For all of the positives last season, Everton ended the Premier League campaign down in 10th position, which must go down as a disappointment considering that there was an opportunity to make Europe for 2021-22.
The club's supporters will be expecting at least a top-seven challenge in the coming season, but it has, thus far, been a tough summer in terms of recruitment, and it remains to be seen whether the Merseyside giants can make progress next term and indeed address their inconsistencies.
Everton's pre-season has been disrupted by coronavirus, with the club only playing three friendlies ahead of the new campaign - suffering a worrying 4-0 loss to Manchester United on Saturday - but the Toffees must hit the ground running in the coming weeks.
Here, Sports Mole provides an in-depth view of Everton's 2021-22 season and what supporters could expect from the Merseyside giants over the next 10 months.
Everton will open their 2021-22 Premier League campaign with a home fixture against Southampton on August 14, before travelling to Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion in their final two league games of the month.
The Toffees will visit Man United at the start of October, while they will face Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Merseyside rivals Liverpool during a difficult November.
Fixtures with Arsenal and Chelsea will follow in December, while their second league Merseyside derby of the season comes towards the end of April, with a visit to Anfield on the agenda.
Everton's finish to the season is actually incredibly difficult, as they will follow the trip to Liverpool with a home game against Chelsea before travelling to Leicester City at the start of May.
Brentford will visit Goodison Park in Everton's final home league game of the season, before Benitez's side finish their campaign with a trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal.
Matthew Pennington (free, Shrewsbury Town)
Theo Walcott (free, Southampton)
Josh Bowler (free, Blackpool)
Callum Connolly (free, Blackpool)
Joshua King (free, Watford)
Yannick Bolasie (released)
Muhamed Besic (released)
Dennis Adeniran (undisclosed, Sheffield Wednesday)
Bernard (£900,000, Sharjah FC)
Beni Baningime (undisclosed, Hearts)
Lewis Gibson (loan, Sheffield Wednesday)
Everton total spent to date: £1.8m
Everton total received to date: £900k
Everton net transfer balance: -£900k
STAR PLAYER - DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN
Calvert-Lewin was not given too much of an opportunity to shine for England at Euro 2020, but there is no question that the 24-year-old is a key player for his club.
The centre-forward enjoyed a standout 2020-21 campaign at Goodison Park, scoring 21 times in 39 appearances in all competitions, including 16 goals in 33 Premier League appearances.
Calvert-Lewin started the season in spectacular fashion, netting seven times in his first five appearances, and there were goals against Tottenham, Liverpool and Man United during an excellent campaign.
Moise Kean and Cenk Tosun are both back at Goodison Park following loan spells, but there is no question that the former Sheffield United youngster is the first-choice centre-forward.
MANAGER - RAFAEL BENITEZ
Benitez is back in the Premier League, with the 61-year-old controversially becoming Everton's new manager at the end of June, which has not been well received by the red half of Merseyside.
The Spaniard, who left his position with Chinese outfit Dalian Professional at the start of January, managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, winning the FA Cup and Champions League during his time at the helm.
Benitez has also taken charge of Chelsea and Newcastle United in England's top flight, and he has now been tasked with following Ancelotti at Goodison Park. There will be a lot of pressure on the experienced manager to perform, and it remains to be seen whether his appointment proves to be a success.
LAST SEASON - 10th
Everton reached the quarter-finals of both the FA Cup and EFL Cup during the 2020-21 campaign, while they claimed 10th position in the Premier League, which has to go down as a disappointment.
The Toffees only finished three points behind seventh-placed Tottenham, who claimed a spot in the Europa Conference League, while they were six points off West Ham United in sixth.
A brilliant start to the season led to suggestions that Everton could challenge for a top-four finish, and their form in the first half of the campaign was largely impressive.
Ancelotti's team struggled for consistency in the second half of the season, though, which saw them drop down the division and only just manage to keep hold of a spot in the top half.
A record of 17 wins, eight draws and 13 defeats saw the Toffees collect 59 points, while they ended with a minus one goal difference, having scored 47 times but conceded 48.
As mentioned above, Calvert-Lewin enjoyed a standout campaign for the club, though, with the England international finishing with 16 Premier League goals and 21 in all competitions.
Everton have not lost any key players this summer, and they are expected to add at least a couple more new additions before the transfer window closes. That said, we are predicting another frustrating season for the Toffees, as it is difficult to back them with any real confidence to make a push for the European spots.
It would not be a surprise to see the Merseyside giants in and around the top seven at the start of 2022, but their problems with consistency could see them ultimately finish just inside the bottom half of the division.