The Toffees looked in serious danger in December 2019 when they were embroiled in a relegation battle under Marco Silva’s leadership, which eventually led to his sacking. However, one man would arrive and change it all: Ancelotti. Any team that is being managed by the Italian is more than likely going to be challenging at the upper ends of the table rather than the bottom.
Once Ancelotti came in, only Manchester City and Liverpool could match Everton’s form up until March and there were even outside ambitions of a Europa League spot, but very inconsistent form after the return of football in the summer put those hopes to bed, whilst the damage done under Silva was a little too severe.
After evaluating the squad for six months, the Italian knew what he needed, and the club used the pull of Ancelotti to attract James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, Allan from Napoli, Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford and Ben Godfrey from Norwich City, all of which could argue a case for playing Champions League football.
A lot of that has been thanks to the imperious scoring form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the creative ability of Rodriguez, with the England forward already matching his best goal tally for a season by January, and the Colombian being fifth in the league for big chances created despite missing a third of the season with an injury.
However, after defeats to Newcastle United, Southampton and Manchester United, Ancelotti diverted away from attacking flair and worked on defensive solidity, which in turn led to Everton recording wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City, with all three performances looking like a carbon copy of the top Italian clubs from the 1980s and 1990s.
Now, only four sides in the Premier League have conceded fewer goals than Everton, making it their best defensive display at this point in a season since 2005 and it is certainly going to better their 56 conceded last season, whilst their 25 let in so far is the same as Liverpool's.
Up top, Calvert-Lewin still has 13 goals left to bag this season if he is to catch Romelu Lukaku's club best record in a season of 25 in the league, but only Mohamed Salah has more goals than him to this point in the Premier League.
Simply put, there isn't much separating defensively due to Liverpool's injuries and in the attacking sense, unless Mane hits some form, Everton will continue to close the gap in Merseyside.