Romelu Lukaku's 19th Premier League goal of the season helped Everton beat West Brom 3-0 on Saturday in a win which saw them match their total points tally of 47 from last season, highlighting their marked improvement under Ronald Koeman.
Everton's display emphasised their increased solidity in defence since Roberto Martinez's departure, while there were no signs of that negatively impacting their effectiveness going forward as they equalled last season's record despite having 10 more games to play.
It did take them a little longer than they would have liked to open the scoring, but a brilliant six-minute spell at the end of the first half had Everton well on course to wrapping up a comfortable win, finally making the most of their superiority over a West Brom team which showed little attacking intent.
Kevin Mirallas got the first in the 39th minute, reacting quickest in the area before tucking away, with Morgan Schneiderlin then rounding off a fine first half with his first goal for the club.
511 - Morgan Schneiderlin has scored his first PL goal in 511 days, since netting against Everton for Man Utd at Goodison Park. Settled. — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 11, 2017
West Brom enjoyed a little more time on the front foot after the interval, but they never had Everton looking particularly uncomfortable.
And ultimately Everton sauntered to victory, as Lukaku struck late on to overtake his previous Premier League best of 18 goals in a single season to spoil Tony Pulis' 300th Premier League match as a manager.
Even from the early exchanges it looked set to be a long day for West Brom, as Everton started brightly and put their visitors under considerable pressure, though it took them 16 minutes to craft the match's first chance.
Gareth Barry tussled with Jake Livermore on the edge of the box and came out on top, before feeding Lukaku and he dragged a right-footed effort agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
Lukaku went close again just before the half-hour mark, escaping Jonny Evans in the area and heading off target after a great left-wing delivery from Leighton Baines.
But Everton finally found their range in the 39th minute.
Ben Foster failed to hold on to Ross Barkley's 20-yard effort and Mirallas was there to pounce, smashing home from close range.
And Schneiderlin doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time – prodding past Foster after latching on to Lukaku's precise reverse pass.
Sensing they had already wrapped things up, Everton looked to invite West Brom pressure early in the second half.
And the visitors did at least get a shot on goal six minutes after the break, but Joel Robles pushed away Nacer Chadli's 25-yard effort with relative ease.
Everton continued to look the more inventive in attack, though, and Barkley worried them just after the hour mark, shrugging off Gareth McAuley and rifling into the side-netting inside the area.
West Brom were finally finished off eight minutes from time - Lukaku rising to meet Barkley's cross and heading beyond the helpless Foster.
It almost got even worse for West Brom in stoppage time, but Idrissa Gueye's 20-yard strike came back off the right-hand post.
Key Opta stats:
- Everton have won five consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since April 2014 (a run of seven).
- West Brom haven’t kept a Premier League clean sheet on the road since the first game of the season at Crystal Palace, conceding in each of their last 13.
- Romelu Lukaku has been involved in 24 Premier League goals this season (19 goals, 5 assists) – only Alexis Sanchez has been involved in more (26).
- Ross Barkley has provided an assist in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since November 2015.
- This was Tony Pulis’ 300th Premier League game as manager. Of managers to reach the milestone, only Steve Bruce won fewer of his opening 300 (88, Pulis 95).