Five months after Sunderland trashed a woeful Everton side, The Toffees turned up on a Monday evening and produced a delightful victory with the opposite score-line. The hosts proved hard to break down, even having a great spell in the first 15 minutes in which they could’ve scored. However, once the hungry Romelu Lukaku opened his goal account for the season, it sealed a fine victory for Everton – banging in two others to complete an 11-minute hat-trick. It’s time to analyse.
Sunderland lined up in a 4411 formation. Jordan Pickford starting in goal, with a defence made of Patrick van Aanholt, Javier Manquillo, Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji. Holding midfielders consisted of Jan Kirchhoff and former Evertonian Jack Rodwell, with youngsters Lynden Gooch and Duncan Watmore on the wings. Adnan Januzaj sat behind Jermain Defoe who causes a constant threat going forward.
Everton made just the one change, replacing the impressive Mason Holgate for Seamus Coleman. Otherwise it was the same Everton side, Stekelenburg in goal with Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka in centre-back. Leighton Baines on the left side of the defence, Idrissa Gueye and Gareth Barry continuing their partnership in midfield. Kevin Mirallas and Yannick Bolaise on the wings. Ross Barkley in attacking midfield and Romelu Lukaku upfront, two players who are under immense pressure to perform.
After many years under Moyes, it was predictable how Sunderland would go forward; expose one area of the pitch. Tactics like this formed the “Bainaar” partnership between Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines. To be honest, it was Sunderland who started the better out of the two – constantly putting pressure on the right. All 3 of the chances the hosts created came in from the right side.
To counter the Sunderland offence, Everton moved into a 4-4-2 at the back. On the occasion, Mirallas would drop back to make it a 5-man defence. Despite having a poor half going forward, Kev contributed a lot in defensively, more than I’ve ever seen in the 100 games he’s played for The Blues.
Everton looked slow going forward; within the first 45 we only had 13 touches in the Sunderland penalty area. This was against a side that wasn’t putting every man behind the ball. After a header fantastically saved from Pickford and another shot straight at him, you could still sense that Lukaku was going to score. Overall, it was a pretty boring half of football.
Koeman took of Barkley who’d done barley anything the entire half and replaced him with Gerard Deulofeu. Mirallas and Bolasie are both great ball-carrying wingers, but creatively, neither provide as much as Gerard Deulofeu does. The tempo was increased highly and as Everton built momentum, more and more holes appeared across the Sunderland half.
Towards the end of the first-half, Everton had only had 1 shot in the last 15 minutes; 10 minutes into the second and we had 4 on goal. The hosts still created, Defoe’s run well tracked by Ashley Williams and the resulting corner being well saved from Stekelenburg.
Hour gone and Everton broke the deadlock. A great counter lead from Deulofeu eventually found Idrissa Gueye on the right. Sunderland’s defensive duties were awful, Mirallas and Lukaku completely unmarked and both were 2 meters away from each other. Besides that, what a header from Lukaku!
From that point, it was all Everton. The Toffees flooding forward, Baines and Coleman pressing up a lot more. At the back, Gareth Barry sat into the defensive line in the middle of Jagielka and Williams (therefore resulting in more full-back pressure). In fact, Barry helped create the second goal. Knocking it onto the wing, Bolasie glided past Manquillo, made a gorgeous cross into the area before Lukaku directed the ball into the back of the net.
Ball-watching one again caught the hosts out, Lukaku left in some space before heading the ball home. Bolasie was bossing the game on the wings; creating 5 chances and completing 4 take ons. He’s been given a lot more freedom after playing under Pulis and Pardew who both love to see their team defend for 90 minutes. Yannick is already creating more chances, something desperately needed for Lukaku.
Three minutes later and Lukaku sealed his hat trick. The host’s defence looked as if it’d already given up, Papy Djilobodji sprinting forward at Deulofeu when nothing was on – which created the space for Lukaku. One simple through ball from Mirallas set Romelu up for the third who easily put it in, leaving Pickford standing still.
Everton dominated the last 15 minutes, Davies and Kone being brought on to see out the victory. Sunderland’s Didier Ndong making his debut at probably the worst time, 3-0 down with not long left. Moyes even threw on Denayer to try and sort out their defensive woes. The final whistle blew to cheers from the Everton fans and boos from the Sunderland supporters; Lukaku stole the show and making Koeman the first Everton manager since Thomas McIntosh back in 1919 to win the first 2 competitive away games in charge of the club.
Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku
After not scoring a Premier League goal in over 1,000 minutes of football, it was like seeing a new striker upfront for Everton last night. Three fine goals for Lukaku has pushed the front-man’s confidence right up again. Lukaku could’ve scored 7 or 8 on the night but his movement and positioning was very impressive (maybe unsurprising considering he’s already scored 122 goals in his career already). Hope we see a lot more from the Belgian.
There are clear problems for Sunderland. In all three goals you can see defenders ball-watching and not focusing on the biggest bloke in the area. I wouldn’t judge Moyes too quickly; he built Everton into a complete fortress at home and can do it at Sunderland too. We haven’t had to face a tough opponent, apart from Spurs, yet, but 10 points from 12 is the best start in years for Everton. No team has conceded less than we have and with Middlesbrough next we could continue this great form.
Stats via Squawka,
Up the Toffees
Latest posts by Joel Parker (see all)
- Match Analysis and Review: Sunderland 0-3 Everton - September 15, 2016
- Analysing Everton’s Summer Transfer Window - September 5, 2016
- A Koeman Philosophy (Part Two): Predicting an Everton side under Ronald Koeman - August 14, 2016