While it is barely the most glamorous fixture in the Premier League calendar, Everton’s visit to Sunderland this evening made for some thrilling Monday night football.
As David Moyes welcomed his former club to the Stadium of Light, he was looking to put some valuable points on the board as the Black Cats bid to put some early breathing space between them and the drop zone.
Even at this early stage.
Still, despite some encouraging signs, the home side were torn apart by a Yannick Bolasie and Romelu Lukaku double act in the second-half.
The latter notched a hat-trick in just 11 minutes to extend Ronald Koeman’s unbeaten streak in charge of the Merseyside outfit.
While the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story, the away side were clinical when given the chance and Koeman flexed his muscles in terms of options available to him.
So, here are THREE things tonight taught us.
For so long under Roberto Martinez, the Toffees stuck with playing just one way. Usually, it was pretty bad.
However, the proactive Dutchman was able to drag a disappointing Ross Barkley at the interval and introduce the electric Gerard Deulofeu to freshen up the frontline.
With the lethal Lukaku fronting the operation, Koeman has now imposed different ways of playing in different systems to his ranks.
This makes them a truly dangerous side.
Though comparisons to N’Golo Kante may be somewhat premature, the signing of Idrissa Gueye looks to be an inspired one by Steve Walsh.
Much like the aforementioned Frenchman, the Senegalese is a tireless presence in the engine room and gives Everton some much-needed dynamism.
While his defensive attributes are key, he showed his ability in dictating the tempo on Wearside this evening.
Patrick van Aanholt has often flattered to deceive thanks to his attacking enterprise, though the Dutchman’s defensive frailty was cruelly exposed this evening.
His not-so-sound positional sense allowed Lukaku to run a mock at the Stadium of Light this evening.
Seriously needs to improve.