Blues boss Ronald Koeman had said in midweek his side CAN catch Manchester United and look for a top four place, but only IF they won their next two home games, starting with their tough contest against Tony Pulis’ well organised team.
Well, they did it in style, by showing patience and skill to push and probe at the visitors until they hit them with a swift 1-2 just before the break.
It was Kevin Mirallas who paved the way for victory with a reactive finish after keeper Ben Foster had parried a Ross Barkley shot, and then Morgan Schneiderlin got a fine second with two brilliant touches just before the interval. Romelu Lukaku added a third late on.
It means Everton extend their gap on the Baggies in the table, and close to within two points of United, who must now feel the Merseyside club breathing down their necks.
Here our reporter David Maddock looks at some of the issues from the game:
1. Mirallas comes good
Kevin Mirallas owed West Brom one big time, so his opening goal here must have been sweet for the much maligned Belgian forward. It was against the Baggies that he memorably snatched the ball from Leighton Baines when the Blues were awarded a penalty back in January 2015…and missed. He was slaughtered that day by everyone from fans to tea lady. Finally, payback.
2. Insult to injury
Morgan Schneiderlin obviously has something against West Brom too. The Black Country club tried to sign him in January, you’ll remember, and had a bid accepted by Manchester United, where Everton initially didn’t. It was his refusal to move to the Midlands that forced United to eventually sell to the Blues. Just to rub it in, he produced a fine goal here.
3. Tony Pulis must feel just a little bit hurt
It was all going so swimmingly on his 300th game as a Premier League manager, his side’s ruthlessly organised defence showing just what a meticulous coach he is, until Mirallas and Schneiderlin undid the good work. Don’t take anything away from Pulis though, for all the stick he gets, 300 games as manager at this level is some achievement.
4. Weary West Brom
West Brom looked weary, which is a surprise, because their manager is good at keeping his teams on their toes. Maybe reaching the 40 point safety target so early in the season caused them to switch off a little here at Goodison. They did the same last season, coasting through their final few games. You can’t imagine Pulis will allow it to happen for a second time.
5. Lukaku looking good
Because his scoring stats have been so good this season – is there anyone with better all round striking qualities of Romelu Lukaku in the Premier League? – his ability to create space and chances for others is often overlooked. But here he created the first with a ball for Ross Barkley, and the second with a fine pass for Schneiderlin, and he is improving massively in his link up play.
Joel 6 – Had little to do, will be grateful after difficult time at Spurs
Coleman 7 – Showed massive energy down right flank and willingness too
Williams 7 – Has emerged as real leader for Blues, and did it again here
Jagielka 7 – Tough job coming back against Baggies, but did it brilliantly
Baines 6 – Surprisingly untroubled defensively, limped off at half time
Davies 7 – The lad has something about him, lots of energy and ideas
Barry 6 – Tidy job in middle of park where he wrested control for side
Schneiderlin 8 – Brilliant finish, and powerful display in subduing opponents
Barkley 6 – Quieter game but still had a hand in the first goal, and buzzed
Lukaku 8 – MOTM. Showed he can create as well as score with two fine assists
Mirallas 7 – Not always appreciated here, but standing ovation when subbed
Subs: Funes Mori 6 (Baines 46), Gana 6 (Mirallas 70), Calvert-Lewin 6 (Barry 84)
Foster 5 – Didn’t cover himself in glory with possible mistake for first goal
Dawson 5 – Looks uncomfortable going forward at right back, solid defensively
Evans 6 – Annoyed that team lost shape for goals, otherwise solid as always
McAuley 6 – Just keeps on going, but not his best game after long service
Nyom 4 – A game too far at left back, looked so uncomfortable on the flank
Yacob 6 – Booked. Some good work in smothering middle, but no real control
Fletcher 6 – Covered a lot of ground but has quality to get on ball and dictate more
Livermore 6 – Showed a few impressive touches but eventually run out of it by Blues
Chadli 6 – A couple of good runs and had his side’s first chance, but no service
Robson-Kanu 5 – Never really got into game, and didn’t have chance to show his quality
McClean 6 – Has a real energy and willingness, but needs to apply little more nous
Subs: Brunt 5 (McClean 75), Rondon 5 (Robson-Kanu 76), Morrison 5 (Yacob 79)
Ref: Graham Scott Attn: 39,592