After going the entirety of 2017 unbeaten, Evertonians headed into the game against Tottenham Hotspur with renewed optimism.
While the table has contrived against the Blues and they’ve been unable to move up or down for several weeks, the general consensus has been that this team are moving in the right direction regardless.
That came to a shuddering halt at White Hart Lane as a combination of poor tactics; sloppy defending and poor decision-making saw the unbeaten run ended.
It left many of us scratching our heads, where had the Everton that sat atop of the Premier League form table disappeared to?
Well, the answer is a simple one; they hadn’t disappeared anywhere. This was just a reality check and a clear indication of where this current side is.
Everton are, at this moment in time, the best of the rest. The team is exactly where it should be in the table. Only those who are overly optimistic would suggest otherwise.
Each of the teams above have better squads, better budgets and are performing to a higher level than Everton are.
That situation may change in future, preferably next season, but for now, Ronald Koeman and his men must focus on securing seventh and hopefully Europa League football.
That would be a good first season under the Dutchman given the mess he inherited, on and off the pitch, when he arrived at Goodison Park.
The future is bright for the Toffees and while the loss in London was disheartening, it was not the major defeat that some would have you believe.
It was simply a confirmation of the fact Everton are currently the best of the rest outside the top six, which is not an entirely terrible thing to be.