Lukaku ends goal drought in style
Any concerns about Romelu Lukaku’s ability to score were certainly quieted against Sunderland. The Belgian international netted all three goals for Everton and very easilt could have had six or seven. Early on it looked as though Lukaku’s struggles would continue as a number of excellent chances failed to find the back of the net. Even when it seemed as though his frustration may get the best of him, Lukaku continued to put himself in good positions and did an excellent job posting up on defenders and holding the ball up at the edge of the box.
We all knew that Lukaku would eventually break out of his goal drought, but I think it’s fair to say that few expected it to happen with this amount of flair. Despite Lukaku’s impressive performance, the play of the wingers cannot be praised enough. Bolasie and Deulofeu did an excellent job of getting crosses into the box, stretching the pitch and giving Lukaku room to operate.
Kevin Mirallas: Renaissance man
Mirallas has been one of the unsung heroes of the team this season. Having been relegated to a supporting role under Roberto Martinez and nearly leaving the club, Mirallas has become an important piece in Ronald Koeman’s squad. His switch to central midfield at the start of the second half seemed to open things up for Everton leading to his sublime first-touch pass that saw Lukaku cement his hat-trick.
Mirallas has shown the ability to play across all three attacking midfield positions, moving inside and out with relative ease. While he may not always put up high goal numbers or tally many assists, his constant movement of the ball is a huge asset to the offensive play and the team as a whole.
From mediocrity to victory
The first hour of this game was far from the most entertaining game to watch. Everton held the bulk of the possession and threatened to score a number of times, while Sunderland hung in the game and even looked poised to take the lead on a handful of occasions. Overall it looked as though we might be in for a rough game against a stereotypically stingy David Moyes side.
But yet again, Ronald Koeman seemed to pull the right strings and turned a dull affair into a dominant victory by Everton. His substitution of Ross Barkley was immediate and decisive after the halftime whistle and his choice turned out to be a good one as Deulofeu added an extra dimension to the team. Having been beaten down by Roberto Martinez’s stubbornness the last few years, it is refreshing to see a manager willing to make the tough calls to lead his team to victory.