Things are certainly looking good for Everton, currently sitting on top of the Premier League after a 100 per cent start to the new campaign and their boss has been name Manager of the Month for September.
The fans are smiling, and already there’s talk of them possibly knocking recently crowned champions and city rivals Liverpool off their perch.
But can Carlo Ancelotti really guide Everton the title?
It’s a long while since the Toffees last tasted a league title win, even longer than the side from across Stanley Park, who went 30 years before they ended their hunt for a league championship in July.
When Everton were last champions of England, it was from the hands of the Reds that they took the trophy in 1987, finishing nine points above them that campaign.
Since then the club have had no fewer than nine permanent managers in the hot seat and the closest they have got to ending the season as England’s top dogs are a couple fourth-placed finishes under Colin Harvey and David Moyes.
Moyes is Everton’s most successful boss during the Premier League years and, despite leaving for Manchester United to the disdain of many fans, his 11 years at the club restored a bit of pride and belief at the club.
However, since 2013 they’ve been consistently floating around the mid-table area, and only twice qualified for the Europa League. But there’s a feeling at Everton that things could be changing.
Last season it took them 12 games to register their fourth victory under Marco Silva, form which led the Toffees relieving him of his position in December, following a 5-2 derby defeat. Serial winner Ancelotti was brought in, making an instant impact.
In his first nine league games in charge, only champions Manchester City got the better of them.
Arguably, though, one of Ancelotti’s best pieces of management was to promote Blues icon Duncan Ferguson, who was unbeaten in his four games in caretaker charge, to become his assistant, alongside his son Davide.
There aren’t many players synonymous with a club as Ferguson is with Everton, having served them for more than ten years as a player, winning the FA Cup in 1995, and five years as first team coach.
“He has his own ideas, he has a lot of charisma in front of the players and he understands the philosophy of the club,” the Italian said of Ferguson after his appointment.
And it’s clear that understanding the culture of a club is just as important to Ancelotti as understanding the technical and tactical side of the game.
In his debut season in the Premier League as manager of Chelsea in 2009-10, he led them to the double with Paul Clement and Blues legend Ray Wilkins by his side in the dugout, but in December 2010 Wilkins was surprisingly sacked.
Then, after getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton, seeing their Champions League campaign come to an end in the quarter finals and finishing runners up in the Premier League, Ancelotti was also dismissed.
“Ray is one of those select few, always present, noble in spirit, a real blue-blood, Chelsea flows in his veins. Without him we wouldn’t have won a thing,” he said in his biography, reinforcing the view that an understanding of club culture and philosophy is vitally important to him.
Ancelotti also struck up a good relationship with Clement while at Stamford Bridge, and brought him into his backroom team at Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, before the Englishmen went off to do his own thing with Swansea City, Reading and now Belgian club Cercle Brugge.
Now Ancelotti is back in the Premier League, with the league titles and champions league winners’ medals he picked up in Paris, Madrid and Munich, added to those he’d already won with AC Milan, he’s brought a real belief that the glory days could be back at Everton.
In his early days as a manager in Italy, Carlo Ancelotti’s approach was to structure his team around a rigid 4-4-2 formation, influenced by Arrigo Sacchi, which didn’t allow for too much creativity.
But that changed over time, and his style adapted to become more flexible, with the aim of getting the best out of the players he had at his disposal.
And that certainly seems to be having a positive impact at Goodison. While he’s made sure to embrace the culture at the club, building solid foundations, he is also seeing a positive response from the players he inherited, such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored on his England debut against Wales. Meanwhile, he’s not held back in strengthening his squad either.
His most notable signing and statement of intent was the capture of Colombian forward James Rodriguez from his former club, Madrid, and he has already bagged three goals and set-up three more in his first five outings.
Alongside the likes of other new signings Abdoulaye Doucouré from Watford, Allan from Napoli and Ben Godfrey from Norwich City, there’s a feeling that Ancelotti is building something special at Goodison.
And you wouldn’t bet too much money against the Toffees upsetting the apple cart again…