David Moyes hailed this exhilarating performance as the best in his five and a half years in charge at Everton, justifiably calling their football "a joy to watch". Moyes is not given to such flights of fancy, but Everton's biggest win for 11 years more than justified it. Ayegbeni Yakubu and Tim Cahill led the way by both scoring twice and the overall tally could easily have been in double figures as Sunderland took their abject away form to new depths.
"It was the sort of performance you hope you can bottle and keep producing," Moyes said. "It was the best performance since I've been here and some of the football was a joy, really entertaining."
If Yakubu and Cahill – the latter continuing his potent form since his return from injury – were the spearhead, then there were also significant contributions from the likes of Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar in midfield, and Phil Neville and Nuno Valente, supporting from full-back. It was all too much for Sunderland who slipped into the bottom three and only briefly threatened to make a contest of it on either side of half-time.
"I don't think Sunderland ever rolled over," said Moyes, which was of little consolation to Roy Keane, never previously on the wrong side of seven goals as a player or manager.
"It was very hard to take," said the Sunderland manager. "The disappointing aspect was the type of goals we conceded. Out of seven, we gave them four or five." Keane insisted that there was enough character in his squad to bounce back after this débâcle, without permanent damage to morale. "We've got decent lads in the dressing room and 7-1 is a very harsh scoreline, but every time Everton went forward, they looked like they were going to score," he said.
That process began in the 12th minute with a nightmare moment for the Irish international defender, Paul McShane. He missed Tim Howard's long clearance to give Yakubu a clear run and although Danny Higginbotham got back to challenge, all he could do was to get a deflection to help the ball over Craig Gordon and into the net.
Five minutes later it was two as Everton threatened to run riot. Arteta put a clever little pass into the path of Neville, who crossed first time for Cahill to take a touch, turn and fire past the helpless Gordon.
Leon Osman had a shot saved by overworked Gordon before Everton made it three, Pienaar exchanging passes with Valente before floating his shot into the top corner. Dwight Yorke's goal immediately before half-time had the look of a token effort.
Yorke and Dickson Etuhu were substituted at half-time and Sunderland maintained some of their new-found momentum with efforts from Michael Chopra and Ross Wallace. But immediately after the hour the fourth goal arrived. Joseph Yobo belted the ball upfield and Cahill killed it with the outside of his right foot before leaving McShane sprawling and slotting it past Gordon.
Chopra missed an open goal at the other end and was replaced by Andrew Cole before Yakubu got a deserved second, courtesy of Arteta's set-up and Osman's blocked shot. At that point both he and Cahill were substituted to standing ovations.
That brought on Andy Johnson and within six minutes he chased Neville's through-ball and dinked it over Gordon. Still the misery was not yet complete, five minutes from time Osman came jinking through from halfway to make it seven.Reuse content