Briefly and a little shamefacedly, Goodison launched into a chorus of “Are you watching, David Moyes?” The man who made the modern Everton takes his new club to the North-east on Saturday and, even though Sunderland are bottom of the Premier League, he would probably prefer to play Newcastle.
Alan Pardew’s side do not like Mondays. In their previous effort in front of the Sky cameras they were disembowelled by Manchester City and for 45 minutes of this Premier League match last night they produced a performance even worse. They will point to the vast improvement after the break and Loïc Rémy’s late goal that briefly dangled the prospect of a point in front of them. However, Newcastle went into their dressing room three down and no chess player would expect to win after losing his queen in the opening moves.
Everton, far too complacent in the closing stages, nevertheless moved into fourth and are, like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Leyton Orient, still unbeaten in the league. They also have a new hero. Jose Mourinho had been the last manager to lose here, a little over a fortnight ago, and if his preference for Samuel Eto’o over Romelu Lukaku seemed strange then, it appeared bizarre after just five minutes now. It was time enough for Chelsea’s gift to Merseyside to walk the ball into the net (ruled offside) and then score spectacularly and legitimately.
The last time a World Cup was staged in Latin America, in 1986, Belgium finished fourth and, come the summer, they have the players to do something similar in Brazil. The goal was as Belgian as chips with mayonnaise and Chimay beer. Kevin Mirallas seized the ball down the right flank and Lukaku ran into the wide-open prairie-like spaces left by the Newcastle defence. Tim Krul’s body half-blocked the shot but there was too much power in Lukaku’s boots for it not to cross the line.
When Newcastle last came to Goodison Park, 12 months ago, they had been as embarrassingly outplayed as they often were here and somehow managed to escape with a 2-2 draw. This time there was to be no let-up.
Ross Barkley’s goal was not quite as jaw-dropping as his crashing strike at Norwich on the opening day of the season but it was very well worked. The teenager had already given notice of his intentions with a vicious drive that hissed by the post when Lukaku, running at a disintegrating back four, timed his pass to Barkley beautifully. The finish suggested the kind of young talent English football craves.
Newcastle’s director of football, Joe Kinnear, would have recognised Everton’s third from his route one Wimbledon days. Tim Howard had once scored with a long clearance at Goodison and he almost did again. His kick travelled three-quarters of the length of the pitch. Fabricio Coloccini might have cut it out, Krul made a hash of the clearance and Lukaku was given an unmissable opportunity. The stadium echoed to chants of “easy, easy” while those from Tyneside demanded their money back. Mike Ashley is not a man who hands out refunds.
The man Newcastle’s owner had presented with an eight-year contract would have been yearning for the half-time whistle like a cut boxer would have pleaded for the bell, not because anything Pardew could say or do would alter the result but because the interval would halt the humiliation.
Nevertheless, he had a considerable impact, hauling off Hatem Ben Arfa, who three years ago had won a game for Newcastle spectacularly here, and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. He was rewarded by the sight of Yoan Gouffran striking the post shortly before Yohan Cabaye, who has been neither match-fit nor, according to his manager, mentally right to play, driving home the night’s most memorable goal. The mental state of plenty of Cabaye’s team-mates might be questioned but they do not possess his instinctive talent.
Everton: HOWARD, JAGIELKA, COLEMAN, DISTIN, BAINES, McCARTHY, MIRALLAS, BARRY, BARKLEY, OSMAN, LUKAKU
Newcastle: KRUL, SANTON, COLOCCINI, YANGA-MBIWA, DEBUCHY, GOUFFRAN, TIOTE, SISSOKO, ANITA, BEN ARFA, REMY
Goals: Everton: Lukaku 5, 37, Barkley 25. Newcastle: Cabaye 51, Rémy 89
Everton Deulofeu (Mirallas, 73), Naismith (Barkley, 88), Stones (Osman, 90. Newcastle Williamson (Yanga-M’Biwa, 46), Cabaye (Ben Arfa, 46), Cissé (Anita, 69).
Booked: Everton Baines, Mirallas, Barry
Man of the match Lukaku. Match rating 7/10.
Possession: Everton 50% Newcastle 50%.
Attempts on target: Everton 7 Newcastle 6.
Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire). Att 33,495.