Mikel Arteta turns away after putting Everton ahead against Sunderland
Everton's impressive recent resurgence continued as they made it a losing start for Sunderland's new full-time manager Ricky Sbragia.
The inspirational Mikel Arteta gave Everton the lead with a free-kick after 10 minutes and quickly added a second with a deflected 20-yard shot.
Sunderland improved after the break but barely threatened Everton's defence.
And 18-year-old substitute Dan Gosling slid in his first goal for the club with seven minutes remaining.
It crowned an outstanding display by Everton, who have made light of losing a series of recognised strikers to step up their assault on a European place by recording only their second win at Goodison Park this season.
Sunderland ended the game well beaten as Sbragia got a graphic illustration of the size of the task ahead of him.
Everton - who had moved into sixth place with their Boxing Day victory at Middlesbrough - opened high on confidence and took the lead after 10 minutes when Arteta's dipping free-kick from 25 yards flew beyond keeper Marton Fulop.
Early goal was vital - Arteta
And only the late intervention of Kieran Richardson stopped Marouane Fellaini added a second after 26 minutes as he threatened to take advantage of a mix-up between Fulop and Danny Collins.
But it was only a brief reprieve as Everton doubled their lead seconds later, again through the outstanding Arteta.
The Spaniard's free-kick - awarded after Steed Malbranque had been booked for fouling Steven Pienaar - was blocked, but he fired the rebound past Fulop with the help of a deflection off Teemu Tainio.
Everton should have added a third when another Arteta set-piece left Tim Cahill unmarked with the simplest of headers only six yards out but the midfield man, normally so lethal in these positions, headed inches wide when it seemed easier to score.
Sbragia made a change at half-time, sending on Carlos Edwards for Malbranque, who was running the risk of a red card after his earlier booking.
And the Black Cats finally managed to threaten Everton after 65 minutes when Edwards drove in a low shot from 20 yards that was well held by keeper Tim Howard.
Sbragia rues 'silly' free-kicks
Everton sent on the highly promising Gosling and he crowned an excellent team display with their third eight minutes from time.
Lescott was allowed time to run into the area and his cross was side-footed home by the 18-year-old from close range.
Pienaar almost added a fourth for rampant Everton, and boss David Moyes will look back with satisfaction on two excellent wins over the holiday period.
Everton assistant manager Steve Round:
"The boys were fantastic. There was real energy, confidence and desire about that performance and it is great victory at home for our supporters.
"There is a magnificent team spirit and togetherness running right through the squad here. When young Dan Gosling came into the dressing room he got a standing ovation for scoring his first goal for the club.
"They work incredibly hard in training every day and they don't fear anyone. They go out and give it their best shot every time."
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia:
"In general we were second best all over the pitch. Everton were exceptional and we were a yard short.
"We said not to give anything away around the box, but we did that twice and were quickly two goals down - that made an extremely difficult afternoon even more difficult.
"The transfer window is coming up and we have earmarked a couple. We can also get Michael Chopra back from his loan spell at Cardiff so that will give us an extra body."
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Arteta, Osman (Gosling 69), Neville, Fellaini (Anichebe 77), Pienaar, Cahill (Jutkiewicz 86).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Van der Meyde, Rodwell, Kissock.
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