The fact that the game finished goalless and had little impact on matters at either end of the table only served to strengthen that feeling.
Neither team would have been happy with the outcome on Saturday afternoon.
West Ham, despite being seven points and four places clear of the drop zone, have still not made sure of their Premier League status for next season.
Everton's away form summed up in 90 mins: lots of possession but none of the creativity or aggression seen at Goodison. Too many coasting.
— Luke O'Farrell (@lukeofarrell) April 22, 2017
While Everton’s slim top-four hopes are surely now over. Champions League qualification was always going to be unlikely for the Toffees this term, but Ronald Koeman will be disappointed in the knowledge that his side could easily have upset the odds had they been stronger on the road.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw, in which Everton did not record a single shot on target, made it six away games without a win for Everton in the top flight.
A 1-0 triumph at Crystal Palace, secured thanks to a controversial late strike from Seamus Coleman, is the only time they have won away from Goodison Park this calendar year, with their overall away record in 2016/17 reading: played 17, won four, drawn six and lost seven.
They have put the ball in the net on just 19 occasions on their travels, while their own backline has been breached a total of 24 times.
If only away fixtures were taken into account, Everton would find themselves in ninth place in the standings as the end of the campaign approaches.
Such a disappointing return is in stark contrast to their home form, which is among the best in the division – indeed, only Tottenham Hotspur have amassed more points than Everton in front of their own supporters.
— Chris Smith (@cdsmith789) April 10, 2017
READ MORE: HOW BARKLEY IS FLOURISHING UNDER KOEMAN
Koeman’s charges have been beaten only once at Goodison this term, with their 16 others matches bringing 12 wins, 41 goals scored and only 13 conceded. The recent 3-1 success against Burnley was Everton’s eighth consecutive victory at home.
It is not too difficult to work out why the Merseysiders are so dominant on their own patch.
Goodison Park, an old-fashioned ground where the fans are almost on top of the field, has been a difficult place for opponents to go for a number of years now. Allied to the fact that Koeman has made Everton much tougher to play against since taking charge of the club last summer, a trip to the blue side of Liverpool is not one to be relished.
It is, however, far tougher to get to the bottom of Everton’s travel sickness, which could yet cost them their present place in the top six.
Trips to relegation-threatened Swansea City and seventh-placed Arsenal await before the conclusion of the campaign. It is, of course, common for teams to possess better records when playing on home turf. But the Toffees seem completely unable to replicate the intensity, cohesion, attacking quality and defensive resolve they have demonstrated at Goodison this year.
The underlying statistics are highly instructive here. According to Whoscored, Everton average 14.7 shots and six shots on target per home game, compared to 11.4 and 4.2 respectively per away game.
On the other side of the ball, Koeman’s men concede 10 shots per game at home, compared to 13. per game on their travels. Put simply, Everton create more chances in front of their own fans (5.7 vs 4.6, according to Squawka) and give up more when playing at an opponent’s stadium.
That is a symptom rather than a cause, though.
One of Everton’s key problems away from home is their inability to adequately service Romelu Lukaku, who has scored 66 per cent of his 24 top-tier goals this season at Goodison Park.
The Belgium international does his best work in and around the penalty box, but his team-mates seem unable to fashion as many opportunities in those areas for the striker on the road.
Possession is not always a problem. Penetration tends to be lacking: on Saturday, for instance, Everton had 65.6 per cent of the ball in the first half and 59 per cent overall, yet their first effort on goal did not arrive until the 70th minute.
Questions must also be asked of the team’s mentality when playing away. Everton have been timid far too often when playing elsewhere this season, with the aggression and energy that characterises their play at Goodison Park frequently lacking.
“We need a good away performance because I still think there is a little difference in the way we play, like to press and how we like to make it difficult for our opponents,” Koeman told Everton’s official website prior to Saturday’s visit to the London Stadium.
“It is all about the attitude and having that in the same way when we play at home and away. We need to start well, start aggressive and try to score. We need a little bit more of that mentality away from home.”
Koeman has done a good job in his first season in charge, but there is still plenty of things the Everton boss to work on ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. Improving his side’s form away from home will be chief among them.