Lukaku, Everton rout West Brom, edge closer to sixth

From the worst home campaign in the club's history in 2015-16 to one in which only Tottenham and Chelsea have gained more points on their own ground, Everton's home form is perhaps the most noticeable of the immediate improvements made under manager Ronald Koeman.

Saturday's 3-0 stroll against West Brom signalled a fifth home league win in a row for the first time since a seven-game sequence in April 2014. Results at Goodison are the main reason behind the Toffees already equalling their points tally in each of the last two seasons (47).

The win opens up a seven-point gap between the two teams and allows Everton to focus on those above them, closing to within two points of Manchester United in sixth, albeit having played two games more.

Positives

After Tottenham ruthlessly exposed Gareth Barry's lack of mobility, it would have been easy for Koeman to drop the 36-year-old straight back to the bench. However, the Everton manager kept faith and his veteran midfielder turned in another fine display.

In the right environment, against teams who sit back and let Everton monopolise possession, Barry remains a valuable asset. His faultless passing range was evident throughout, attempting the most passes (88) and recording the best passing accuracy (90.9%).

Negatives

While not directly related to events of the pitch, the post-match news that James McCarthy has suffered another hamstring injury is a cruel setback for a player who seems unable to escape this recurring problem. Everton will also hope Leighton Baines recovers quickly from the back injury that forced him off at half-time.

Manager rating

8 -- While attracting criticism for failing to do likewise against Tottenham, Koeman picked a team well suited to matching and beating the opposition on this occasion.

Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Joel Robles, 7 -- Distributed the ball sensibly on the back of his error against Tottenham. Twice saved well from Nacer Chadli but spent much of the game watching his teammates in cruise control.

DF Seamus Coleman, 7 -- Afforded ample space out wide as Ross Barkley drifted in to occupy players, the Everton right-back spent much of the match on the front foot. One driving run and cross went unrewarded with teammates not alert to the opening as the ball flew across the six-yard box.

DF Phil Jagielka, 7 -- Strong in the air and defensively sound except for one loose pass toward his own goal, the club captain impressed on his first start since the 2-2 draw at Hull in December.

DF Ashley Williams, 7 -- A focused and determined presence when necessary, the Welsh captain relished and easily won his individual battle against international teammate Hal Robson-Kanu.

DF Leighton Baines, 6 -- Quiet but effective before injury curtailed his afternoon at the interval. A glimpse of his quality in possession saw a neat dribble and cross end with Lukaku glancing a header wide.

MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 7 -- This was much more like it after a rare off day last time out. Often linking with the attacking players, the midfielder capped a return to form with his first goal for the club, showing the type of footwork and finishing ability usually reserved for Lukaku.

MF Gareth Barry, 8 -- The legs are fading but his football brain still works like clockwork. Exquisite outside of the foot pass to Lukaku in the build-up to the second goal was worth the entrance fee on its own.

MF Ross Barkley, 8 -- Along with Lukaku's remarkable goalscoring, Barkley's recent performances are the heartbeat of Everton's revival since the turn of the year. An assist in successive league games for the first time since November 2015 points to his consistency and growing influence.

MF Tom Davies, 7 -- Advanced role is a poor fit for his style of play and showed in occasional heavy touches or slight misjudgements. Worked tirelessly without the ball, though, helping force West Brom back at every opportunity. His attitude is a marker for any young player trying to make the grade.

MF Kevin Mirallas, 7 -- After a pair of productive outings from the bench, an opportunistic strike to open the scoring underlined his ability in front of goal when given the chance.

MF Romelu Lukaku, 8 -- Superlatives for his current form are running out. Adding an assist and goal to his respective tallies, the Belgian striker has been directly involved in 24 Premier League goals this season (19 goals, 5 assists).

Substitutes

DF Ramiro Funes Mori, 6 -- Pressed into action in unfamiliar left-back role but seemed less panicky in possession. One or two ungainly moments in defence but generally recovered well.

MF Idrissa Gueye, N/R -- On in a more attacking role and almost added a fourth with a sharp turn and shot that thudded off the post.

MF Dominic Calvert-Lewin, N/R -- Youngster returned from injury and showed some good footwork and purposeful running in a late cameo.