Everton 3-1 Burnley: Barkley inspired Toffees cruise to victory

Everton recorded an eight consecutive victory as they cruised to victory against a Burnley side that have still not won on the road this season.

A brave first half from the visitors did not pay dividends as Ronald Koeman's side netted three goals in a much improved final 45 minutes.

Chances go begging for Vokes and Burnley

It had arguably been one of the most challenging weeks of Ross Barkley's career. Involved in an altercation last weekend with a member of the public and then strongly criticised by a journalist in a national newspaper, the young England international would have felt he had a point to prove against Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

Whilst others may have wilted under the watching eyes of the football World, Barkley showed his growing maturity as he produced an inspirational performance. He dominated the tempo of the game in the opening 45 minutes, touching the ball more than anybody else on the pitch, with 29 of those 55 taking place in the Burnley half.

Yet it was at the other end that Barkley made a vital contribution. As England teammate Michael Keane met a George Boyd corner, Barkley had positioned himself perfectly to make a goalline clearance with the scores tied on 17 minutes.

That opportunity for Burnley turned out to be the norm in the first half with the visitors creating the best of the chances despite having the worst away record in the Premier League. Striker Sam Vokes wasted two golden opportunities as he was thwarted by Joel Robles on both occasions. Everton's best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Mason Holgate who was kept out by Tom Heaton.

A crucial early clearance (photo: Getty Images)
A crucial early clearance (photo: Getty Images)

Barkley steals the show

The game was certainly open but needed goals to create the spark. It was to be that man Barkley who really got Everton moving. Barkley whipped in a corner just five minutes after the restart, picking out captain Phil Jagielka who forced the ball past Heaton for his third goal in as many games.

However, it was to be third time lucky for Vokes in his ongoing battle with Robles. The goalkeeper came flying out before clattering Vokes to give away a needless penalty. The Welshman stepped up to convert just Burnley's tenth away goal of the season.

Considering Everton had netted at least three goals in their last three home games, the point was certainly not secure for Burnley with plenty of time left. Kevin Mirallas hit the post before Barkley proved his influence again. Mirallas played the ball to the playmaker before firing a shot off Ben Mee and into the back of the net. Emotions poured out as Barkley was booked for celebrating on an advertising board but that would have been the last thing on his mind as he put to bed the demons of the week.

That was not the end for Barkley though as he created a defining goal for Romelu Lukaku. Barkley fed the Belgian who turned and powered home what was to be his 25th goal of the season, scoring in nine consecutive matches. A comfortable three points for Everton but more concerns on the road for their visitors.