Arouna Kone’s clinical hat-trick helped Everton to an emphatic win over Sunderland at Goodison Park.
The Ivorian helped himself to three goals as the Blues ran riot, scoring six Premier League goals for the first time in eight years.
In a free-flowing game, it was the visitors who threatened early on, hitting the woodwork twice in the opening 15 minutes.
It was the Blues who opened the scoring though, when the impressive Gerard Deulofeu finished confidently from Kone’s excellent lofted through ball in the 19th minute.
Eleven minutes later the Toffees doubled their lead as Kone linked-up with strike partner Romelu Lukaku, before firing into the top corner to put the Blues in control.
Everton were in the box seat and in all honestly cruising to half time until a defensive error gifted Sunderland a way back into the game, right on the stroke of half time.
Some slack defending from John Stones allowed Jermaine Defoe a sight at goal and the forward finished excellently with the aid of a slight deflection off the Everton man.
Five minutes into the second half the Black Cats drew level when Everton failed to deal with yet another cross into the six-yard box and Steven Fletcher rose highest to head Sunderland level.
Goodison was stunned into silence, but it didn’t take long to rejoice again as Everton went goal crazy, scoring four times in the space of 21 minutes.
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In the 55th minute, the Toffees took the lead again through a Sebastian Coates own goal, as the defender turned Deulofeu’s brilliant centre into his own net.
Five minutes later, Deulofeu released Lukaku with one of the assists of the season, and the Belgian deservedly got himself on the score sheet.
Kone added his second two minutes later finishing excellently from James McCarthy’s disguised pass.
The Ivorian grabbed his hat-trick largely thanks to an exquisite cross from Lukaku, as the striker headed home to complete the rout.
The partnership of Lukaku and Kone was excellent throughout and although Kone grabbed the headlines with his excellent trio, his Belgian strike partner has now notched up 10 goals and assists in the Premier League this season.
It was Kone’s day though as he became the fifth Ivorian to score a Premier League hat-trick, securing a 12-month contract extension with Everton in the process.
The result was a lift the Blues needed as they won only their second game in six league matches at Goodison Park.
Five key stats:
Arouna Kone and Steven Naismith became the first two players to score Premier League hat-trick’s for Everton in the same season.
It’s the first time since 1986 that three different Everton players – Lukaku, Naismith, Kone – have scored hat-tricks in the same calendar year. Graeme Sharpe, Gary Lineker and Paul Wilkinson were the last to score trios for the Blues in the same year.
Gerard Deulofeu has registered two goals and six assists in just five starts (12 appearances) for Everton this season.
Everton have scored 18 goals in 581 minutes when Gerard Deulofeu is on the pitch – a goal every 32 minutes. Without the Spaniard, the Blues have managed just nine in 739 minutes – a goal every 82 minutes.
Lukaku to Kone is the Premier League’s joint leading goal combination with four goals so far this season, level with Giroud and Ozil. Deulofeu to Lukaku is joint second, on three goals.