Ronald Koeman marked his 100th game as a Premier League manager in style as Romelu Lukaku inspired Everton to a thrilling 6-3 victory over Bournemouth.
Eddie Howe’s side inflicted Koeman’s first league defeat as Everton boss back in September, and the dramatic 3-3 draw at the Vitality Stadium last term was typical of the Toffees’ defensive woes under Roberto Martinez.
Bournemouth looked well beaten by half-time at Goodison Park, though, Lukaku having put the hosts ahead 30 seconds in before teeing up James McCarthy for his first goal of the season in the 23rd minute.
Simon Francis’ calamitous error enabled Lukaku to double his tally with just under 30 minutes played, but Josh King’s brace hauled Bournemouth back into proceedings after the interval.
30 – Romelu Lukaku has scored the joint-fastest Premier League goal of the season (30 seconds) – level with Pedro vs Man Utd. Blocks.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 4, 2017
Yet Bournemouth’s resilience was finally ended late on, Lukaku sealing his second hat-trick of the season before adding a fourth – and Everton’s fifth – moments later.
Neither side were finished there, though, Harry Arter clawing one back for the visitors prior to Ross Barkley tucking in Everton’s sixth in stoppage time to cap another remarkable meeting between the two sides.
McCarthy was one of three changes Koeman made from the draw at Stoke City, and he wasted no time in repaying his manager’s faith as Everton raced ahead inside a minute.
Republic of Ireland midfielder McCarthy regained possession in combative fashion before finding Lukaku, who duly curled a sublime strike into the top-left corner – the joint-quickest goal in the Premier League this season.
That goal set the tone for Everton, and they very nearly had a second soon after – full debutant Ademola Lookman dragging a strike wide after getting the better of Arter.
Everton did not have to wait too long to double their lead though, Lukaku turning provider in fortuitous circumstances as his pull back was bundled home by McCarthy.
Bournemouth gifted Everton a third soon after – Lukaku pouncing upon Francis’ wayward back-pass before dinking a delicate finish over the onrushing Artur Boruc.
Both goalkeepers were called into action prior to the interval, Boruc reacting sharply to deny Seamus Coleman before Joel Robles parried away Steve Cook’s venomous strike.
Robles was beaten after the restart, though – King nudging in after latching onto a fantastic Jack Wilshere pass.
McCarthy should have immediately restored Everton’s three-goal cushion, but his hesitation allowed Boruc to make a fine save, with Lookman unable to finish on the follow-up.
And Everton were made to pay for that miss when King hit home once more from point-blank range, setting up a manic final 20 minutes.
Arter brought a superb stop out of Robles as Bournemouth rallied, but it was Lukaku who all-but wrapped up the points when he sealed his hat-trick – the 300th in Premier League history – with a brilliant volley.
Lukaku soon had his fourth, calmly slotting past Boruc after getting on the end of Barkley’s pass.
Arter managed to snatch a third for Bournemouth as full-time approached, even though the ball had gone out of play in the build-up, though the final say belonged to Barkley when he raced through in the last minute of stoppage time.
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