Explained: How two of David Moyes' best Everton signings helped overpower Sunderland's 4-3-3

Coleman was superb for Everton
Coleman was superb for Everton
Have your say

David Moyes is often criticised for dwelling on former glories at Everton, but on Saturday afternoon some of his best work there was still clear for all to see.

Everton lined up in a 4-3-3, matched by Sunderland after illness saw Jason Denayer replaced by Fabio Borini, but the Black Cats were overpowered.

First and foremost it was because of their superior midfield, Idrissa Gueye demonstrating why former Leicester transfer supremo Steve Walsh felt he was a player who could genuinely go some way to emulating N'Golo Kante's extraordinary success.

His energy was remarkable, breaking up play, showing some good passing ability and breaking Sunderland's lines with late runs towards the box.

What also made a crucial difference was the way the Blues were able to exploit that platform through their pace and power in the wide areas.

Here, two of Moyes' best recruits, Leighton Baines and particularly Seamus Coleman, were superb and picked holes in Sunderland's defence.

It is worth dwelling on, because it highlights one of the major problems Moyes has had in trying to turn Sunderland into a competitive outfit this season.

The crucial midfield platform

Everton had 63% of possession on Saturday, a figure that was even higher in the first half.

Of course having the ball matters not if you don't use it to hurt the other side, but that control of the ball was key to getting Coleman in advanced areas.

Both sides lined up in a 4-3-3 but because of Gueye's energy and Davies' poise, Everton were able to camp in Sunderland's half and for the most part were essentially playing with a back three, Morgan Schneiderlin dropping in alongside Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori. With Borini and Januzaj, as well as Sunderland's three midfielders, pinned back and unable to get up the field, Jermain Defoe was an isolated attacker.

That encouraged Coleman and Baines to essentially play as auxiliary wingers, the former particularly aggressive in getting forward.

The clever use of Ross Barkley

Both sides played inside forwards off their main striker, Adnan Januzaj producing Sunderland's best moment of the game when he glided infield and teed up Jermain Defoe to hit the bar.

The Belgian was probably the Black Cats' best attacker, dispossessed occasionally but doing more than anyone to escape from tight spaces and pull Sunderland up the field.

Fabio Borini struggled to get into the game on the other flank and neither were able to provide the crucial defensive support for their full-backs behind them.

Ademola Lookman and Ross Barkley both drifted infield, understandably pulling Jones and Oviedo with them. It was that space that the full-backs attacked to stretch the play.

Sunderland had their warning when Gueye overlapped Lookman from midfield, his low shot just turned wide by Jordan Pickford's feet. The goal came from the opposite flank but a similar move. Davies launched a long ball probably meant for Ross Barkley, Oviedo following him infield. Coleman gambled and attacked the byline before Borini has spotted his run, crossing for Gueye to sweep home.

Not a lot to worry about defensively

So why was Coleman able to attack so aggresively?

This is where Sunderland's lack of counter-attacking threat came into play.

They were superb in this department against Crystal Palace but generally their lack of raw speed has cost them over the course of the season.

Januzaj had bright moments in the game but neither full-back had to worry about leaving space behind them. Sunderland were unable to transition from defence to attack with much pace, meaning that the Everton midfield trident could easily cover their full-backs if possession was lost with Coleman or Baines high up the field.

Clearly, Oviedo and Jones had no such luxury, stifling their attacking game.

So what can Sunderland change?

Patrick van Aanholt's speed is a miss but such was the level of his defensive application towards the end of his time on Wearside, you fear what would have happened if he'd gone up against Coleman.

Duncan Watmore is a big miss, too, his end product still requiring a lot of work but his pace always lingering at the back of the minds of the opposition defence.

The Black Cats largely have to go with what they've got, and hope that Jan Kirchhoff and Lee Cattermole returning to the midfield can let them get higher up the field. That might allow Oviedo to show off his attacking instincts more.