A second half Sunderland capitulation saw Everton run out comfortable 3 – 0 winners at the SOL on Monday night with Romelu Lukaku grabbing a hat trick. There wasn’t a lot to choose from between the sides in a dour first half but after the break the visitors pounced on some sloppy Sunderland defending with Lukaku breaking a drought which had seen him not find the back of the net for Everton since March.
Sunderland lined up with Jordan Pickford in goal behind a back four of van Aanholt, Kone, Djilobodji, and Manquillo. In midfield there was a welcome return for Jan Kirchhoff alongside Gooch, Watmore, Rodwell and Januzaj whilst Jermain Defoe led the line alone as well as being named captain. Our two latest acquisitions in Jason Denayer and Didier NDong were both named on the bench.
We started ok with Defoe having a shot blocked inside three minutes after finding space on the edge of the box. After five minutes there was a minute’s appreciation for young Bradley Lowery who was mascot for the game, and is needing to raise £700k for cancer treatment in America something which is being well supported on Wearside and afar.
Sunderland had a great opportunity to take the lead after 10 minutes when Jermain Defoe broke through on goal but the striker usually so clinical in that position blazed his effort over the bar. At the other end Everton’s first real effort on goal was well saved by Jordan Pickford who tipped a Lukaku header over the bar.
Goalmouth action was limited in the first half with both sides defending well although before the break Watmore was booked for diving after surging forward and running towards the box. Watmore went down in search of a free kick but referee Mike Jones was having none of it and booked the youngster for simulation.
Everton made a change at the break with Deulofeu replacing Ross Barkley and the visitors seemed to step up the tempo in the second half and almost took the lead when Coleman got a sight of goal only to drag his shot wide of the post. David Moyes made his first change with half an hour to go with Khazri replacing Gooch but almost immediately Sunderland found themselves behind.
Ronald Koeman’s side broke quickly with Gueye finding space on the left and crossing for Lukaku to nod the ball into the bottom corner past Pickford. We tried to get back in the game and won a free kick 25 yards from goal but Khazri’s curling shot was held comfortably by Stekelenburg before the visitors doubled their lead.
Sunderland struggled defending Everton’s crosses all night and the second goal came down the left hand flank with Bolasie gliding past Manquillo and crossing for the unmarked Lukaku to head in his second of the night. Two minutes later Lukaku notched his hat trick after a neat interchange of passes between the Everton midfield saw the powerful Belgium striker spring the Sunderland defence and steer a low shot past Pickford.
The boos rang out at the stadium and with fifteen minutes to go David Moyes made changes to prevent a rout with NDong and Denayer debuting to replace Watmore and Kirchhoff as Sunderland went to five at the back. Neither player really had the chance to make much of an impact on the game but Sunderland need to improve dramatically in the coming weeks. In the second half the defending was very poor whilst throughout the game we struggled to cause Everton problems and with Defoe having a rare off night it highlights how reliant we are on his goals.
Final Score: Sunderland 0 Everton 3
ALS Man of the Match: Everton football club for their generous donation of £200k to the Bradley Lowery cause
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