Everton produced a brilliant performance to stun Manchester City and deliver a serious blow to Pep Guardiola’s Premier League title hopes.
The Toffees willingly soaked up 71% of City possession but restricted Guardiola’s side to few chances and scored with four of just six attempts at goal.
Romelu Lukaku coolly side-footed in a Kevin Mirallas cut-back and the Belgium internationals combined again after the break, Mirallas drilling Lukaku’s through-ball across the keeper.
Tom Davies sent Goodison Park into raptures on just his second league start by dinking a third over Claudio Bravo and £11m debutant Ademola Lookman fired between the legs of the keeper in injury time.
Goals from the two teenagers left Everton boss Ronald Koeman visibly elated, while Guardiola cut a frustrated figure, remonstrating with the fourth official late on in what is his heaviest ever league defeat as a manager.
City lacked cutting edge throughout, though had Davies not headed a looping Bacary Sagna header off the line before half-time, they may not have gone on to suffer a fifth league defeat of the season.
They stay fifth, 10 points off leaders Chelsea, while Everton remain seventh.
What a difference a week makes. After FA Cup defeat to Leicester last weekend an angry Koeman demanded the club’s hierarchy “opened its eyes”.
The £24m signing of Morgan Schneiderlin lifted some gloom but the roars for his 65th-minute appearance from the bench were dwarfed by the noise in injury time when Lookman, newly arrived from Charlton, made his mark.
Koeman was bold in starting with Davies and 20-year-old defender Mason Holgate, but pragmatic in his game plan. City have had over 50% of the ball in every league outing this season but Everton sat and soaked up possession comfortably.
Leighton Baines slid in to deny Raheem Sterling an opening early on and, Davies’ header off the line apart, the home goal never looked under serious threat.
The Toffees ran further and produced more sprints than the visitors, while with the ball they were direct, springing attacks through Lukaku, who proved a handful for City’s ragged back four.
Davies ran further than anyone on the pitch and released Mirallas in the build-up to the opening goal, before being involved in the second and cleverly chipping in the third after a driving run from his own half.
Schneiderlin could threaten the 18-year-old’s place but Koeman will welcome such a selection dilemma.
The Dutchman knows his team are far from a finished article but this win showed all they could be.
Soft-centred City pose questions for Pep
“It looks like the title challenge is beyond City,” BBC Radio 5 live pundit Kevin Kilbane said at the end of match where the visitors’ soft centre was all too apparent and clinically exploited.
After 10 games of the season Guardiola’s side topped the table on 23 points, but 11 matches later they are well adrift.
The warning signs were there in those opening 10 games, where City kept two only clean sheets.
Their defensive predicament has continued and at Goodison Everton’s direct balls repeatedly took the City midfield out of the game, exposing a back four which seemed to have little understanding as a unit.
Vincent Kompany’s persistent injuries have created a hole in the heart of defence that John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have been unable to fill with authority, while in central midfield, Pablo Zabaleta’s performance was robust but his quality on the ball is no substitute for the silky Ilkay Gundogan.
Zabaleta had played 30 passes by the time he went off on the hour, 40 fewer than Yaya Toure.
Individual mistakes also proved costly. Toure took a heavy touch for Everton’s killer second goal, while Gael Clichy sloppily lost possession for the first.
City have now conceded more goals than any other in the top seven, while goalkeeper Bravo has been beaten by 14 of the last 22 shots on target.
Guardiola has answers to find.