Lukaku imperious in Goodison goalfest

By Michael Kenrick 04/02/2017  196 Comments  [Jump to last]

Idrissa Gueye is available again after returning from international duty but does not start

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


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