It's the hope that kills you.
Though Everton delivered a much-improved display at Arsenal on Sunday, their efforts were ultimately in vain as the hosts ran out 2-0 winners.
The Blues welcomed Richarlison back after his three-match suspension, while goalless Cenk Tosun lost his place in the starting line-up for the first time this season, making way for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Calvert-Lewin's only Everton away strike came against the Gunners last campaign, and could have repeated that feat within two minutes when he was played in on goal. With Richarlison also square, Calvert-Lewin's indecisiveness cost him, and goalkeeper Petr Cech smothered it before he could make up his mind.
Despite a strong, positive start, pressing Arsenal high up the sun-kissed pitch at the Emirates Stadium, the Toffees' profligacy was nearly punished after 12 minutes, but Jordan Pickford made an excellent close-range save to deny Nacho Monreal.
The Blues continued to probe, though; Richarlison forced Cech into a save after a driving run just after the 20-minute mark, and fired numerous other first-half chances narrowly wide.
Arsenal began to turn the screw as the first period progressed, with Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang's cross hitting the bar and a last-ditch tackle denying Aaron Ramsey, but it would have been hard to begrudge the visitors being ahead at the interval.
And then came the inevitable. When Alexandre Lacazette stroked in a beautiful finish on 57 minutes, it evoked an all too familiar sentiment about Everton. For all their good work, for all their tireless endeavours, the Blues looked set to have nothing to show for it.
Inevitably, that feeling was further compounded instantaneously. Aubameyang was clearly offside when he slotted home from close range two minutes later, but Everton's defending left a lot to be desired. It was as galling as it was predictable.
That quick sucker-punch sapped the energy out of Everton, and the remaining half-hour simply meandered away. Tosun came on for the disappointing Calvert-Lewin, while Bernard replaced Theo Walcott, but it was proved to be to no avail. By this point, Everton were well and truly beaten.
There were undoubtedly positives for manager Marco Silva to take; Richarlison was his usual effervescent self on the left wing and Idrissa Gueye, for the first hour at least, was everywhere, tackling all in sight. If the Blues emulate this performance at home to Fulham next Saturday, they should triumph.
But with trips to Leicester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City consecutively to come, it could easily be after Christmas until we see Everton pick up three points on the road.
Make no mistake, Silva will take heart from his side's showing, but it's points that matter, and Everton again came away from the Emirates empty-handed on Sunday.