After a week full of Everton-related controversy, some may have expected the Blues to come out flat against a relegation candidate like Hull City. Instead, the boys dominated from start to finish and secured three more points as they beat Hull 4-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the scoring started with a ninth-minute strike, which was a result of some lovely passing. First, Ross Barkley weighted a perfect through ball to Tom Davies. Then Davies put a square pass into Calvert-Lewin in the box, who hit it first time to give Everton a 1-0 lead.
The remainder of the first half was all about the Blues, but they couldn’t manage to find the back of the net again. However, they were stout on defense. Hull had almost no chances in the opening 45 minutes that Everton didn’t hand to them through bone-headed plays.
There was a major negative of the first half, though. Morgan Schneiderlin’s day was done after just 30 minutes as he was replaced by Gareth Barry when it looked like the Frenchman needed to come off with an apparent calf injury. As of this writing, there has been no word on the extent of Schneiderlin’s knock.
Early on in the second half, it looked like Hull was getting back into the game. They maintained control of the match for the first five or ten minutes, but Everton didn’t allow an inch. The Tigers never truly came close to scoring. At the same time, the Blues attack was a bit lacking.
The turning point came when Tom Huddlestone was controversially sent off for a bad tackle on Idrissa Gueye. The foul certainly warranted a card, but red? It seemed a tad harsh. Minutes later, Enner Valencia entered as a sub and helped secure the points.
A lovely give and go between Valencia and Romelu Lukaku led to a beautiful Valencia goal. Lukaku’s pass to his fellow striker was a perfect dink over the defense that should be on highlight reels at the end of the season.
Soon after, roles were reversed as Lukaku got in the goals and Valencia provided the service. A nicely weighted through ball hit Lukaku in stride and he smashed it past Eldin Jakupovic in goal.
And then, with the final kick of the game, Lukaku scored again. This time, it came on a defensive miscue. Rom collected an attempted back pass and gave it a simple flick past the keeper. To celebrate, he ran towards the crowd and blew them kisses with both hands. He does love Everton and they love him back. Whatever happens this summer won’t change that.
Make no mistake, Everton were not at their best on this day. They weren’t clinical enough in the first half, and came out a bit slow in the second half. But the youngsters like Davies and Calvert-Lewin were impressive, Lukaku continues to dominate and the team beat an inferior side as they should. This performance, paired with Arsenal’s loss to West Bromwich Albion earlier in the day have Evertonians dreaming bigger European dreams again. There is some time to make up ground, but it is certainly running out.
Things get tough now. The players will head their separate ways for the international break. After that, they head to Anfield for the derby with Liverpool. Later in the week, they face off with Manchester United. No more cupcakes. Ronald Koeman will learn a lot about his squad in the next month.