Carlo Ancelotti’s first and only season in charge of Everton promised a lot but delivered surprisingly little.
They were top of the table and dreaming of a title challenge after winning their first four games, but that blistering start proved unsustainable.
The signings of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and the gifted James Rodriguez had raised expectations on Merseyside and rightly so.
Early on, Rodriguez, a free signing from Real Madrid and a favourite of Ancelotti, was running the show for Everton, creating and scoring goals.
Another four-game winning run heading into the festive period rekindled those early hopes but the Toffees’ home form collapsed in the new year.
They won just two of their last 12 games at Goodison Park to drift out of contention for a place in Europe.
In the end, Everton had to settle for 10th and the progress shown by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Ben Godfrey.
Fans were still looking to the future with optimism until Ancelotti announced that he would be returning to Real Madrid, where he had previously won the Champions League.
The search for a replacement was slow and many were dismayed by the choice of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.
A skilled tactician, who has worked at the highest level in England, Italy and Spain, he will have to win over the supporters quickly.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Asmir Begovic, Andy Lonergan
Defenders: Jonjoe Kenny, Seumas Coleman, Ben Godfrey, Mason Holgate, Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane, Jarrad Branthwaite
Midfielders: Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Fabian Delph, Tom Davies, Andre Gomes, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend, Alex Iwobi
Forwards: Bernard, Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Cenk Tosun, Anthony Gordon, Ellis Simms, Salomon Rondon
PREMIER LEAGUE Everything you need to know for the 2021/22 season
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