Everton’s 2019-20 campaign concluded with a whimper, beaten 3-1 by an AFC Bournemouth side subsequently relegated at the end of play.
Leighton Baines bowed out after 13 years at Goodison Park, taking with him the record of most assists – 53 in total – in the Premier League era by a defender, according to Opta.
Over the past ten seasons, Baines is the only mainstay to have featured in each campaign.
It has been a decade of ups and downs and near misses for the Toffees; from Europa League runs and a push to finish in the Champions League places in 2013/14, to the dismal 11th-place finishes of 2014/15 and 2015/16.
A 12th-place finish in 2019/20 was the lowest Everton have come in the top flight since 2004, prompting supporters to question whether there has been any on-pitch progression under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri.
In the 2010/11 season, Everton were still under the management of David Moyes and ended the campaign in seventh despite their top goalscorer in the league being Tim Cahill with just nine strikes.
The squad included the likes of Baines, Phil Jagielka, Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta, top scorer Cahill, Sylvain Distin and Phil Neville. While there were few star names, the team worked well in cohesion to claim a place just outside the established top six.
Everton’s 54-point haul in 2010/11 was enough to see them challenge Liverpool and Tottenham for the Europa League places for much of the season, but is only five points more than Carlo Ancelotti managed this year.
Man-for-man, Everton’s current squad seems star-studded compared to their class of 2010/11. And as far as managers go, Ancelotti’s track record in European football trumps David Moyes’ no end.
The Everton squad of 2010/11 was punctuated by a spread of domestic players who played a pivotal role in first-team affairs.
Baines, Jagielka, Jermaine Beckford, Neville and Leon Osman were all regulars in Moyes’ side.
And away from the domestic players, the squad was still packed with Premier League experience in Saha, Tim Howard, Cahill, Arteta and Marouane Fellaini.
Across the board, Everton had a relatively secure squad but it lacked individualism, which was synonymous with Moyes’ workmanlike sides.
By comparison, Everton in its current incarnation is younger and squad has more match-winners, but their downfall has been a lack of solidity and security in midfield.
While Moyes had Arteta and Osman to anchor, Ancelotti has been tasked with getting the best out of Tom Davies and Andre Gomes in unfamiliar defensive roles.
In terms of progress, the club has grown in stature. Everton have recently negotiated deals with Barcelona, Juventus, Arsenal and Monaco where in the past they were recruiting players from less well-established clubs.
To the Toffees’ frustration, though, so have every other Premier League club.
The division has developed massively on and off the pitch over the past ten years with the influence of coaches such as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
In 2010/11, Everton’s game-changers were seasoned professionals: Saha, Cahill and Arteta for example. This term, the likes of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Alex Iwobi are all relatively young, Iwobi being the oldest at 24.
In time, the squad could mature further and prove to be as consistent as the Moyes teams of the past.
Ancelotti is a manager of considerable pedigree, so Everton fans must take encouragement that the club is on the up rather than a decline as it was towards the end of Roberto Martinez’s tenure and the post-Romelu Lukaku days.
Marcel Brands has a job on his hands this summer in acquiring a defensive midfielder first and foremost, as well as perhaps finding a more consistent, less error-prone goalkeeper than Jordan Pickford.
The squad certainly has more marketable names than the likes of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in 2010, but results on the pitch in 2020/21 will determine whether Everton have regressed, stalled or progressed in the past ten years.