Five-Star Everton Topple Baggies

Carlo Ancelotti’s countenance was one of a man who had seen it all before.

James Rodriguez had just sent a shot from 25 yards on an unerring path into the corner of goal and, for the man at Everton who knows him best, this was business as usual.

Colombian James was bought from Real Madrid to do this sort of thing.

The game was poised, Everton having steadily clawed their way back on terms after being stunned by Grady Diangana’s fine 10th-minute strike.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s clever equaliser arrived on 31 minutes. And James sensed it was time to go for the kill.

Richarlison was good in the build-up, the Brazilian powerfully riding a challenge from Semi Ajayi.

It is a measure of James’ quality that Richarlison thought nothing of giving the ball to his fellow South American with four opposing players around him.

James had one touch to create the shooting opportunity he wanted and fairly rifled the ball low into goalkeeper Sam Johnstone’s left corner.

The player – with “one of the most feared left feet in world football”, according to Joe Cole, analysing the game for television – gleefully sped off to celebrate his first Everton goal.

Ancelotti lifted both arms but dropped them just as quickly. He has signed the player three times. He knows James.

Ancelotti is getting to know Calvert-Lewin, too.

The manager happily expounds on the forward’s myriad qualities. What he wanted from Calvert-Lewin this term was a more clinical penalty-box touch.

How about this, then? A hat-trick to follow last week’s clincher at Tottenham.

Calvert-Lewin is scoring his Premier League goals this season at a rate of one every 40 minutes.

At 2-2 following Matheus Pereira’s free-kick two minutes after half-time Everton got angry.

West Bromwich were one man down following Kieran Gibbs’ red card in first-half stoppage time and, in the view of this confident Everton team, there for the taking.

Perhaps one day Ancelotti will react to Michael Keane’s goals as he does when James nets.

Centre-back Keane scored in midweek against Salford City and here he restored Everton’s advantage on 54 minutes.

Lucas Digne whipped over a free-kick similar to the one which created Calvert-Lewin’s winner at Tottenham.

Richarlison was first to this one, heading on target. Johnstone  saved but only succeeded in shoving the ball into a scrum of bodies, from which Keane emerged to force home.

Calvert-Lewin’s second goal came after James and Richarlison connected quite beautifully, the former’s chipped ball fed into his teammate’s forward run.

Richarlison guided across goal on the volley and Calvert-Lewin slid in to score.

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02:26

HAT-TRICK HERO CALVERT-LEWIN ON 'MASSIVE' WIN

Striker reflects on first treble for Everton.

More from James on 66 minutes, arcing over a corner from the left.

More from Calvert-Lewin, rushing into space on the edge of the six-yard box to convert and claim the match ball. It was fabulous from the 23-year-old who gets better by the week.

Everton had turned the game on its head following James’ 45th-minute goal.

Another reversal came in the shape of the VAR working in Everton’s favour.

The Blues have had a rough deal from the system since its introduction in time for last season.

But when Calvert-Lewin’s first strike was initially scrubbed off replays showed the offside decision was incorrect.

Richarlison’s headed contact on Seamus Coleman’s cross diverted off Darnell Furlong – the West Brom player’s touch was not obvious and missed by linesman Darren Cann – to alight with Calvert-Lewin.

The striker had his back to goal but improvised to back-heel over the line from six yards. Furlong’s inadvertent involvement had kept the Everton man onside.

James’ goal evidently bothered Gibbs, who, on his next coming together with the attacker, aimed a shove in his opponent’s face.

Gibbs was red carded and manager Slaven Bilic received a similar punishment for confronting referee Mike Dean on the pitch following the half-time whistle.

In truth, it felt as if the momentum had swung completely following West Brom’s early breakthrough.

Certainly, the away team needed something quickly after the restart to avoid falling away.

It didn’t necessarily appear imminent wen they were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out two minutes after the break.

Everton’s towering four-man wall added to the complexity of Matheus Pereira’s task.

The midfielder, though, was faithful to his Brazilian heritage with a tremendous strike which zipped into Jordan Pickford’s top-left corner.

It was the game’s third exquisite left-foot strike - and there would have been a fourth but for Digne’s free-kick clipping the top of the bar on 65 minutes.

Thirty-five minutes before James’ intervention it was Diangana producing something exceptional.

The forward collected the ball in his own half, Callum Robinson’s touch defeating Everton’s press, and progressed through the middle.

Entering shooting range and short of support, Diangana went it alone with a drive which dipped inside Pickford’s left post.

The busy Diangana had drawn a low stop from Pickford with the game 25 seconds old.

Everton responded with an off-balance  Calvert-Lewin heading narrowly off-target after escaping Furlong to meet a James corner.

The game was more open than Ancelotti would perhaps have wanted but it was a terrific spectacle.

Richarlison hooked wide as Everton sought an instant response to Diangana’s goal and Calvert-Lewin’s effort on the spin after 15 minutes was deflected behind.

Johnstone had saved comfortably from Allan’s 35 yarder when Robinson, from distance, forced Pickford into a tumbling stop to his right.

There was a critical moment on 22 minutes.

Everton were still clearing their heads following the unexpected blow inflicted by Diangana when West Brom were the width of a post from levelling.

Jake Livermore timed his run into the box to control and shoot in one motion from Furlong’s cross but the midfielder’s effort crashed into the woodwork on Pickford’s right.

Richarlison – who would have a thudding late strike scratched off for offside – was off balance when he thrashed wide after being fed by Andre Gomes.

Everton might have begun to wonder about their prospects at this juncture.

But there is a climbing belief in Ancelotti’s team over what they can achieve.

A couple of searching Digne throws caused West Brom to wobble.

Calvert-Lewin and James caused the away team to feel unsteady on their feet.

And just after they regained their footing via Pereira’s excellent strike, along came Keane and the biggest bully of all, Calvert-Lewin, to knock West Brom clean out.

Substance And Style

West Bromwich Albion asked Everton an awful lot of questions.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side came into this game following successive victories to nil and well off for confidence.

Their opponents, though, arrived at Goodison Park to play in the manner of a team used to winning following last season’s promotion campaign.

Equally, if Everton upset a few predictions winning at Tottenham Hotspur six days ago, they were expected to win this.

Ancelotti insisted his side was ready to accept that pressure and Everton did a good job of validating their manager’s words.

They rode the early blow of going one down to Grady Diangana’s goal, feeling their way back in before turning around the scoreline through Dominic Calvert-Lewin and James Rodriguez.

Not a lot comes easy in the Premier League, though.

Every team contains players capable of conjuring up something spectacular.

In Diangana and Matheus Pereira West Brom have two of them.

And when Pereira expertly guided in his dead ball from 25 yards immediately after the interval, Everton were rocked onto the back foot – West Brom down to 10 men or not.

The Blues’ response was as emphatic as they come.

“What a performance,” sounded Joe Cole on television.

“It was a privilege to watch”.

From Owen Hargreaves: “This Everton team is the real deal, they are going places”.

From 2-2 on 54 minutes, Everton were 5-2 up with 26 minutes remaining.

This victory was entirely different in look and feel from last week’s more prosaic, controlled win at Tottenham.

Already, this Everton side looks much more than a one-dimensional unit.

They boast some fabulous footballers and, you imagine, will only become more fluid and adaptable with time.

Here, we got the first glimpse of how Everton will react in adversity.

Everything went swimmingly at Spurs, and against when Salford came to Goodison for a Carabao Cup tie in midweek, but West Brom backed their hosts into a corner more than once.

The ability to solve problems counts for as much as technical quality, One without the other can take you only so far.

DCL Everton's Man Of The Moment

The secret to becoming more ruthless in front of goal, asserted Dominic Calvert-Lewin this week, belongs in “never getting sick of hitting the back of the net”.

"Whatever the situation, in training or during a match, try to hit the target," he maintained.

So when Calvert-Lewin suspected he was offside as the ball dropped at his feet on 31 minutes the striker found a way to score regardless.

Any questions over the validity of the goal could come later.

It was a terrific finish, too, Calvert-Lewin with his back to goal applying a forceful back heel to turn the ball home.

The VAR got busy, checking all angles, and when it came to light defender Darnell Furlong and not Richarlison – as it appeared on first sight – nudged the ball forwards, Calvert-Lewin had his reward.

It was a goal, too, which Everton could legitimately claim they deserved.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side had overcome the shock of going behind to Grady Diangana’s excellent strike and were progressively applying the squeeze on West Brom.

It still needed someone to apply a decisive touch, though.

And, just as he did when thundering in a header to crown a period of Everton dominance at Spurs six days earlier, it was Calvert-Lewin who stepped up.

In the same interview this week, Calvert-Lewin pointed to the parallels between his own development and that of fellow 23-year-old Richarlison.

And when the two men combined for Everton’s fourth goal, Calvert-Lewin ticked over to 27 Premier League goals, one ahead of Richarlison’s Everton total.

Again, it was the type of goal strikers love scoring. Calvert-Lewin was on the move as soon as James Rodriguez flipped a ball over the top for Richarlison and arrived on cue to stab home his second of the game.

His hat-trick strike was the result, reckoned former Everton defender Martin Keown, of seeing James' floated corner and “wanting it more than anybody else”.

Indeed, Calvert-Lewin was relatively unchallenged as he connected six yards out to defeat goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

He has four from two appearances to begin this season at the startling rate of one every 40 minutes.

Manager Ancelotti wanted Calvert-Lewin to sharpen up in the penalty box this term and will surely be thrilled with his player’s response.

Coleman In For The Long Haul

The latest reminder of Seamus Coleman’s remarkable longevity came with Everton’s right-back reaching the milestone of 250 Premier League starts against West Brom today.

Inside five minutes Coleman had embarked on one of his characteristic surges to win Everton a corner – and chased down the visitors’ Grady Diangana after giving away a yard to the rapid winger.

The 31-year-old was prominent when Everton equalised. He looked up to see Kieran Gibbs on his toes after receiving possession 18 yards from goal.

Coleman burst past Gibbs and stood up the cross which eventually fell for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to convert.

Full-back Coleman publicly acknowledged following Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment that Everton’s players had a fight on their hands to figure in the new manager’s plans.

It shouldn’t surprise us to see Coleman very much part of what is steadily shaping into Ancelotti’s team after the additions of James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan.

Ancelotti had no qualms about confirming Coleman’s inclusion on the eve of this fixture.

If that was an unusual step inside the guarded gates of Premier League football, then what of Ancelotti’s insistence Coleman can go on until he is 40?

From the man who took charge of AC Milan when Paolo Maldini had not long turned 33 and kept picking the brilliant defender for the next seven-and-a-half seasons – and had Alessandro Costacurta in his Milan side until the centre-half quit aged 41 – it was a notable aside.

Coleman’s Premier League tally would be higher but for the leg injury he sustained in March 2017.

He made his 187th top-flight start when coming back with an improbably energetic performance against Leicester City the following January.

Coleman subsequently admitted quietly enjoying the challenge of returning to peak condition.

He has adopted the same bright outlook to convincing Ancelotti the Irishman is one to count on as the ex-Real Madrid boss oversees what he views as an “evolution” at Goodison Park.

If anything, Coleman’s competitive edge is sharpening in his early thirties.

The Irishman positively bristles following a poor result. In the professional satisfaction he gleans from victory, as opposed to any visible excitement, he shares a trait with countryman Roy Keane.

It is testament to how Coleman – initially predominantly recognised for his forward raiding – has matured into a fabulous defender that Ancelotti employed him in a back-three on occasion last term.

Back in his more familiar right-back role, Coleman suffocated Tottenham Hotspur’s express attacker Heung-min Son last week, employing his positional sense and strength to counter the Korean’s pace and agility.

Diangana was a comparably tricky proposition but Coleman handled the 22-year-old very well – the ex-West Ham player switched infield to score his goal.

Additionally, we saw much more from Coleman as an attacking force here after a more considered approach at Spurs.

The defender's run past Gibbs and ensuing cross led to Everton's equaliser and he operated with similar ambition all afternoon.

Coleman embarked on a match-high four dribbles and sent over five crosses, the third highest total of any player on the field.