Everton v Blackburn
Louis Saha scored twice as Everton eased to victory against Blackburn Rovers to climb away from the Premier League's bottom three.
The Frenchman responded to his red card in Thursday's 4-0 win over AEK Athens by netting his fifth and sixth goals of the season before stand-in captain Joseph Yobo poked home his second in four days.
The brutal efficiency with which Everton have brushed aside Sigma Olomouc and AEK in Europe finally transcended into domestic competition and, in truth, it could have been more.
David Moyes was able to name John Heitinga in his starting line up for the first time as the Dutchman came in as one of three changes. The others saw Saha replace Jo as the lone man up front and Leon Osman return for the injured Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Lucas Neill, who only signed for the Club on Thursday evening, was not deemed fit enough to make the squad.
Instead, it was Heitinga who took over at right back and he who had Everton's first sight of goal. Twenty-yards out, his shot was ambitious and sailed high and wide.
It did, however, set the tone for a bright Everton start and, on four minutes, an Osman effort deflected off Christoper Samba and crawled agonisingly wide of Paul Robinson's left upright.
Another foray forward saw Tim Cahill dragged down in the box by Gael Givet and while the Australian's appeal was long, referee Lee Mason showed no interest.
Cahill would have felt an even greater sense of injustice had El-Hadji Diouf's header moments later dipped in at the Gwladys Street end rather than crashing against Tim Howard's crossbar.
The lead the Blues deserved finally came on 21 minutes - and it was close to a carbon copy of last week's opener at Fulham. Veteran Spaniard Michel Salgado felled Pienaar down Everton's left allowing Leighton Baines to whip a freekick between defence and near post. Seven days before this ploy had resulted in Cahill heading home; this time it was Saha who met the ball right-footed to steer emphatically beyond Robinson.
At Craven Cottage the goal had proved the catalyst for Fulham to launch a comeback which would see them walk away with all three points. With only that number to show from the first four Premier League games, Everton could ill-afford a repeat scenario.
It would have pleased Moyes then that within two minutes of edging ahead, Pienaar cut in from the left and fired an effort which was unconvincingly beaten away by Robinson.
Soon after Fellaini was guilty of blazing wildly into the stands following a breakaway, but the Belgian made amends nine minutes into the second half, crossing for Saha to climb above Diouf to head his second from six yards.
Pienaar's response was again to drive forward and force Robinson to palm the ball wide and, from the resulting corner, Yobo capitalised on Blackburn's hesitancy to stab in a third.
Everton's second win of the league campaign assured, a stinging shot from Diouf, spurned at full stretch by Howard, was the closest the visitors came to putting a blotch on the scoresheet.
Moyes could even afford to withdraw Saha wth 18 minutes remaining. It may have denied the Frenchman a hat-trick but seemed wise considering the rewards he appears to be reaping from the regular rests his manager has afforded him.
Osman may have added a fourth late on but his shot looped off a defender before dropping the wrong side of the bar. Pienaar, too, came close to grabbing the goal his performance deserved, only to be denied by a brilliant save from Robinson.
A second Premier League win on the board, the Blues are up to 13th in the table.
By Adam Clark