Lukaku scores four in Everton rout, Reds rocked by Hull
Romelu Lukaku was simply unstoppable as the Belgium striker scored four times in Everton’s 6-3 thrashing of Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.
Lukaku struck after just 31 seconds at Goodison Park and Ronald Koeman’s team took full advantage of the early boost.
The 23-year-old’s quick-fire effort set the stage for a blizzard of goals as James McCarthy doubled Everton’s lead and Lukaku pounced again before half-time.
Josh King’s brace gave Bournemouth hope, but Lukaku hit two more in the closing stages to cap his memorable day.
The scoring still wasn’t finish, but Harry Arter’s consolation for Bournemouth and Ross Barkley’s sixth for Everton couldn’t steal the spotlight from former Chelsea star Lukaku, who now has 16 goals in all competitions this season.
With most fans just getting comfortable in their seats, Lukaku and McCarthy exchanged passes before the former curled home with a fine finish.
Lukaku’s effort beat David Unsworth’s 32-second effort against Fulham in March 2002 as the fastest Premier League goal in Everton history.
In the 29th minute, Lukaku twisted and crossed for McCarthy, who bundled home after his initial shot hit Steve Cook and rebounded off the Everton midfielder’s body.
Lukaku’s second in the 29th minute was a simple effort after a wayward pass by Simon Francis.
King scored twice from close range in the 59th and 70th minutes, but Lukaku ensured there would be no dramatic fightback.
He struck in the 83rd minute with an expertly taken finish for his hat-trick and grabbed his fourth one minute later to finish off the visitors.
Although Arter sneaked one in at the near post from close range in the 90th minute, Barkley wrapped up the scoring soon after to make it 17 points from Everton’s last seven matches.
Bournemouth are looking over their shoulder towards the relegation zone after a third defeat in their last four league games.
Eden Hazard’s exquisite strike inspired Premier League leaders Chelsea to a 3-1 victory over Arsenal that shattered their rivals’ title challenge, while spluttering Liverpool hit a new low in a 2-0 defeat at Hull.
Belgian winger Hazard left a trail of defenders in his wake to double Chelsea’s lead in the 53rd minute at Stamford Bridge.
Marcos Alonso had opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a contentious effort as the Chelsea defender clattered into Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin before heading home.
Cesc Fabregas rubbed salt into Arsenal’s wounds in the 85th minute when the former Gunners midfielder chipped into the empty net after a woeful miskick from ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Olivier Giroud’s stoppage-time goal was no consolation for third placed Arsenal, who trail Chelsea by 12 points with 14 games remaining.
It was Chelsea’s 16th win in their last 18 league games, prompting Blues boss Antonio Conte to hail the triumph as a significant moment in the title race.
“I consider Arsenal one of the six teams that can fight for the title. To put them 12 points behind is very important for us,” Conte said.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger fumed over Alonso’s opener, saying: “It was 100 percent a foul. It was even dangerous play.
“That doesn’t take anything away from the performance of Chelsea. They look solid and we needed to be better.”
Second placed Tottenham can close the gap to nine points with a victory at home to Middlesbrough later on Saturday.
At the KCOM Stadium, Liverpool fell behind in the 44th minute when Alfred N’Diaye took advantage of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s poor handling to bag a debut goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were finished off in the 84th minute when on-loan Everton striker Oumar Niasse raced clear to boost third bottom Hull’s survival bid.
Liverpool have won only once in their last 10 games in all competitions and will be knocked out of the top four if Manchester City avoid defeat against Swansea on Sunday.
– Goal rush –
Sunderland stunned their former boss Sam Allardyce with an incredible first half goal rush to demolish fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 4-0 at Selhurst Park.
David Moyes’ side drew first blood when Lamine Kone, signed by Palace chief Allardyce when he was in charge at Sunderland, swept home after Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey dropped a 10th minute free-kick.
The Black Cats were two up in the 43rd minute through Didier Ndong’s first goal for the club.
Jermain Defoe put the result beyond doubt with two goals in first half stoppage-time as one furious Palace fan to run onto the pitch to confront defender Damien Delaney.
Sunderland remain bottom of the table but they are now level on points with Palace, who drop to 19th place, and just two points from safety.
West Ham bounced back from their mauling against Manchester City with a 3-1 win at Southampton.
Thrashed 4-0 by City on Wednesday, Slaven Bilic’s team were behind again when Saints striker Manolo Gabbiadini scored on his debut in the 12th minute.
But Andy Carroll equalised two minutes later and Pedro Obiang put West Ham in the 44th minute before Mark Noble’s 52nd minute effort sealed the points.
Watford consigned 10-man Burnley to a seventh successive away league defeat with a 2-1 success at Vicarage Road.
The Clarets had Jeff Hendrick sent off in the sixth minute for a lunge on Jose Holebas and Watford went ahead through Troy Deeney in the 10th minute.
M’Baye Niang struck in first half stoppage-time and Ashley Barnes’ 78th minute penalty came too late for Burnley.
West Bromwich Albion beat Stoke 1-0 thanks to James Morrison’s sixth minute goal.