sport news Fielding players the quality of James Rodriguez and Allan shows Everton on ...

There was a moment early in the second-half when a ball was played up to James Rodriguez.  It was not, to be fair, a good ball. It was the kind of ball that has been seen too often from Everton in recent years.

A little sloppy. Mid-air, pinged in at pace, difficult to control. And the type of player Everton have previously purchased may well have made it look as lousy as it was.  Sent it spinning into touch, or diverting it to the opposition. 

Rodriguez did neither. He flattered the passer by plucking the fast-moving object out of his general vicinity, bringing it down, turning, and in one swift motion striking a sublime pass which took Tottenham by surprise and put Richarlison in at the far post. He missed, as he did all afternoon, but that does not matter for now.

James Rodriguez produced a fantastic display in his first game since joining Everton

James Rodriguez produced a fantastic display in his first game since joining Everton

Allan impressed on debut as he won possession eight times and won man of the match award

Allan impressed on debut as he won possession eight times and won man of the match award

This was progress. This was the rise in standards Carlo Ancelotti was engaged to promote. And while it was just one game, just a single victory, it felt like a leap forward for Everton, more than a step. 

It was December 4, 2013, when the club last recorded an away victory over what we now perceive as English football's big six. The very use of that term invariably provokes angry missives from one half of Merseyside, Evertonians wondering why their team is not included – yet their recent league record at Liverpool, , Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea provides the answer.

Going into Sunday's match, Everton had made 40 trips without winning. So Ancelotti has changed the narrative. This was also Everton's first win against Tottenham, home or away, in 17 meetings dating back to March 10, 2012. So Ancelotti has changed that form line, too.

Carlo Ancelotti signed Rodriguez in the summer after working with him at two different clubs

Carlo Ancelotti signed Rodriguez in the summer after working with him at two different clubs

Managers are employed to rewrite stories at their clubs. Jose Mourinho is supposed to deliver the first trophy of the Daniel Levy era at Tottenham, and Ancelotti is meant to elevate Everton into the group that start each season looking at the stars, not the void below. 

Mourinho would no doubt tetchily debate comparative expectations but on the sole evidence of Sunday's 90 minutes, Ancelotti has made the more promising start. 

Both men threw their summer signings into the fray but, undoubtedly, Ancelotti's worked better. 

Abdoulaye Doucoure was useful, while Rodriguez is the type of player that Tottenham used to buy when they were considered the great creatives. He is, in many ways, an old-fashioned number ten, making the play, linking, pulling strings, so will drift out of games occasionally as such players do. 

Rodriguez showed class on the ball and looks like he could be a very effective signing

Rodriguez showed class on the ball and looks like he could be a very effective signing

His first-half was markedly more influential

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