Roberto Martinez’s second season at Everton has been, by common consensus, a rather sobering experience.
The club currently lie in 12th place in the Premier League, some four points off Crystal Palace, a pale imitation of the Champions League challengers of 2013/14.
Even beyond the lunatic fringe, there have been plenty calling for the Spaniard’s P45, on a charge of eroding all the David Moyes-instilled values that have served the Toffees so well in recent years.
Yet amid all the hyperbole, Martinez’s men are yet to stray from one of the key Moyesian tenets, namely ‘be bloody difficult to beat at Goodison Park’.
League visitors have left with all the points on just three occasions this season, with losses to Chelsea and Manchester City understandable and Crystal Palace merely emulating the victory they achieved last term.
Admittedly, a slew of draws have eroded hopes of getting close to last season’s handsome 13-win home haul, with seven more accrued already than during the entirety of 2013/14.
Yet, now that the distraction of the Europa League has been dispensed with, an Evertonian Indian summer may yet see them make a bold bid to get a good deal closer to that total.
The Toffees are unbeaten in nine when home on the range, making the upgrade from five successive stalemates to four consecutive successes when turning over Young Boys in late February.
Most recently, their win over a strong Southampton advertised their improved capabilities now European nights at Goodison are but a memory once more.
That result puts odds of 18/25 about them downing relegation-battling Burnley next time out in front of the Gladys Street faithful into a rather more generous context.
With a solitary road win all season, the 4/1 about victory for the visitors makes comparatively little appeal, while the fact that Sean Dyche’s men have lost five of their last six road games by a two-goal margin is enough to make backing the draw a dubious proposition at 14/5.