Allow me to put a twist on an old sports adage.
You can’t qualify for Europe in the first month of the season, but you can certainly fail to do so, and Everton are succeeding at not doing that.
Debuting their beautiful away kits in a monsoon at Selhurst Park, the Blues dispatched Crystal Palace for their fifth consecutive win to open the season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his league leading 5th goal of the season at the end of an attacking move created by - you guessed it - James Rodriguez.
Richarlison would later dispatch a ruthless penalty and that was all an assured Everton midfield and defense needed to see out all three points.
As ever, there are still issues with set piece defense. Yerry Mina did nothing to dispel the idea that Mason Holgate will walk back into the side when he returns from injury, and Abdoulaye Doucoure struggled somewhat for the first time since joining the club.
What’s clear, though, is that this is a cohesive Everton side with a coherent plan, something that couldn’t be said under Silva, Ancelotti, or Koeman. With Ancelotti on the touchline, gone are the days of watching this team with a sense of fear and foreboding. Everything is under control.
Everton are top of the table, with West Ham in the league cup next before Brighton in the Premier League. There is a chance to build further momentum before what looks like it might be the most anticipated Merseyside Derby in some time.
2020 has been a strange year in sports, but even still, you probably didn’t expect to watch what might be the best Everton team in over a decade. Yet here we are.