If it would appear hard to know where to start picking apart a mad game like this one, perhaps the best place would be to simply acknowledge a brilliant performance from Romelu Lukaku and a personal haul that leaves him as the current top scorer in the Premier League.
Watching the debates rage on these pages about the Belgian this season has been simultaneously amusing, bemusing and, when you see calls for the club to cash in on their greatest asset, dismaying. Evertonians waited almost three decades for a reliable, consistent striker capable of scoring 20-plus goals in a season and now Goodison Park is graced by one of the best in the modern game. Still, some supporters prefer to get hung up his attitude and work-rate when his goals return speaks very simply and loudly for itself.
On his day, Lukaku is unplayable and after having precious little bearing on the proceedings at Stoke in midweek, he was in that familiar “beast” mode today — bullish, clinical, spectacular, unstoppable. From the quick-fire build-up play involving Morgan Schneiderin and a one-two with James McCarthy to the curling finish that bent majestically around Artur Boruc’s despairing dive, his first goal of four very different strikes on the day was a thing of pure beauty.
Goals two and four demonstrated his opportunism and lethality; his third and, arguably, most important was a deft volley following an equally impressive disguised pass to Seamus Coleman whose pitching-wedge centre it was that he guided past the hapless Bournemouth goalkeeper to make it 4-2.
Just for good measure, he created the second goal for McCarthy almost out of nothing, with quick feet, strength and awareness along the byline, underscoring his peerless tally of Premier League goals in which he has been directly involved.
On any other day, Ross Barkley would probably be the one hogging the headlines. He, too, had had a night to largely forget in the Potteries on Wednesday evening but against the Cherries today he delivered his most complete performance of the season. Diligent in his pressing, tenacious in his tackling, purposeful, creative and incisive on the ball, and both clinical and impudent with the coup de grâce that made it 6-3 in second-half stoppage time, the 23-year-old was excellent and a close runner-up behind Lukaku for for man of the match.
Everton’s was an attacking display that was breathtaking at times but there were nagging frustrations with the team’s overall showing, particularly on the defensive side and the way the Blues dropped off for long periods and allowed the visitors to run the game. And by the 70-minute mark, memories of the 3-3 debacle at the Vitality Stadium in November 2015 were flooding back as the visitors rallied back to 3-2.
Haunting thoughts of the home defeats to Leicester, Stoke and West Ham last season weren’t too far behind but whereas many would bet that that Everton team under Roberto Martinez would have given up the lead this afternoon, under Koeman they are a different proposition… even if some of the defending by Ramiro Funes Mori and Ashley Williams looked like it belonged in the previous regime.
Credit to Koeman, however, for making some tactical adjustments in the final half hour to help steer the course of the game back in his team’s direction. His line-up when it was announced before kick-off had certainly raised eyebrows and there can’t have been many who were happy to see McCarthy vault over both Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye into a starting role, especially given that Gareth Barry had also been recalled.
McCarthy, in particular, more than justified his selection though, playing as the more advanced of a three-man central midfield unit that was rounded by Schneiderlin until the Irishman was withdrawn on the hour mark in favour of Davies. It was he who collected the Frenchman’s interception and exchanged passes with Lukaku to play him in with the outside of the boot before the striker cut across the edge of the box and fired home the opening goal with just 30 seconds on the watch.
And, after another full debutant, Ademola Lookman, had wrong-footed Harry Arter with quick feet but dragged a shot across goal, the same pair combined for the second goal. Lukaku took Barkley’s pass to the byline, wriggled between two black-and-red shirts and cut the ball back where McCarthy’s stabbed shot came back to him off a defender and bobbled past Boruc off his shin. Fortunate, yes, but more than deserved.
The third goal was a gift from Simon Francis but the finish from Lukaku was no less clinical for of it. The defender’s pass across his own box was into no-man’s land between his goalkeeper and Steve Cook and Lukaku intercepted it easily before clipping a shot confidently over Boruc and into the net.
3-0 up with less than half an hour gone and you could have forgiven some among the home faithful if their minds started wandering to the last time Everton racked up a rugby score in the Premier League. There was a creeping complacency about the Blues for the next 30 to 40 minutes’ play, however, of the kind that has persisted through three different managers and perhaps explains why it’s 10 years since Everton last destroyed a team by a six-goal margin. Successive Toffees teams have tended to take their foot off the pedal rather than really go for the jugular and that was the case today, particularly in the second half.
Koeman’s side went close to extending their lead either side of half time when Boruc beat away a strong Coleman shot and Barkley’s similarly powerful drive was deflected just past the post but there was a building sense, as the game ticked towards the hour mark, that the next goal was going to come from Bournemouth.
Jack Wilshere’s shot that deflected behind off Ashley Williams had provided a warning sign two minutes after the break and it was the Arsenal loanee who split Everton’s centre-backs in the 59th minute with a rapier pass that Josh King helped past the exposed Joel Robles.
Back at the Park End two minutes later, McCarthy again popped up in space to latch into Barkley’s pass but after checking back onto his right foot, the Ireland international’s shot lacked power and Boruc saved with his foot and Lookman lashed the follow-up into the side netting.
And when Robles got a glove on another King shot after he had sprung the offside trap down the Cherries’ left attacking channel, the striker grabbed his second from the resulting corner. Andrew Surman and Ryan Fraser combined down their right and the latter’s low driven cross was prodded in on the stretch by King.
Koeman’s response was immediate. Kevin Mirallas was thrown on in place of Lookman whose precociously dazzling footwork and daring had been a delight at 3-0 but his comparative lack of experience on the defensive side made him surplus to requirements now that the game needed to be shut down.
But it wasn’t until Mason Holgate replaced Barry with 10 minutes to go and the Blues transitioned into a back five with the kind of tactical shift that was missing in the last two seasons under Martinez that the tide turned back in their favour. Prior to that, Marc Pugh had smashed a shot across the face of Robles’ goal from the angle and the Spanish ‘keeper had had to make a fine save diving to his right to push away Arter’s shot to preserve the slender advantage.
Having survived that wobble, endured the mounting unease in the stands, and seized the initiative back with the help of Davies's intensity in midfield, Everton went on to break the contest open again with some wonderful attacking football. And once again the end of the move was all down to Lukaku as he completed a brilliant hat-trick in the 83rd minute.
The 23-year-old wrong-footed substitute Brad Smith with a reverse pass to Coleman and then advanced to the edge of the six-yard box to steer home a left-foot volley from the Irishman’s cross.
A minute later, he added a fourth as the ball fell to him near the centre circle and he touched it on to Barkley. He in turn delivered a terrific back-heeled pass into Lukaku’s path and, after surging between two defenders and holding both off, he picked his spot past Boruc to bury the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
Bournemouth’s spirit was unshaken though and they would strike back again the final minute of the regulation 90. Arter and sub Benik Afobe played a one-two through a cluster of blue shirts and after Robles had charged down the former’s shot and it had bounced back off Arter seemingly over the goal line, he was able to bundle it over the line to make it 5-3.
The Cherries were still going for more goals in the fourth minute of stoppage time but in doing so they were picked off one final time as Funes Mori sent Barkley away with a raking forward pass that drew Boruc well out of his box. The Blues’ No.8 knocked it past him nonchalantly and, with the empty net gaping in front of him, he had time to spread his arms wide in celebration (perhaps with retribution for the winner that was taken away from him by Junior Stanislas at Dean Court 16 months ago on his mind) before slotting it home.
Koeman acknowledged after the game that he was concerned how much his team sat back at 3-0 up and invited Bournemouth back into the game. But he couldn’t hide his admiration at the quality of the goals or his satisfaction at the effect his tactical tinkering had had the desired effect on the result.
That in itself is further evidence of the progress that is being made under the Dutchman’s stewardship — a year ago, few would have bet against Bournemouth completing their comeback and sending Blues fans away chuntering about defensive collapses and the team’s frail mentality after throwing away a seemingly unassailable lead.
After the draw at Stoke, the three points were paramount but plenty of confidence will be gleaned from the impressive way in which Everton were able to put their foot back on the accelerator and power their way back to a three-goal lead. Seven games unbeaten and a 100% start to 2017 at home in the Premier League shows that the Toffees under Koeman are gathering momentum at just the right time to capitalise on any slip-ups by the teams above them.
Everton came up with lots of goals back in Premier League action this weekend looking to put pressure back on the top six with a crazy victory over Bournemouth that makes Romelu Lukaku the leading scorer in the Premier League with 16 goals this season.Ronald Koeman changed the team that failed to win at Stoke, with Ademola Lookman getting his first start for Everton, with McCarthy and Barry partnering Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield, while Holgate, Davies, and Mirallas were on the bench, where Idrissa Gueye had to also bide his time to get back in the side after his African sojourn.
Dan Gosling, once of these parts, started for the visitors today.
After what must be the earliest free-kick, inside 2 seconds of the start (for what?), we had a lovely early goal, 31 seconds for Lukaku to curl in a beauty off a nice feed from McCarthy as the Blues drove forward with purpose through the middle.
The Blues tried to play more good football with a few bright early balls played forward, showing some intent to build on the great start with some much improved one-touch passing.
A wonderful drag-twist, turn and shot from Lookman reinforced the crowd's intense excitement whenever the 19-year-old got near the ball — the lad is a sheer delight with the ball at his feet. While in the middle of the park, a strong tackle by Schneiderlin showed the value of Ronald Koeman's other January acquisition.
But the Blues laboured increasingly as The Cherries came into it more and more, snuffing out Blues attacks before they really got going. It was deceptive because the home side seemed to have lots of space in midfield.
Lukaku created the second goal driving in hard from the right with a great layback to McCarthy whose sidefoot hit a defender, came straight back to him, and seemed to bounce off his leg to bobble past Boruc into the Bournemouth net.
There was a bit of a scare when Robles fumble the ball off a corner but it led to a breakaway with Lukaku feeding Williams to his right rather than Lookman to his left: wrong choice.
It was three off a crazy backpass from Francis, straight to Lukaku whose deft touch went straight into the net. Lukaku had a chance to make it four with a ball over the top but Boruc was out smartly.
Lookman seemed to show more understanding with Lukaku, looking to play positive ground balls for the big man to run onto, as the Blues relaxed a little on the back of their handsome three-goal lead.
A quick free-kick played out intelligently by Barkley to Coleman saw the Irishman lash a fierce shot at Boruc. At the other end, Willims gave up a free kick that Wilshere saw deflected wide. Robles had to save the shot from Cook off the corner.
After the break, Eddie Howe brought on two ex-Liverpool players in Smith and Ibe to replace his captain Francis, and Dan Gosling. Wilshere came dangerously close to scoring as they pressed the home side from the restart. Arter was next with a potshot, always going over.
Schneiderlin was booked for a sliding tackle that was deemed dangerous. Another foul gave Wilshere the chance to curl in a good delivery that needed defending away.
Barkley drove forward and fired in a good shot that was deflected just inches wide for Everton's first corner of the game.
Lookman's outrageous ball skills were a delight as the young man seemed to be really enjoying himself; a goal for him would be nice. But the goal went te other way with Wilshere releasing King over the top and a simple touch for King to take a little bit of the sine off proceedings.
Everton surged down the other end and McCarthy seemed to have an age to score but failed and Lookman could bot squeeze the parried ball in from a narrow angle. Davies replaced McCarthy, then Lukaku then got clear but failed to drive in on goal.
Everton had sat back a little and they needed to get back the tempo and not miss the chance to drive home an impressive victory. But The Cherries were getting too much of the ball. Davies tried to release Lukaku but he was thwarted.
The Blues were too keen to switch to the long ball which was not working and King almost scored a second with another good ball before Fraser fired in a good cross and it was a second goal for the visitors off King under pressure from Coleman. Mirallas replaced Lookman.
Pugh almost made it 3-3, driving in from the left and flashing his shot just wide as Everton verged on complete collapse. Everton could not get out and Arter's shot needed a touch behind from Robles, Arter then lashing one in that Robles saw all the way and saved brilliantly.
In a real ding-dong atmosphere, both Robles and Davies saw yellow as the frustration and imminent danger became palpable. Mirallas got forward and tried a curler but it was straight at Boruc. The final change was Holgate for Barry as Everton looked to secure 3 points that seemed a given at half-time.
But a good move started and finished by Lukaku saw a fourth Everton goal, a beautiful final touch for his hattrick off a great cross. And Lukaku had four when he drove through and lashed a perfect right-foot shot past Bruc.
Afobe drove in and made oth three after looking distinctly offside then over the byeline, to take the gloss off a little in the final minute as Bournemouth showed no sign of giving up.
Barkley got free but the pass wasn't right for Lukaku and the chance was gone, with Cherries pressing again. But Funes Mori picked out Barkley who skipped around Boruc to make it SIX in added time.
A free kick, almost a penalty for Bournemouth at the end, fired in on Robles. A tremendous result in the end, a crazy game.
Everton: Robles [Y:73'], Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Schneiderlin [Y:50'], McCarthy (61' Davies [Y:76']), Barry (80' Holgate), Lookman (73' Mirallas), Barkley, Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Valencia, Gueye.
AFC Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis (46' B Smith), S Cook, Surman, Mings, Arter [Y:14'], Gosling (46' Ibe), Fraser, Wilshere, Pugh (84' Afobe), King.
Subs not Used: Stanislas, Allsop, Mousset, Cargill.
Referee: Mike Jones
From My Seat: Bournemouth (H)
A sunny winter’s day and all roads lead to Goodison via our trusty watering hole the temple of learning that houses the room of nonsense where we can speculate on all things match-wise and get it all wrong. The score the team the formation the subs all made to sound logical with the wisdom assembled and some backing their knowledge in hard cash in the bookies as we walk up to the ground. None would be calling in on the way back. Another sell out so all roads were busy and with eager taxi drivers using rat runs at some speed it was worth keeping a sharp eye out. Long queues at the cholesterol inducing eateries would be blissfully unaware that they would miss the first goal.
We made our seats in time to hear the drummers from a section of Everton in the community but alas I did not hear the full information about them but they were great on all those different drums and even a soaking from the pitch watering system could’nt thwart them and on reaching the dug- out they received generous applause. The teams emerged to Z-Cars and some expressed surprise at our line-up which saw Joel in goal a back four today of Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori and Baines a midfield of McCarthy, Barry (capt) Schneiderlin and Lookman then Ross then Lukaku. You could say 4-4-2 when defending but a fluid approach going forward.
From the referee’s whistle it took just 30 seconds for Schneiderlin to pass to McCarthy who had made good ground and he pinged one to Rom who from edge of box curled a shot of some power around and past the startled keeper and troubled the net — all in attendance were delighted and those that didn’t make the kick-off will tell you they did. We are not used these explosive starts (goal time 42 secs.)
Bournemouth won the toss and elected to have us kick toward the Gwladys St first half. "Spoil sports" I thought but it meant our kick off and we made it pay big style ‘serves them right I mused’ as Lookman with some sweet slight of foot bamboozled Arter but smashed a shot across goal he does seem to like that ploy of hitting them hard across the box. We were in the lead but in looking to now play on the break Bournemouth seemed to be monopolising the ball a bit much for my liking but just after the 20-minute mark we some good fortune when Lukaku got forward and got to the byline and used his strength to go between two defenders and pull the ball back across the box. Schneiderlin missed it but the ever running McCarthy seemed to stretch out a leg and hit a defender with the ball but it rebounded to him and he prodded home.
Pandemonium as the all-important second goal had been achieved and a more relaxed atmosphere was evident all around the ground and that atmosphere was reinforced just five minutes later when an Everton attack was broken up in their penalty area but there player for whatever reason passed it directly to Rom and with only the keeper in the way he calmly chipped it over him into the night. The usual celebrations culminating in the Rom chant performed with some gusto. No problem now they need three just to draw. (Oh if we only knew)
H/T was upon us but before the whistle Bournemouth cut through our defence with a little too much ease for many fans liking but Joes made his first save of the half and a very good one it was. The H/T chat was mostly fans expressing the opinion that we were starting to look more like a team of substance now that Koeman is on the road to having a team in his image. His quality players playing his way with quality cover on the bench could see us joining the elite with a successful summer window. I would like that to happen but in football who knows but hope is there.
Second half 3-0 up and we start with our foot off the gas seeming intent just to defend and let them come on and counter, well the idea was good and we saw it could work when some ten mins in a Ross surge saw him in but his well struck shot was deflected just wide the corner wasted. A little later McCarthy hit one with some venom but alas straight at the keeper. Then we had the first wake -up call as the hour mark arrived when the on loan Wilshere who had been quite anonymous up to this point threaded a beaut through our defence leaving our defenders flat-footed and Josh King left Joel helpless as he slotted home.
"Ah, never mind... we're 3-1 up" seemed to be the mind-set of a few and we did respond right away as Barkley found McCarthy who had made up good ground the Irishman controlled the ball onto his stronger foot but then seemed to let the ball get under his feet and despite a ‘Bambi on ice’ routine the best he could do was prod it toward the keeper who diverted it wide of goal but into the path of Lookman who lashed at it and only found the side netting.
Bournemouth kept pressing and causing us some airy moments so we swapped McCarthy for Davies but before he could get to the pace of the game thoughts started to go back to that famous game at their place when we ‘over celebrated’ The tension grew with each wave of Bournemouth attacks and on 70 minutes mild panic started to take over as that man King had a shot tipped over by Joel but from the corner the ball went to a Bournemouth player who just hit it low across the box and King diverted the ball home. (Defence what defence) Hell it was now 3-2 and the rattle of prayer beads could be heard and still 20 mins to go.
Koeman needed to do something so he swapped Lookman for Mirallas but just moments later it was almost all square as Bournemouth with tails up and their travelling fans now in excellent voice again worked an opening for Pugh who left Schneiderlin on his backside but hammered wide and I reckon Eddie Howe would not be best pleased with that effort while Koeman must have been pulling his hair out.
The crowd were strangely quiet and then belting out the Everton –Everton- Everton such was the tension but the crowd were still with the team and willing them to get their fingers out and Joel lifted spirits with a great flying save from Arter that had goal written on it. With ten to go we seemed to snap back into life as Davies got to the pace and was putting himself about and this seemed to get others responding.
Most fans were now watching the clock as a move of purpose was started when we got a ball forward to Rom who laid it off to Coleman and continued his run for Coleman to pick him out with a chip which the big Belgian side-footed home.
And within a minute Lukaku and Barkley combined and Barkley fed our striker with an audacious back heeled pass who went passed and through defenders and slid a super shot passed the helpless keeper. Oh the relief, now we could cheer, laugh, sing and celebrate... but wait – it’s still not over 90 mins and Bournemouth player seemed to exchange passes and get to the byline the ball ended up in the net but I would need a rerun to see how but the goal stood and 4mins added went up.
In that 4mins we produced a peach of a pass from Mori down the middle at just the right weight on it and Ross powered on left his marker sidestepped the keeper and his both arms held aloft in celebration shot home into the empty net. Seeing Ross with arms aloft will stick with many of us for a long time. Final whistle and a game like no other is over.
MotM – Lukaku
On the way out all were happy. On setting foot out of the door there was the first sign of spring. It was still light. –Most conversations were of disbelief at what had transpired at the ‘Old Lady’ we scored 6 and that was great. Let 3 in not so great. Lukaku has moved to top of the scoring charts and I would not mind betting a record or two may have been broken or added after that.
Singing the Blues could be heard on Spellow Lane as fans went on their way no doubt to celebrate in their own way on what had been a terrific 6-3 victory but that doesn’t tell half the story. Still three points for us to put pressure on a couple of clubs above us so watch out big six were coming to get yer’
Boro next and maybe another rollercoaster. See you then
UP THE BLUES–
Gaz kindly drove and we were in the pub nice and early to watch Arsenal, predictably, crumble at Stamford Bridge. It was good fun in the pub. A few Bournemouth supporters were milling around and I couldn't help but hear a few American/Canadian (apologies, I can't tell the difference) within earshot. I've noticed this a few times now this season and it's fantastic to have a rich base of support travelling over the Atlantic for Everton games. Long may it continue.
After the tough game at Stoke City, Ronald Koeman decided to shuffle his pack a little, pulling the young lads Tom Davies and Mason Holgate out, as well as Kevin Mirallas. This equated to a midfield three of Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy and Gareth Barry, with Ross Barkley and Ademola Lookman both operating mainly from the flanks to support Romalu Lukaku. A first start in a blue shirt for Ademola by the way. Ex-blue Dan Gosling and Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere both featured for the visitors who were well-backed by their supporters.
After two succesive blanks I fancied Romalu Lukaku to get on the scoresheet, though I certainly didn't expect him to do this so quickly...nor did I anticipate he to do so four times! It was the perfect start to the game and great play at such an early stage of the match. Schneiderlin's ball in to Lukaku was nicely touched back to McCarthy who returned the pass to Lukaku, who didn't hesitate in smashing the ball into the corner of the net past Artur Borac. A dream start to the game after only 30 seconds.
We continued to threaten and were well on top. Our creative players Ross Barkley and Ademola Lookman both in their groove and enjoying themselves. It was great play by Romalu however which doubled our lead when he got free down the right hand side of the penalty area and cut the ball back for James McCarthy whose first effort was blocked but he got lucky with the ball ricocheting back and bouncing in of himself for his first goal of the season. Shortly after, 2-0 became 3-0 when Simon Francis played a dreadful pass into his own penalty area, directly to Romalu Lukaku who reacted quickly and finished intelligently, clipping the ball over the advancing Artur Borac. One of the lads got a bit excited thinking it would get to 5-0 before half time. As it transpired, we almost needed a five goal cushion such was the spirited fightback from the Cherries after the break.
The visitors, as you knew they would, began the second half strongly, but we felt the storm had been weathered and that we may be able to see the game out comfortably. Goals change games of course and the impressive Joshua King began the comeback when he got behind our defence and finished coolly past Robles. It certainly wasn't time to panic then, however panic soon set in some 10 minutes later when King again got on the scoersheet, this time stretching to turn in a Ryan Fraser centre. 3-2 and the players were stunned. Us supporters? Very nervous. Very nervous indeed. You actually expected us to "do an Everton" and blow the game. Bournemouth twice came close, both with good efforts from distance. Joel Robles couldn't keep a lid on his frustrations and received a yellow card for booting the ball as hard as he could high into the Upper Gwladys Street. We really were on tenterhooks though you knew that if we could get one more goal we would probably have enough to finish them off. Thankfully, on 83 minutes Romalu Lukaku helped us breathe a big sigh of relief with a very well taken goal. His pass out to Seamus Coleman was perfectly measured, his volleyed finish back across the keeper also perfect as our brilliant Belgian completed his hattrick and, finally, finished Bournemouth off.
Except we weren't quite finished. Neither team were in fact as we still had three goals to come. Romalu Lukaku's fourth goal arrived just a minute later when he chased through an exquisite backheal from Ross Barkley and slotted past the goalkeeper, this time with his right foot, to make it 5-2. Goodison Park erupted as Lukaku wheeled away towards the corner flag at the Park End. Word got around that Hull City were leading Liverpool 2-0 much to everyone's palpable glee. "I've never felt more like singing the blues, when Everton win and Liverpool lose..." echoed around the stadium several times. We were all the more jubilant when we heard that our cast off striker Oumar Niasse had scored Hull City's second goal. Meanwhile on the pitch Harry Arter scrambled in Bournemouth's third goal, much to Joel Robles and Ramiro Funes Mori's dismay as the ball had gone out of play before he put it into the net.
Though Romelu Lukaku rightly gets all the plaudits for his exceptional efforts in front of goal, it was nice to see Ross Barkley have the final say on the game. Ross had an excellent game, this characterising his form since the turn of the year and you have to expect that an England recall must be on the cards if he can keep up this form. Ross picked up the ball and ran at goal. Artur Borac came flying out of goal. Ross rounded him effortlessly, then prematurely celebrating before stroking the ball home to compound a quite exhilarating afternoon of football at Goodison Park. You know you've been spoilt when, at the very end of the game, a little bit of me wanted the referee to award a penalty to Bournemouth rather than the free kick they received. Only to add to the drama!
An extraordinary afternoon at Goodison Park then and our impressive 2017 form continues. With two of the league's biggest strugglers coming up in our next two games we have a real opportunity of having an additional six points in the bank by the time we visit White Hart Lane.
Who knows how close that may bring us to the "big six".
Robles: He got away with a first half dropped catch but otherwise he didn't really put a foot wrong. At 3-2 in fact he appeared to be our only player out there who was keeping his head whilst everyone ahead of him was losing their's. 8
Baines: Did fine. He's playing with consistency. 7
Funes Mori and Ashley WIlliams: They were both led a merry dance as Bournemouth rallied and they need to defend better than that. They both seemed to improve when Mason Holgate joined them to make it a back three. There's certainly room for improvement. 5
Coleman: Not at his best. Good assist for our fourth, and perhaps most important, goal though. 5
Schneiderlin: Looks a fine player. You've got to enjoy watching a player who gets stuck in. Morgan certainly does that. 7
Barry: A bit hit and miss. Did some very good things, but on a good few occassions was a little sloppy with his passing. 6
McCarthy: Got lucky with his goal but was working hard. He seemed to have a role whereas he was asked to press up the pitch and he was full of running before he was substituted on the hour. 6
Barkley: Ross had an excellent game and it was great to see him throwing a few tackles in. He's really gotten his act together lately. I loved his arrogance of celebrating before he scored. Ross had lost a lot of that this last season or two. It's great to see him get it back. 9
Lookman: Had a lively first half but was struggling a bit in the second before he was substituted for Kevin Mirallas. 6
Lukaku: Well you can't ask for more than that. A remarkable performance from Romalu Lukaku. He can be as good as he wants to be. The question, of course, is for how long will be be an Everton player? Are we just to enjoy what we have and build without him, or are we now beginning to match his ambitions and will be able to keep him? Whatever the answer, yesterday's performance was truly exceptional. My man of the match. 10
Davies (for McCarthy): Got involved. 6
Mirallas (for Lookman): Got involved and did pretty well. 6
Holgate (for Barry): Helped settle down a rocky defence. 6
Everton are back in Premier League action this weekend looking to put pressure back on the top six as Bournemouth come to town.
On a six-match unbeaten run and having ground out a draw at Stoke on Wednesday, the onus is now on the Blues to capitalise on their improved form by securing what would be a third successive win at Goodison Park.
This weekend's meeting with Bournemouth offers as good an opportunity to do so as any. The Cherries come to Merseyside on a poor run form that has seen them win just one of their last eight in all competitions, that solitary win coming against manager-less Swansea back in December.
That run included a heavy 3-0 defeat at Millwall in the FA Cup and a 2-0 home reverse to Crystal Palace last weekend and with Eddie Howe's men conceding at a rate of two goals a game, Ronald Koeman will fancy his team's chances of picking up another three points, particularly if he can get Romelu Lukaku firing again.
The Belgian failed to score in the two away games at Palace and Stoke but picked up a goal in each of the previous three at Goodison so he will be looking forward to getting back to the comforts of home.
Who will be playing around him is hard to predict. Koeman has shown his willingness to alter his line-up when he has faced two games in quick succession and he hinted at changes after the Stoke game. And despite the squad having been pared down during the January transfer window, there is plenty of competition for places, particularly in midfield where Idrissa Gueye is back from Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Morgan Schneiderlin made an impressive full debut at bet365 Stadium and Tom Davies came close to winning the game but both the Senegalese Gareth Barry will be champing at the bit to play.
Ultimately, it could come down to performances for the manager which might mean some of those who struggled more than most in midweek dropping back to the bench. That could mean Mason Holgate making way and Koeman reverting to a flat back four, Phil Jagielka perhaps coming in for Ramiro Funes Mori, both Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas taking a breather, Davies or Schneiderlin being pushed further forward, and Ademola Lookman making his first start.
Providing there aren't too many changes though Everton should have too much for a Bournemouth side that has been rocked by the loss of their most dangerous striker, Callum Wilson, to another anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 4th February, 2017
Referee Mike Jones
Last Time: Everton 2-1 Bournemouth
Predicted Line-up: Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies, Barkley, Lookman, Lukaku