Goodison welcomed back no fewer than four former Blues – Jack Rodwell, Darron Gibson, James Vaughan and substitute Bryan Oviedo – in the Sunderland squad for this Carabao Cup tie.
Four straight losses and no goals scored saw Ronald Koeman make a number of changes in hoping to find a cutting edge and recover the confidence of some Evertonians. In search of a much needed win, he selected a 4-3-3 starting line-up of: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Williams (c), Keane, Kenny, Davies, Besic, Klaassen, Vlasic, Ramirez and Calvert-Lewin.
Sunderland, with enough form issues of their own to contend with following relegation last season and a poor start to the new season saw manager Simon Grayson pick: Steele, Jones, Love, Kone, Matthews, Gibson, Rodwell, Ndong, Honeyman, Vaughan and Gooch.
In charge of proceeding was referee Oliver Langford.
Everton forced an early corner, but it was a Besic error that allowed Vaughan the first shot of the game that thankfully, for the Bosnian, went wide.
Besic was involved again in a decent attack, lifting a ball over for Klaassen to head on for DCL but his weak shot sat up nicely for the keeper to gather.
The game needed some pace and it came from DCL to feed Vlasic, but his shot hit the side netting. He returned the favour in the next attack cutting in to release DCL into a shooting position, but he dragged it wide.
A quick left wing move including a lovely dummy and turn by DCL earned the Blues their fourth corner ahead of a Ramirez free kick from 25 yards that forced the Sunderland goalie into his first proper save.
On the half hour with Everton comfortable, but not rampant, Keane found Klaassen and his flick on saw Vlasic gather, turn and shoot narrowly wide.
It had taken longer than expected, but the opening goal final came on 38 minutes as Holgate got forward and cut in before finding Vlasic who instantly found Klaassen and he squeezed the ball through for DCL to take and slot past Steele.
As the teams retired for their half time cup of tea, with the exception of Vaughan who worked tirelessly, the visitors hadn’t really troubled the Blues and Jonjoe Kenny who had enjoyed a solid first 45 minutes.
Half Time: 1-0
Darron Gibson marked his return with a yellow card early in the second half for chopping down Vlasic, but Ramirez fired the free kick well over the bar.
Everton doubled their lead on 51 minutes as Davies won the ball and his instant pass released Ramirez at pace to feed the onrushing DCL who fired a fine shot past Steele at his near post.
Vlasic, Klaassen and Ramirez caused havoc in the visitors defence but somehow they survived only for the next Everton attack to see Klaassen find DCL with a super cross, the diving, full length header cannoning back off the post.
DCL got a standing ovation for his efforts on 65 minutes as he was replaced to great applause by Oumar Niasse.
Vaughan put a header wide off a right wing cross from Love ahead of Ademola Lookman coming on for Ramirez, and the speedy winger was straight into the action nearly scoring from close range.
Aaron Lennon came of for the final ten minutes for the hard working and impressive Nikola Vlasic but the biggest cheer of the night came two minutes later when a chip into the box from Davies was well controlled off his chest by Niasse and his one time finish bulged the Gwladys Street net.
A solid game from Everton with Vlasic and Kenny impressing and Tom Davies anchoring the midfield saw them run out comfortable victors, with three good goals to reflect upon.
Full Time: 3-0
Speaking afterwards, Ronald Koeman said, “Everybody knows we are in a difficult moment and scoring goals and winning games is the best medicine to get our full confidence back. Let’s hope the result tonight and the way that we played gives us a boost for Saturday”.
“It’s normal at 2-0 with 20 minutes to go that you play with full confidence but when you start the game or when it’s a difficult game then still you need to show that”.
“We scored three goals and maybe we had some other good chances to score even more. We fought for a good result and I’m happy about the performance”.
“Of course you look at the individual performances of the players but first is the team and I think everybody worked hard and the final result was good. The second half was better, we played at a higher tempo and we created more chances than in the first half”.
“Overall, it was positive, everybody tried to impress and to play and now we will pick the best team to play on Saturday”.