Everton left Burnley with a point, which was about no more than they deserved, after a fairly unremarkable 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.
Despite the Clarets managing just four goals in their previous nine league games this term, you’d have never known it as they flew into a third-minute lead, as Robbie Brady’s long-range effort arrowed past Jordan Pickford.
In putting Sean Dyche’s strugglers ahead, Brady condemned Everton to a 12th successive game in all competitions without that elusive clean sheet.
Everton continued to toil, in truth, until Fabian Delph was forced off through injury on the half-hour mark. Then playing in a dysfunctional 3-5-2 setup, Delph was replaced by André Gomes, as Carlo Ancelotti switched to a back four with Ben Godfrey and Alex Iwobi as unorthodox full-backs.
Slowly but surely, they began to turn the screw, and Richarlison’s cross was met by the predatory Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the third minute of first-half stoppage time to ensure the Blues went in level at the break.
That winning goal went amiss in the second half, though. Indeed, if either side looked likelier to go 2-1 up, it was probably Burnley, who caused Pickford and Everton all manner of problems from set-pieces in particular.
Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a gilt-edged chance in added time, hitting straight at Nick Pope having latched on to a sumptuous James Rodriguez pass, while if Iwobi could have found a team-mate with any of his crosses, Everton may have had more joy.
But a point was ultimately about as much as Everton merited, and despite some positive performances, namely from Godfrey at left-back, Calvert-Lewin and Pickford, there’s still plenty to ponder for Ancelotti ahead of a gruelling festive fixture list.
Either way, this should hopefully see the end of his experiment with a back three.