Everton 5 – 1 Hull
By Harry Reekie
Mikel Arteta scored twice as Everton reignited their quest for Europe and left Hull in the relegation zone.
The Spaniard volleyed home at the back post to open the scoring but then saw a Yakubu penalty saved by Boaz Myhill.
Teenager Tom Cairney equalised with a superb volley but a slotted second from Arteta and an own goal from Richard Garcia made it 3-1 to the hosts.
Landon Donovan came off the bench and slammed in a fourth before Jack Rodwell completed another fine move to seal it.
All that means the Tigers are still without an away win in the league this season and well and truly failed to put down the marker demanded by manager Phil Brown.
But the day belonged to Everton, and Arteta in particular.
The goals were the Spaniard’s first since returning from injury and served as a timely reminder of his quality and importance to Everton’s cause.
The victory – a sixth in succession at home – equals a club record in the Premier League and lifts the Toffees up to eighth, four points behind Aston Villa.
The game was not as dramatic as Everton’s recent home success against Chelsea and Manchester United but it is matches against the struggling sides that David Moyes’ team must win if they are to qualify for Europe once again.
Arteta’s form will be vital in that quest.
The result, meanwhile, will surprise few, particularly with such bleak omens for Hull coming into the match.
The Tigers have not won at Goodison Park since the days of rationing in 1952, although some early promise hinted that record could finally change.
Everton’s defenders played a hopeless offside trap, leaving Garcia through on goal but his dink was slapped away by an advancing Tim Howard.
That served as a wake-up call to Moyes’ side, who surged forward and came within a whisker of taking the lead.
Leon Osman robbed George Boateng in midfield and fed Yakubu but a calm finish from the Nigerian hit the base of the post.
Hull’s defending looked slugged though, and they failed to learn lessons from the let-off.
Yakubu delivered a hanging cross from the left and Arteta volleyed home superbly at the back post, although some slack defending from Everton old boy Barmby allowed the Spaniard all the time in the world.
Yakubu ruined things for the home fans shortly after from the spot though.
A cross from Leighton Baines deflected into the area and Kamil Zayatte crudely brought down the Nigerian from behind – although the defender may have got a trace of the ball.
But Yakubu’s lazy run-up never looked convincing and Myhill pulled off a simple save low to his right.
Hull wasted little time in taking advantage, as Cairney scored an excellent first Premier League goal.
A free-kick was only half cleared and the midfielder pounced with a wonderful left-foot volley from just outside the area.
It was a goal that will live long in the memory for the 19-year-old but Hull were unable to savour the strike for long.
Victor Anichebe crossed from the right to Steven Pienaar and a clever backheel fell perfectly for Arteta to pass home from 12 yards in style.
Everything the Spaniard touched was turning to gold, and goals, and it was no surprise who inspired Everton’s third after the break.
A chipped cross looped over Myhill and Garcia, almost laughably, headed into his own net.
The hosts should really have moved further ahead when a fine pass from substitute Donovan was sidefooted over the bar by Yakubu.
But Donovan showed the striker how it should be done, wrapping up victory with a powerful drive on the angle after another teasing cross from the impressive Baines.
Rodwell put the gloss on a fine display by firing home from Donovan’s pass late on.
Hull can be grateful at least for the return from injury of Jimmy Bullard but Brown’s side are still in the relegation zone. Much will rest on a trip to basement club Portsmouth next weekend.
Everton manager David Moyes:
“He (Arteta) did some fantastic stuff. He got into the box and he’s improving all the time.
“When he’s on form we’re a really good team.
“I was a bit worried when it went to 1-1. I thought it might be one of those days but thankfully we went on to win it.
“The first thing the kit man said (to Landon Donovan) was ‘that doesn’t make up for the one you missed at Tottenham last week’.
“I hope it’s not his last home game for the club. He will certainly play next week and I’ll try to extend his loan as well.
“But from what I’ve heard from America that doesn’t look likely at the moment.”