Phil Brown, the Hull City manager, was hoping the return of Jimmy Bullard would spark yet another mini-revival for his side but he was left admiring the brilliance of Everton's own returning midfield schemer yesterday. Making only his third league start of the season, Mikel Arteta pulled the strings brilliantly for Everton, scoring two first-half goals and turning architect for another as David Moyes' side racked up their biggest win of the season.
Brown will have been pleased Bullard appeared to come through unscathed after his 61-minute appearance but the result, and the nature of the performance, did little for his side's hopes of avoiding relegation. Everton, on the other hand, will fancy their chances of making a late surge for fourth spot, particularly if they retain this sparkling form, and no side will relishing going to Goodison Park. Manchester United and Chelsea have been beaten in recent weeks on Merseyside and Hull were no match for them yesterday.
Arteta put the hosts ahead after 17 minutes. Yakubu found space on the left and delivered a high cross for the Spaniard to divert in at the far post. Hull then struck back with a wonderfully-executed equaliser from Tom Cairney. Nick Barmby's free-kick was headed out by Phil Jagielka and the highly-rated teenager controlled on his chest before firing a left-footed half-volley across Tim Howard from 20 yards.
However, that goal represented the high watermark for the visitors. Arteta slotted his second goal with a well-placed finish minutes later and then created the third on 51 minutes, Myhill flapping at a cross under his own crossbar and the unsuspecting Garcia could do little to prevent the ball bouncing off his head and in. Landon Donovan, the American, smashed home a superb fourth and then teed up a fifth for Jack Rodwell.