill-fated stint at Manchester United.
It has taken a few false starts since then, but the experienced Scot found success again at West Ham over the past two seasons. However, the Hammers are struggling at the wrong end of the table like Everton at the moment and if a Lampard sacking prompted a domino effect, perhaps Moyes could find himself heading home.
Next Everton manager odds
Here are the latest odds from Sky Bet on who might be Lampard’s most likely successor (as of January 4).
Moyes and Rooney are not the only names with strong Everton links on the list.
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