An inspired Gylfi Sigurdsson brace saw Everton return to Premier League action which a much needed three points after a 17 day lay off after three consecutive league losses.
The former Swansea City man put in a talismanic performance against his old rivals from South Wales overtaking Eiður Guðjohnsen as the highest scoring Icelandic player in Premier League history (57) whilst scoring his tenth and eleventh league goals of season. Relegation battlers Cardiff attempted to establish physical dominance on their own patch for the most of the first half, but it was the visitors that would draw first blood and head into half-time happy- Morgan Schneiderlin back in the Everton staring line-up, found Seamus Coleman in space down the right hand side to pull the ball back to an in space Sigurdsson firing his team into the lead against the Bluebirds, just as he had done in the reverse fixture in November.
A goal to the good, Marco Silva’s side came out for the second-half playing with the confidence the Portuguese manager had said to have deserted Everton during their spiralling form starting from December. Capitalising on a misplaced Cardiff City pass, substitute Bernard showcased a trademark tight-touched dribble past his man into an advanced position on the left- the subsequent ball into the centre was parried away by keeper Neil Etheridge but slammed in at the second time of asking by Sigurdsson doubling his tally for the evening.
Comfortable on the ball and playing with a purpose unlike fixtures gone by, Everton responded perfectly to the growing doubt over their capabilities as an attacking side. Idrissa Gueye in particular shone in the middle of the park producing improved decision making on the ball. None more so than in the dying embers of the game, the Senegalese international chested the ball past one blue shirt, put it through the legs of another man then split the Cardiff City defence in two with a fantastic through ball which left Dominic Calvert-Lewin with the keeper to beat, a clinical finish for his fifth of this campaign and a cherry on top of the cake for Marco Silva’s Everton. A huge, much needed boost in morale and confidence as Sunday’s Merseyside Derby awaits.
Shots on target: 0-4