At home it seems, Everton have few equals. Nine successive home fixtures have now ended in their favour, with Romelu Lukaku scoring in each of them, to accomplish a feat last achieved by the legendary Dixie Dean, in 1934.
Lukaku’s 24th goal of the season, climaxed a turbo-charged period in the second period for the hosts which the Burnley manager Sean Dyche conceded had taken the game away from his team.
“They had three minutes where they turned up the heat,” said Dyche whose team were in the ascendency before half-time. By Saturday tea-time though, Ronald Koeman’s men had usurped Barcelona, or anyone else for that matter across the top five European leagues, as the most potent team at home, in 2017. Everton have not enjoyed a comparable run for 27 years. If they could only replicate that on their travels, they would be in exalted company indeed.
The afternoon had begun with the focus firmly fixed upon Ross Barkley. The 23 year-old, punched in a Liverpool bar last weekend, in what his solicitor described as an "unprovoked attack” was also the subject of an appalling article by Kelvin MacKenzie, in the Sun on Friday, that prompted Everton to follow Liverpool, in banning the newspaper from "from all areas of its operation" on Saturday morning.
Once those slurs were forgotten and the ground had marked the 28th anniversary of Hillsborough, Barkley, who like many of this team-mates was slow out of the traps gradually became more influential, delivering a memorable performance at both ends of the pitch.
Everton seized the initiative four minutes after the interval, when Phil Jagielka prodded his third goal in as many games but what Koeman lamented as a “stupid” challenge from Joel Robles on Sam Vokes, allowed the Welsh forward to restore parity from the penalty spot.
However, Barkley, who had earlier cleared Michael Keane's goal-bound header off the line then sparkled with a run and shot that saw the ball deflect off both Michael Keane and Ben Mee, as Everton reasserted their authority.
“What happened last week had a big impact for him, Koeman said. “I think he was focussed on football for the rest of the week. He was one of the team who started not well in the game and struggled to adapt to the way Burnley played. They were the better team and it took us thirty minutes and after that I saw the Everton that I like to see,” Koeman said.
Lukaku, settled matters three minutes later as Everton leapfrogged Arsenal and Manchester United to move up to fifth.