Arouna Kone hat-trick buries Sunderland in Goodison Park
Everton lost a two goal lead, but they still had four more goals in them to win easily
Hat trick scorer Arouna Kone of Everton holds the match ball as he celebrates with Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images
Everton 6 Sunderland 2
The elation of a sixth successive Tyne-Wear derby victory evaporated quickly for Sunderland. Sam Allardyce’s team were pulverised by Everton as an Arouna Koné hat-trick and an inspired display from Gerard Deulofeu exposed brittle defending and the reason why the visitors are second from bottom of the Premier League.
In terms of initial intent and the reaction to falling two goals behind to Roberto Martínez’s incisive team, the visitors have hope. But not with defending like this.
A three-man defence offered Koné, Romelu Lukaku et al the freedom of Goodison Park as Everton scored their highest tally in a Premier League game since beating Roy Keane’s Sunderland 7-1 here in November 2007. They had chances to surpass that tally on Sunday.
Allardyce’s gameplan was clear – stifle Everton’s creativity by employing wing-backs, nullify the threat of Lukaku with three central defenders and hit Steven Fletcher early. It succeeded initially, and Sunderland were highly unfortunate not to be two goals ahead as Patrick Van Aanholt and Adam Johnson both hit the post before Everton created one meaningful attack. Fletcher was dominant in the air against John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori with Jermain Defoe alert to the flick-on.
Van Aanholt screamed at the heavens in disbelief after exchanging passes with the Scotland striker and beating Tim Howard with a first time, left-foot shot that hit the inside of a post and cannoned clear. Johnson struck the same post shortly afterwards as the visitors had three chances to open the scoring from the same counterattack. Howard saved well from Defoe after Van Aanholt intercepted Ross Barkley’s careless crossfield pass to instigate the break. The rebound fell to Johnson, who scuffed a shot against the woodwork with his weaker right foot, and Howard saved again from Fletcher’s follow-up.
Sunderland, their supporters chanting “six in a row” in celebration of their latest victory over Newcastle United, were in the ascendency. Unfortunately for Allardyce, their defensive unit – from central midfield to the backline – disintegrated at the first sign of Everton ingenuity.
The outstanding Koné capitalised on the vast space between Billy Jones and left wing-back Van Aanholt to float a delightful pass through to Deulofeu. The young Spaniard finished confidently, cutting back inside Jones before converting through the legs of Costel Pantilimon.
Ahead against the run of play, Martinez’s side seized control and Koné doubled the advantage with a fine finish into the roof of the net from 18 yards after a slick one-two with Lukaku. Pantilimon was easily beaten despite being close to the shot but could also ask why six outfield players stood off as the Everton forwards passed at will on the edge of their area.
The game appeared over as a contest and Everton believed so too. Their play became increasingly sloppy in the closing stages of the first half and Defoe gave Sunderland a superb lifeline with the final kick of the half.
Stones was guilty of ball-watching as Sebastián Coates drilled a long ball towards the Everton area. Defoe nipped in as the defender backed off, lifted the ball over the covering Funes Mori and beat Howard with the aid of a slight deflection off the England defender.
Having been out of the game seconds before the break, Sunderland were level moments after it when Fletcher beat Funes Mori to Van Aanholt’s left-wing cross and headed inside Howard’s right-hand post. Everton’s response to throwing away a comfortable margin was emphatic. By the hour, the visitors had been destroyed.
Goodison Park thought Lukaku had restored Everton’s lead when he threw himself at Deulofeu’s inviting cross and the ball nestled in the far corner. Replays showed Coates getting the final touch as he stretched to intercept the delivery. Lukaku did get his goal, moments later, when Deulofeu produced another touch of creative class, splitting the Sunderland defence with a curling pass that sent the Belgium international clear and around Pantilimon before slotting home.
Barkley and James McCarthy then produced another devastating break that ended with the Republic of Ireland midfielder releasing Koné on the left of the area and the Ivorian beating the visiting keeper with a confident left-foot finish. The hat-trick arrived with a header from Lukaku’s cross to the near post. Again, no Sunderland defender was alert or close enough to a royal blue shirt and Koné was left with a simple task to head beyond Pantilimon from close range.
Substitute Kevin Mirallas twice went close to heightening Sunderland’s embarrassment while Howard denied Duncan Watmore, Van Aanholt and Defoe with decent saves late on.