When Sunday came around Everton found themselves in the bottom half of the Premier league table on the back of some tough games. So it was crucial that the Blues turned the potential up and coming tide against Sunderland.
Even during his first loan spell at Goodison Park I don't think Gerard Deulofeu put in a better performance than he did on Sunday. For me, I think he was very unlucky not to get the Man of the Match award and if Kone had not scored his three goals, Deulofeu would have walked it.
It was a 65 minutes at full throttle for the Spaniard. There was rarely an attack that he wasn't a big part of, whether it was one of his deadly through balls, pin-point crosses or using his pace to beat defenders, he showed us a glimpse of what his potential. If Kone and Lukaku hadn't had been in the rich vein of form they are, I believe we'd have been talking about Deulofeu's match winning performance. Four assists, one goal and he could have had more. Now he has to put that on the pitch consistently and drop the negatives in his game that can sometimes marr his performance.
I could literally just leave these next couple of paragraphs empty as his performance yet again did all the talking. His work rate is up there with what we've come to expect from the likes of James McCarthy, he is just non-stop. The one thing that catches the eye with Arouna most weeks is his natural ability. It's astounding that Kone didn't make an appearance in the Premier league long before his days at Wigan Athletic. The attacker's touch, pace, distribution in the final third and finishing is massively under-played and under-talked. He has all the attributes you could expect from the best strikers in the game and its clear to us now that it was just a case of giving him time to get away from injuries and get time on the pitch.
There were two exceptionally skillful finishes out of Kone's three goals. The first goal, to cut onto his weaker foot, with a player touch-tight to you and an advancing keeper, yet still smash the ball high into the goal as he did was exceptional. The third goal, a run that started 10 yards outside the penalty area before glancing it home at a tight angle, again out of the reach of the keeper, proves his overall ability.
The turning point
After the Sunderland equaliser the game could literally have gone either way. There is often little made of the importance of "The One Percenters" and thankfully on Sunday we covered most of them. Those 50/50 challenges, those through balls finding our man, the pressing when the opposition is on the ball and turning a potential corner into a throw in. In the 10 minutes after Sunderland got the equaliser we saw each of those paying off in our favour.
That aspect of our game hasn't always been there and the recent game against Arsenal is an example of that. The missed punches/catches from Tim Howard, the concession of free-kicks in areas within 10 yards of our box, less pressing when the opposition is on the ball and preventing them from getting crosses in the box. They all add up and can ultimately see a team win or lose.