Lukaku and Barkley display skills in the second round of this year’s English Premier League campaign, while The Saints go back to the drawing board
Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley starred for Everton yesterday afternoon as Roberto Martínez’s men defeated Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s for their first win of the new Premier League campaign. Lukaku grabbed a first-half double in a highly entertaining match before Barkley added a third in the closing stages to cap off a lethal attacking display from the Toffees.
Everton looked dangerous early on and had a penalty appeal within the opening five minutes when Lukaku was fouled by Matt Targett just outside the box, earning himself an early yellow card.
The Saints got their first real effort on goal in the 20th minute when Sadio Mané broke into the box and flashed his shot across goal, but it was Everton that benefited from the resulting corner kick.
The Toffees counterattacked from within their own box, working it out to Arouna Koné on the right flank, and the Ivorian’s cross found Lukaku, who buried his header past Maarten Stekelenburg to put the visitors ahead.
Everton continued to make chances after taking the lead, with Lukaku at the centre of play. The big Belgian dribbled his way into the box and cut it back for Barkley, who should have scored from just inside the area and with plenty of space but could only produce a weak effort that was easily held.
Lukaku then doubled their advantage just before half-time, again through a counterattack. This time it was Barkley driving towards the Southampton box and feeding the former Chelsea forward, who took it in his stride and made no mistake with a clever finish past Stekelenburg to hand them a healthy lead at the break.
Both sides looked sharp again in the second half without creating many clear-cut opportunities. For Southampton, Graziano Pellè and Mané both provided some ambitious efforts on goal and a general attacking outlet, while Lukaku and Barkley continued to raid the Saints defence at the opposite end of the pitch.
That pressure paid off again for the Toffees late on, when Barkley picked up the ball on the edge of the box, cut in past his marker and on to his right foot before curling an effort in at the far post to wrap up the points for Martínez.
The Toffees boss will be happy to leave the south coast with something to show after succumbing to defeats the last two times they travelled to St Mary’s. They also have their two most dangerous attacking players in scoring form as Lukaku and Barkley both have two goals to their name already while the team takes second place in the table, albeit for a brief period, with several more fixtures to come over the remainder of the weekend.
Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman can take comfort in the fact that he also started last season with a loss and draw and still went on to qualify for the Europa League.