Blues do the business against Moyes and the old boys

By Michael Kenrick 25/02/2017  223 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Lukaku is now joint leading scorer for Everton in the Premier League era with Duncan Ferguson, both on 60 goals.
Everton 2 - 0 Sunderland

After what feels like an eternity since Everton last played, the Blues are back in action at Goodison Park this weekend and Ronald Koeman has named an unchanged line-up to face a Sunderland side that is sitting on the bottom of the Premier League.

David Moyes names recent Everton departees Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson in his Sunderland team, with Joleon Lescott on the bench; Rodwell, Pienaar and Anichebe all injured. And for a player he brought to Everton, Leighton Baines, he makes his 300th Premier League appearance for the Blues.

It took a couple of minutes for Everton to move forward, Coleman clipping in a great cross that won a corner, turned behind at the near post by Schneiderlin. They attacked down the right again, Coleman fouled this time. Another Everton corner delivered for Schneiderlin at the near post, and a third corner played deeper this time by Barkley. Davies forcing a fourth corner, causing havoc in the Sunderland defence but cleared away. That was the first 5 minutes, all played in Sunderland's half.

A rare attack down the left saw Baines pick out Lookman, his first-time side-foot shot fumbled by Pickford. Sunderland countered and won a corner that did not really threaten but Davies's touch from Barkley's excellent ball was lacking.

Another corner from Barkley was way too low but evaded Funes Mori, who should have done more, and was too pacey for Lukaku coming in late at the far post. Borini then fouled Coleman just outside the Sunderland box, and Barkley cut the free-kick back to Lookman who seemed surprised and skied it!

Sunderland got forward again and forced another corner off a deflection that was finally cleared. Gana and Lookman combined nicely, Gana driving in from the left but firing on Pickford at a far too narrow angle instead of pulling it back.

Everton were forced to work the ball around patiently, knowing perhaps that their early intent should have seen greater care of the ball that could have brought the early goal they needed. But the cohesion of play on the final ball had so far been lacking and they already looked to be running out of ideas with just a quarter of the game gone.

A poor foul by Lookman on Ndong only merited a lecture from Stuart Atwell. Baines was next to commit an infraction, closer to the Blues goal, the delivery badly overhit by Larsson. But Sunderland were seeing a lot more of the ball, if not really threatening the Gwladys Street goal.

Larsson clipped Barkley's heel and Baines curled in a decent delivery but Williams could only head it high. Gibson then saw yellow for upending Lookman. the game had become very scrappy and lacking in structure, Sunderland getting a free kick off the left corner of the Everton area, sent in too low by Larsson and it led to a better break by Everton but the last ball in from Barkley was too close to Pickford. Lukaku was then wrongly called offside.

Finally, though, a fine sweeping move sliced through the resistant Sunderland defence. An incredibly clever curled crossfield ball from deep by Davies fooled the defender and found Coleman in space who picked out Gueye with a pinpoint cross and the finish from Everton's fine midfielder was first-time, strong and hard into the roof of the Sunderland net. A very good looking goal!

Barkley then tried his luck from outside the area and almost beat Pickford with a dipping shot. A corner ensued and later in that play, Davies put just a fraction too much curl on a fine snapshot that beat Pickford but smashed off the outside of the post behind him to wrap up the half.

Proceedings resumed under the dour scowl of David Moyes on the touchline, Lookman too easily losing the ball to Ndong, leading to a corner, and a half-chance for the Black Cats as Defoe came close with the Blues unable to break out until it went behind for a goal-kick. But the Everton were soon under pressure again, Williams blocking out well for another corner that went behind off Jones.

The Blues finally attacked, Baines getting caught by Jones but Gueye's ball selling Lookman short as Referee Atwell rightly played advantage. But Sunderland were not giving up easily, winning another corner on the Everton right but Robles held off any threat. Coleman almost got around Oviedo for an inviting ball from Barkley. A shot by Lukaku was blocked by Ndong. Davies got forward but the ball overran Coleman as Mirallas replaced Lookman.

Schneiderlin had been impressive in the Barry role, spraying accurate passes around from the centre of the field, and intercepting well, a ball to Lukaku winning a corner but again the Blues failed to penetrate, Lukaku caught flat-footed by a deflected cross. Barkley, Davies and Coleman conspired to overplay things a little without creating a chance as the Blues sought a second goal to seal the win.

But the Everton defence were living dangerously at times, and not driving forward with enough confidence and intent against an increasingly stubborn Sunderland side. Barkley had a chance to run but he stalled before finding Mirallas who shot poorly across goal, Tom Davies then being replaced by Enner Valencia.

Everton were getting sloppy at times in midfield, however, Coleman finally overlapping but his ball in to Barkley was curling behind him and he could not adjust, stretching back for the shot. Lukaku picked up the ball and ran forward but shot straight at Pickford. Lukaku again got behind the defence but Pickford anticipated his better shot and batted it away well.

Gueye was fouled poorly by Oviedo who was booked, but the free-kick was well overhit. Schneiderlin appeared to be fouled but Sunderland surged forward and Defoe looked to have scored but his shot bounced down off the bar and just in front of the line, and was eventually bundled away.

Everton were under serious pressure but, from a Sunderland corner, the ball was moved very rapidly up the right wing, Mirallas turning quickly and releasing Lukaku who scampered away with it but stumbled at the last moment as Oviedo came in and the ball deflected twice off the defender's legs, over Pickford ― a very lucky goal in the end, but they all count!

Barkley was withdrawn to a tremendous ovation from the enthusiastic Goodison crowd, McCarthy coming on to hold things down for the final 10 minutes. Valencia got free from a fine Lukaku pass and looked all set to make it three but could not get the ball past Pickford's long legs.

Into added time, Mirallas tried another shot at goal but it was off-target again. Not a scintillating performance by any means for the Blues, now undefeated in nine games, but job done and another strike against David Moyes for good measure.

Everton: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies (70' Valencia), Barkley (82' McCarthy), Lookman (60' Mirallas), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Holgate, Barry.

Sunderland: Pickford, Jones (90' Manquillo), Kone, O'Shea, Oviedo [Y:77'], Larsson, Gibson [Y:36'] (79' Honeyman), Ndong, Borini (79' Khazri), Januzaj, Defoe.
Subs not Used: Mika, Lescott, Love, Gooch.

Referee: Stuart Atwell

Attendance: 39,595


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