Arouna Kone a hat-trick hero as Everton hit Sunderland for six
Holly Thackeray | November 1, 2015
Everton 6-2 Sunderland
- Arouna Kone a hat-trick hero for Toffees
- Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku also instrumental
- Mackems responded through Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher
- Everton propelled to eighth in Premier League
- Sunderland still stranded in relegation zone
Everton excite home crowd with superb six
Roberto Martinez oversaw an excellent performance from hosts Everton, who smashed six past visiting Sunderland at Goodison Park to go eighth in the Premier League and five points off the top four.
The Mackems, meanwhile, stay marooned in the bottom three, with defensive shambles their undoing despite briefly fighting back to equalise early in the second-half.
Sunderland scuppered by woodwork
The Black Cats began courageously enough, with striker Steven Fletcher’s stinging shot clanging unluckily off Everton’s post within three minutes of kick-off, as Sam Allardyce shuffled his formation and fielded three at the back due to injuries.
Scottish sharpshooter Fletcher combined encouragingly as part of a front two alongside Jermain Defoe, with the Toffees rearguard seemingly unsettled from the start without sidelined skipper Phil Jagielka.
However, Sunderland’s forwards were thwarted again soon after as Patrick van Aanholt pounced on a loose ball by Ross Barkley to send Sam Allardyce’s side charging up the pitch.This time Defoe was denied by the excellently outstretched leg of Tim Howard, with Adam Johnson’s follow up cracking off the woodwork and Fletcher then foiled by a combination of Seamus Coleman and the Everton goalie.
How different things may have been if those chances had converted. The Mackems soon paid for their failure to finish on Merseyside, though. Around the 18th minute mark, Gerard Deulofeu exploited Allardyce’s lack of a traditional full back down the left, as Arouna Kone slid a pass to the roaming Spaniard, whose superb but slightly deflected strike put the hosts 1-0 up.
No lessons were learned as, just seconds after scoring, dangerous Deulofeu found acres of space down the same side, with Van Aanholt stranded up-field, but this time the winger’s ball missed a lurking Romelu Lukaku in the Black Cats’ box.
Everton’s tails were up, though, and crafty Kone made it 2-0 following some lovely link-up play with fellow forward Lukaku, taking advantage of a lack of marking on the edge of Sunderland’s area to rifle a sweet strike past Costel Pantilimon in the 31st minute.
Everton excel on counter-attack
Just as it looked as though the guests would not get the rub of the green in this game, the Mackems were briefly buoyed by Defoe’s swift movement. The veteran marksman ghosted between John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori and dispatched his chance expertly over Howard to give Sunderland a lifeline headed into half time.
Hitman Defoe was then at it again, as the Black Cats book-ended the break with another goal to equalise. This time it was the Englishman’s hard work down the right flank which opened space for Van Aanholt to curl in a cross, which a rising Fletcher was always favourite to beat Mori too.
If the Sunderland looked to have found balance up top, however, their backline continued to toil and it was not long before the Black Cats found themselves on the backfoot again. Deulofeu was the protagonist, putting a low ball into the box for Lukaku, though it was calamitous Sebastian Coates who diverted the chance into his own goal.
Kone cranks up attacking ante
Sunderland attempted to rally but began being picked off on the counter, with Lukaku finally etching his name onto the scoresheet after more fine work down the wing by Deulofeu. The former Barcelona boy clocked-up his second assist of the match by splitting the Black Cats’ backline brutally to supply Lukaku, who lethally accelerated to round Pantilimon and slot home.
Martinez’s men then made it 5-2 after picking the Mackem’s pockets again, with Kone grabbing a second after a smart reverse pass from James McCarthy allowed the African attacker to loft the ball into beleaguered Sunderland’s net.
Former Wigan Athletic attacker Kone was not yet finished, however, and combined wonderfully with Lukaku to complete Sunderland’s smashing and contribute the Toffees’ terrific sixth strike and his own hat-trick. A pinpoint cross from the outside of the bullish Belgian’s boot found clubmate Kone, who headed home emphatically from close range.
On this evidence, Everton will be a top six challenger to watch out for, with an array of adaptable attackers clicking into gear. While, Big Sam has surely suffered a rude awakening about the seriousness of struggling Sunderland’s situation.
Read more Premier League reactions in our archive