Ronald Koeman’s Everton were held to a 0-0 draw by a stubborn Middlesbrough side on Saturday to fall off the pace set by the Premier League’s top six.
The Toffees went into their clash with Aitor Karanka’s men just five points behind Manchester United, although Koeman’s side were unable to find that decisive goal and thus had to make-do with a share of the spoils at the Riverside Stadium.
It means that they remain seventh in the table, but are now seven points adrift of United in sixth after they comfortably beat Watford 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Nonetheless, 2017 has been good for Everton thus far as, although they got knocked out of the FA Cup by Leicester, they have not lost any of their six Premier League matches, and have won four of them.
That has extended their unbeaten run in the league to eight games, and now means that instead of hanging on to a place in the top-half, they are setting their sights much higher.
The Toffees are seven points behind United, and only nine points behind Tottenham in second, so European football is not totally out of the question this term.
Thus, they will have to put a fine run of form together to get into the top five, and here is the Everton XI that may well be able to do that…