We look at five talking points from Everton’s 4-0 victory over Hull City…
CALVERT-LEWIN IS READY
Dominic Calvert-Lewin wore the biggest smile in Goodison Park after yesterday’s 4-0 victory over Hull City.
What a week it has been for the young forward who celebrated his 20th birthday on Thursday, earned a call-up to the England Under-20s squad later in the day and netted his first Premier League goal on Saturday.
With Kevin Mirallas unavailable, it was a huge vote of confidence from Ronald Koeman to give the youngster just his second top-flight start, with Ademola Lookman and Enner Valencia other options available.
Calvert-Lewin was in the right place at the right time to tap home Tom Davies’ cross, timing his run to perfection and converting like a natural goalscorer.
And he could have even grabbed another goal later in the first half, had he managed get better contact on a far-post header.
Calvert-Lewin left to a standing ovation on the hour-mark as Koeman shifted to wing-backs and a three-man defence, the home fans acknowledging that there is plenty of promise in the former Sheffield United man.
After injuring his ankle in untimely fashion against Southampton in January, the forward stressed that his primary aim was to simply get back in the first-team before the end of the season.
Having been rewarded for his hard work regaining his fitness with a first Everton goal, more opportunities are likely to fall in the direction of the likeable Yorkshireman now that he has shown he has what it takes to play in the Premier League.
KOEMAN ALWAYS DEMANDING MORE
“It was an excellent result but not an excellent performance. We didn’t play how I know we can play.”
Koeman’s opening words from his post-match evertontv interview are an indicator how the Dutchman is always striving for perfection.
Everton smashed four goals past Hull City, recorded a sixth successive home Premier League win and leapfrogged Manchester United in the table.
On paper it seemed a fantastic afternoon’s work but, watching on from his technical area, Koeman felt that as convincing as the scoreline was, Everton did not produce their best performance of the season.
Koeman sets high standards and even in victory, he will openly talk about areas in the performance where there’s room for improvement.
“Another clean sheet, another three points but our final pass today was terrible,” added the straight-talking Everton manager.
ENNER THE IMPACT SUB
Nicknamed Superman in his homeland, Enner Valencia is proving to be Everton’s Super Sub.
The Ecuadorian has scored after coming off the bench in his last two appearances. He followed up his goal at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago with another at Goodison on Saturday.
In fact, Valencia had only been on the pitch 69 seconds when he played a clever one-two with Romelu Lukaku and tucked away the third goal of his loan spell.
It was only on Thursday when Valencia explained that he was keen to contribute with more goals and fire Everton into Europe.
His pace and willingness to run in behind defenders means he is a very useful option for Koeman and, as his last two cameos suggest, he is finding form at a key stage of the season.
INTERNATIONAL BREAK AT A BAD TIME
The Premier League is put on hold for a fortnight after this weekend as the World Cup qualifiers resume across the globe.
Everton will have players jetting off all around Europe, some as far as Africa and South America.
Koeman will rue the timing of the international break with his team in such good form. Since suffering a late defeat in the Merseyside derby before Christmas, the Toffees have recouped 27 points from 36 available. An excellent return.
With Morgan Schneiderlin picking up a calf injury against Hull, Koeman will be keeping his fingers crossed that his international contingent all return fit and ready with two crucial games against Liverpool and Manchester United in the space of four days once the domestic action resumes.
LUKAKU FAVOURITE FOR GOLDEN BOOT
Lukaku on the scoresheet and three points for Everton. That’s been the norm at Goodison Park since the turn of the year.
On Saturday, the Belgian’s clinical late brace made him the first Everton player since Gary Lineker in 1985/86 to score 20 league goals in a season, and the first since Bob Latchford eight years earlier to find the net in seven successive home games.
“You know if Rom gets those kind of chances, he will score,” said Koeman after watching the striker put Hull to the sword.
Lukaku, with 21 league goals to his name this term, is now in pole position to win the Golden Boot award. Club betting partner William Hill have the striker as favourite at a price of evens.
He is two ahead of Kane and is likely to increase that margin in the coming weeks with the Tottenham striker sidelined with an ankle injury.