Premier League - Everton thump Stoke to go fourth

Premier League, Goodison Park – Everton 4 (Deulofeu 45, Coleman 49, Oviedo 58, Lukaku 79) Stoke 0

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Everton's Gerard Deulofeu celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game (PA Photos)

Everton thrashed Stoke City 4-0 to climb into the top four and move level on points with Merseyside rivals Liverpool.

After a frustrating opening 45 minutes, a subdued Goodison Park burst into life when Gerard Deulofeu lashed home the opener from close range after neatly exchanging passes with Steven Pienaar on the stroke of half-time.

And Deulofeu was involved again as Everton doubled their advantage, the Spaniard’s cross deflecting off the heel of Gareth Barry into the path of Seamus Coleman whose scuffed effort found the far corner.

Bryan Oviedo, deputising for the injured Leighton Baines, then lashed home from the edge of the area before teeing up Romelu Lukaku late on for Everton’s fourth.

Although Stoke fashioned a couple of chances to reduce the arrears, they were grateful to keeper Asmir Begovic who made a string of fine stops to prevent the hosts running riot.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas miss out. Bit of a surprise as Barkley, fresh from his exploits in the Merseyside derby, is dropped with Leon Osman coming in. Kevin Mirallas also takes his place on the bench as Gerard Deulofeu, on loan from Barcelona, is preferred.

26’ – SAVE: Osman cracks one at goal, it takes a deflection which alters the ball's flight, but Begovic is alive to the situation and makes a stunning one-handed save.

45’ – GOAL: Everton 1-0 Stoke: Deulofeu works the ball into Pienaar inside the penalty area. The ball bobbles kindly back into the path of the Spaniard and the on-loan Barca man lashes into the top corner from close range.

49’ – GOAL: Everton 2-0 Stoke: Deulofeu pops up on the left flank, his cross skids off the heel of Barry into the path of Coleman. The right-back slices his finish but it still loops into the far corner.

58’ – GOAL: Everton 3-0 Stoke: A corner is worked to the edge of the area, Oviedo cuts inside onto his right foot and unleashes a low shot past Begovic. Everton have been brilliant since the restart.

79’ – GOAL: Everton 4-0 Stoke: Far too easy for the Toffees as Oviedo rolls a ball across the face of goal where Lukaku waits to tap home. Are you watching, Jose?

KEY STATS

Everton remain unbeaten at home this year, and extend their streak to 16 home matches without defeat – they last did this between April 1999 and March 2000. (Infostrada)

Romelu Lukaku scores his 25th Premier League goal and his 8th for Everton – none of his league goals have come for his parent club Chelsea, despite playing in 10 matches for them. (Infostrada)

Stoke have conceded four goals in a Premier League match for the first time since a 4-0 home defeat v Chelsea on January 12th 2013. (Infostrada)

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TALKING POINT

Can Everton really launch a top-four challenge? With a host of teams vying for a spot in the Champions League, many have overlooked the blue half of Merseyside. But given Roberto Martinez can still emerge with the three points despite leaving out the likes of Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas, it shows their squad is up to the challenge. Maybe, just maybe, Everton can upset the Premier League giants and worm their way into the top four.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND DETAILS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gerard Deulofeu (Everton): Popped up all over the pitch and continuously ran at the Stoke defence, often tearing the visitors to pieces. The kid has a very bright future.

PLAYER RATINGS

Everton: Howard 6, Coleman 7, Oviedo 8, Distin 6, Jagielka 7, Deulofeu 9, Pienaar 7, Barry 7, McCarthy 7, Osman 8, Lukaku 7. Subs: Jelavic 6, Mirallas 7, Stones 6.

Stoke: Begovic 8, Cameron 5, Shawcross 6, Muniesa 4, Pieters 5, Walters 4, Whelan 5, Nzonzi 5, Adam 5, Assaidi 6, Crouch 5. Subs: Shea 6, Jones 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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