Stoke 0-3 Everton: Three first-half goals hand visitors victory
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 06/02/16 7:40pm
Everton moved back into the top half of the Premier League following a dominant 3-0 victory at Stoke.
Roberto Martinez's side, who extended their unbeaten away run in the league to seven matches, were handed the perfect start at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday when Tom Cleverley was brought down in the penalty area by Jack Butland, allowing Romelu Lukaku to score his 16th league goal of the season.
The visitors were out of sight by the break thanks to goals from Seamus Coleman and Aaron Lennon as Everton, who move above Stoke and into eighth, recorded back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.
Stoke, who handed club record signing Giannelli Imbula a debut, suffered a third straight 3-0 defeat in the league as Mark Hughes' side dropped down to 11th.
Everton, who were unchanged from the midweek win against Newcastle, were in front in the 11th minute after Butland brought down Cleverley to give away a penalty.
Lukaku made no mistake from the spot, scoring his 20th goal in all competitions to become the first Everton player to score 20 or more goals in consecutive seasons since Graeme Sharp achieved the feat in the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons.
The visitors' lead was doubled in the 28th minute when Coleman ran across Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa to head Cleverley's corner across Butland and into the far corner.
Not a lot was coming back from Stoke and their afternoon was about to get even worse when Philipp Wollscheid clipped a blind pass into the path of Lennon, who raced through on goal before firing a low shot past Butland and into the bottom corner.
The boos rang around the Britannia at the sound of referee Andre Marriner's whistle and it served to give Stoke renewed intent at the start of the second half as Ibrahim Afellay combined with Xherdan Shaqiri, only to see his shot blocked by Bryan Oviedo.
However, it was not long until Everton were back on the front foot through the impressive Ross Barkley, but he could only find the side netting with his shot after collecting a pass from Lukaku.
Everton went close to a fourth just before the hour mark and Barkley was involved again, crossing for Lukaku but his header was superbly tipped onto the bar by Butland.
Hughes brought on Peter Odemwingie and Stephen Ireland in place of Shaqiri and Afellay but it was Everton who finished the stronger of the sides with Lennon bursting past Wollscheid and Pieters before finding Lukaku in front of goal, but the striker was denied in quick succession by a Marc Muniesa block and another fine Butland save.
And after James McCarthy fired a powerful shot just wide of his goal, Butland - watched from the stands by his England boss Roy Hodgson - was called into action again, keeping out an effort from substitute Arouna Kone, who made his 50th Everton appearance.
Another impressive Butland performance would have been little consolation to Stoke manager Hughes, who saw his side draw a fourth consecutive blank in front of goal and extend their run without a league win to four games.
Paul Merson - Soccer Saturday Verdict
Today, everything clicked. I thought Everton were absolutely outstanding, from goalkeeper to Romelu Lukaku up front. They were good. Whatever Roberto Martinez says won't be over the top at all. They can say whatever they want, he can say whatever he wants.
Roy Hodgson is sitting there and thinking 'wow'. Lennon was good, he's a forgotten man but he took players on and Barkley was unbelievable. Hodgson will be looking on the other end and if we do meet Belgium and Lukaku's up front, he was an absolute handful again. When he left Chelsea, it was probably the right decision [by the club]. Sitting here, it was probably the worst decision they've made.
Stoke have lost their last three league games 3-0. The crowd were booing straight after the game. [Xherdan] Shaqiri got brought off, they booed. The fans weren't happy. They've had a terrible two weeks, gone out of both cups then lost 3-0. The £18m player [Giannelli Imbula] needs to understand what the Premier League is all about because today Gareth Barry and James McCarthy completely bossed it.
Stoke: Butland (8), Johnson (6), Wollscheid (5), Muniesa (5), Pieters (6), Whelan (6), Imbula (6), Shaqiri (6), Afellay (6), Arnautovic (6), Diouf (5).
Subs used: Ireland (5), Odemwingie (5), Joselu (5).
Everton: Joel (7), Oviedo (7), Funes Mori (8), Jagielka (8), Coleman (8), Barry (7), McCarthy (8), Cleverley (8), Barkley (9), Lennon (8), Lukaku (8).
Subs used: Kone (6), Mirallas (n/a), Osman (n/a).
Man of the Match: Ross Barkley