Everton produced a thrilling display to outclass a woeful Manchester United at Goodison Park and expose all the problems facing Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United face a fight to secure a Premier League top-four place and Champions League football next season after 90 minutes which were little other than torture against a rampant Everton.
United goalkeeper David de Gea had saved superbly from Richarlison before the Brazilian hooked in an acrobatic 13th-minute volley to set the tone for a magnificent display from Marco Silva’s side.
De Gea was beaten by Gylfi Sigurdsson’s low 25-yard drive, going down late, as Everton took total control.
Everton did not let up after the break, Lucas Digne scoring from long range after De Gea punched out a corner, before substitute Theo Walcott ran clear on to Sigurdsson’s pass to slide home the fourth.
United have lost six of their past eight games in all competitions, while a fifth successive away defeat – for the first time since 1981 – leaves them facing the prospect of Europa League football next season.
‘That was not worthy of a Man Utd team’ – Solskjaer apologises to fans
Everton in devastating form
Everton are on a hot streak at Goodison Park but this can rank alongside the finest displays seen at the famous old stadium in many seasons.
Yes, much will be made of United’s obvious deficiencies, but it would be a gross injustice to ignore a magnificent performance from a side who have drawn with Liverpool and beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and United in their past four home games without conceding a goal.
Everton swarmed all over United from the first whistle and there was never a moment when they looked like relinquishing control.
Silva’s pressing approach saw United harassed mercilessly for 90 minutes, but this was not simply about work-rate – Everton were full of skill, pace and athleticism.
Idrissa Gueye was the fulcrum in midfield while Sigurdsson and the gifted Brazilian Bernard were the creators-in-chief from first to last.
There may have been some doubts expressed about Silva’s position not so long ago, but this blistering run of home form – and a style which will win full favour from Everton’s fans – surely means he will be given time to build, as he should.
United were reduced to being ironically cheered by their own supporters for merely stringing three passes together with Everton 4-0 up and in cruise control.
And, yes, it was that bad.
Solskjaer’s side were quite simply over-run and did not even show the heart or fighting spirit to escape from a joyous Goodison with any dignity on a desperate day.
There was simply nothing good about this United performance. Indeed, given Everton’s superiority, they were fortunate the scoreline did not have an even more embarrassing appearance.
Paul Pogba strolled around midfield while Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson snapped into challenges, and it was a nightmare return to Everton for striker Romelu Lukaku.
Taunted throughout, he could not do a thing right and his afternoon simply went from bad to worse.
He was not alone. De Gea may have saved well from Richarlison early on but he was slow to react to Sigurdsson’s shot and it was his punch that fell at Digne’s feet to score. The Spain keeper is having a mixed season.
It was five years ago to the day since a 2-0 loss here ended David Moyes’ reign – and this United performance was even worse than that.
Solksjaer has inherited a mess, the early gloss from his arrival has worn off and players like Pogba and Lukaku, who were revived after Jose Mourinho was sacked, look back to their bad old ways.
Now there is the small matter of the derby against title-chasing Manchester City at Old Trafford on Wednesday.