GOOD start, bad start, indifferent start. However Everton begin their Premier League season, the League Cup continues to cause problems for David Moyes.
Not even rebranding the competition as the Capital One Cup could prevent the Goodison outfit from falling into a familiar trap at Leeds United last night.
There have been more embarrassing League Cup defeats, such as the penalty shoot-out humiliation at Brentford two years earlier.
But for the Evertonians who made the perilous trip down the M62 in horrendous conditions, it will have felt just as galling.
Their hopes had been raised by a strong start to the season with Everton playing arguably their best football of Moyes’s lengthy tenure.
Instead, their most realistic route to silverware has been cut off at the earliest opportunity at a ground where they have still only won once in 60 years.
Goals in either half from Aidan White and Rodolph Austin put Leeds into control before home nerves jangled following Sylvain Distin’s 81st-minute header.
But it was to no avail for Everton. Even with a much-changed side, they should have had enough to see off an injury-hit Leeds side languishing in the mid-table in the npower Championship.
Leeds, though, simply wanted it more, as shown by the cuts and bruises their players sported as they walked off jubilantly at the final whistle.
This should have been a chance for a clutch of newcomers and fringe players to stake their claims for more regular involvement.
Instead, most will be put back into cold storage when Moyes turns to the big guns once again for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Southampton.
Perhaps the Everton manager doesn’t quite have the strength in depth he hoped his summer dealings had provided.
Last night was the first meeting between the teams since last year’s tragic death of Gary Speed, who appeared with such distinction for both clubs.
A tribute to the former Wales manager was played on the video screen inside Elland Road before kick-off, while the crowd chanted his name for 11 minutes from the 11th minute; Speed had worn the number 11
shirt at Leeds and Everton.
With Moyes ringing the changes for the competition, the manager selected a starting XI that, for the first time in the modern era, included no Englishmen.
Costa Rica international Bryan Oviedo, a summer signing from FC Copenhagen, was given a full debut at left-back having made a late cameo from the bench at Swansea City at the weekend.
And there was a first appearance of any kind for young Portuguese midfielder Francisco Junior, an arrival earlier in the year after being released by Benfica and who impressed during pre-season.