If Everton really want to establish themselves as a member of the top six, one of the first things they have to improve is their record against the current teams that reside in the top six.
For many years now, the Blues have resigned to letting the top six ride roughshod over any greater ambitions Everton might have, and this is especially so away from home.
The Toffees have done a decent job this season making Goodison Park a fortress again, but it’s on the road at the top six where the club’s failings have been most pronounced.
At Arsenal - The Blues have never won at the Emirates, with their last win at the Gunners in Highbury back in the 1995-96 season.
At Chelsea - Everton’s last win at Stamford Bridge was from the same era as above, the 1994-95 season.
At Liverpool - Not in this millenium, unfortunately, with the last win at the Reds in the 1999-2000 season.
At Manchester City - Better record against City, with a couple of wins coming before the advent of the new Mancunians under oil baron Sheikh Mansour.
At Manchester United - Oviedo’s winner in the 2013-14 season was the first win at Old Trafford since the Premier League started in the 1992-93 season.
At Tottenham Hotspur - White Hart Lane has been another location of futility over the years, with a three-year spell between 2006-09 the only wins since the mid-eighties.
Here is a quick snapshot of the Toffees record against the top six over the last six seasons -
The horrendous amount of red and yellow on this graphic is indicative that successes have been hard to come by for the Blues. This is a pretty small sample size, but the two years Everton finished in the top six were also the two years that they did the best against the top six.
Every season there are thirty six points up for grabs in games against the top six, and for Everton to break into and sustain their membership among the elite clubs, getting at least eighteen points out of those 12 games is of paramount importance.