At Everton, Rafa Benitez can avoid a Carlo Ancelotti rematch with David Moyes.

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At Everton, Rafa Benitez can avoid a Carlo Ancelotti rematch with David Moyes.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton saw their wheels fall off around this time last year.

The Blues were flying high at the top of the Premier League table when striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored on his England debut, after scoring eight times in the first six games.

The Toffees’ form after the international break, on the other hand, soon extinguished the feel-good factor that had propelled Everton hymn ‘Spirit of the Blues’ to the top of the music charts.

Jordan Pickford’s choice on Everton’s change does not tell the whole story.

Following a creditable draw with Liverpool, the team went on to lose four of their next five Premier League games.

Everton were the last team with an unblemished record when they traveled to Southampton on October 25 but lost 2-0 at St Mary’s due to Richarlison’s red card in minute 90 of the Merseyside derby.

It was a sloppy performance, and the Toffees never looked like getting back into the game after falling behind 2-0 after 35 minutes, especially after Lucas Digne was sent off. The fact that his ban was reduced from three to one game suggested that dismissing him for a challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters was a little harsh.

The Blues next traveled to Newcastle, where they were defeated 2-1 by a Callum Wilson brace, despite the absence of Digne and Richarlison.

A third defeat came at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford. Despite Bernard’s opener, the Red Devils responded in the first half with Bruno Fernandes before Edinson Cavani clinched the win in the 94th minute.

Everton won three points away at Fulham, but were unable to maintain their momentum after losing to Leeds, the first of many defeats at Goodison Park last season.

It was a big hiccup that would cost the Toffees come May, as they dropped to tenth place before Ancelotti decided to return to Real Madrid.

Twelve months later, Everton are off to a similar start as they head into the international break.

Rafa Benitez’s side are in fifth place, level on points with Manchester City and United after a positive draw at Old Trafford courtesy of summer addition Andros Townsend’s fifth goal of the season. “The summary has come to an end.”

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