A patch of blue emerges through the grey skies over Goodison Park

Marco Silva talked up victory over Chelsea but it will take more than that to suggest Everton are improving

Above the Bullens Road Stand a tear appeared in the clouds and behind there shone, well, not a sun-kissed future exactly but at least a bluer shade of grey. Everton had a second goal and, with it, a first win in 26 months against a top-six side. And that, at least, is something.

Precisely what is harder to say. Marco Silva, as is his right, perhaps his duty, talked up the victory but it will take more than an unconvincing win over a fragile Chelsea to persuade anybody that this was a decisive step on the path to a better world.

These are two teams, alike in inconsistency, who managed to be inconsistent even within the same game. A largely soporific first half had been a tale of mainly benign Chelsea domination. Everton were much more aggressive after half-time and, having scored the opening goal, found, as so many sides have this season, that there is not necessarily much bite behind the Chelsea bark.

Maurizio Sarri has at various points this season questioned the hunger and motivation of his side. Here, having gone behind, they simply deflated. They are not helped by how unimaginative they are. There are no goals from the midfield and precious few from centre-forward and what that means is that, if Eden Hazard does not shine, neither do Chelsea.

And yet for all that Everton ultimately won with a degree of ease, it cannot be overlooked that, on another day, if Jordan Pickford had been having one of his bad days rather than one of his best, if Gonzalo Higuaín had been more incisive, if the spin had taken Hazard’s deflected effort just inside rather than on to the face of the post, they could have been 3-0 down within eight minutes.

Silva, of course, deserves credit for whatever he did or said at half-time that changed the dynamic of the second half. Quite what that was remains a mystery; Séamus Coleman admitted Everton had not been able to figure Chelsea out in the first half which, given Chelsea have played the same way in pretty much every minute of every game, seemed remarkable.

But equally Silva was lucky to have the chance to put it right. As it was, it felt almost as though Chelsea had been suckered by that opening spell into believing a goal would inevitably come. Ending that barren run against the top six is not insignificant – not least because, if Everton are to break into that upper tier, it would be a major advantage if they could take points off them – but equally there seem few reasons for confidence that next season will be better than this.

That is not to say Silva should be sacked but it is to say that the best argument for keeping him at the moment may be that Everton have sacked so many managers in the recent past that there is a need and a desire that at some point the cycle of bloodletting and the state of permanent transition should end.

If there is to be progress, there probably needs to be further investment. None of last summer’s permanent signings have been entirely convincing.

Richarlison scored here but his form has dipped just as it did last season. Lucas Digne is much better going forward than defending. Yerry Mina has struggled while Bernard has been inconsistent.

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Fahad Moshiri has spoken of the promise of Everton’s crop of young players but that would be a more persuasive argument if any of them other than Dominic Calvert-Lewin ever got to play. Ademola Lookman scored when Ronald Koeman’s Everton beat Manchester City those 26 months ago; here he was an unused substitute and it is hard to make a case that he has really progressed in the intervening time. Tom Davies, similarly, scored that game and here was restricted to a place on the bench.

When Theo Walcott came off the bench with 12 minutes remaining it seemed in part a present for a player who turned 30 on Saturday and at the same time a terrible warning: this is what happens if you are preserved in the aspic of eternal potential without ever quite making a decisive leap to realising that promise. He has become a living museum: this is what hope looked like in 2006.

The question of what Everton is for in the modern world is a vexed one, and so too is the question of what comes next. Sunday has not answered that.

What conclusions could be drawn were largely about Chelsea, their inconsistency, their lack of ruthlessness and their strange oscillations of mood.

Everton at least showed they had a measure of fight but it was only a second win in seven games. While a second successive home clean sheet perhaps hints at a measure of progress, the first half was shaky enough that it could have been as bad as the second half at Newcastle last week. When two teams as unpredictable as this meet, it is perhaps wisest not to draw too many conclusions.

By the end the clouds had settled over the roof of the stand again and the sky was a solid block of grey.