A blistering second half performance by Unai Emery’s men handed Everton their second straight defeat as Arsenal ran out 2-0 victors at the Emirates, pushing them up into 6th in the table.
In an open first half it was Everton who had the better of the chances and should probably have gone into the break with the lead. Richarlison tested Petr Cech whilst Lucas Digne forced a save from a free kick as Marco Silva’s men put on an impressive first half display. Petr Cech was then forced to make a one on one save as Theo Walcott broke through Arsenal’s back four but failed in putting the ball into the Arsenal net.
Arsenal’s forwards looked timid in the final third as they failed to get any clear cut chances in the first half. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang came closest for Arsenal as his misdirected cross was tipped onto the bar by Jordan Pickford, who was also forced to make a save from close range earlier in the half.
Both sides came out looking strong after the break but it was Arsenal who broke the deadlock. Alexandre Lacazette controlled Aaron Ramsey’s pass and finished superbly with a contender for goal of the month as his shot was guided into the top right corner. The Gunners then doubled their lead moments later as Ramsey assisted Aubameyang who finished calmly. However, the linesman failed to see that the Gabon international was blatantly offside and the two goal lead stood.
Everton did attempt to fight back in the last 20 minutes of play yet struggled to get anything going and big chances for the Toffee’s were minimal. Michael Keane met a Gylfi Sigurdsson set-piece and forced Cech to make a save low down to his right and substitute Cenk Tosun had an effort from long range saved by Cech once again. Despite this, they were unable to significantly test Arsenal after falling behind and never looked like scoring in the second half.
Arsenal look like a team beaming with confidence whilst Everton seem to look like a team running out of ideas. Based on the second half performances the Toffees deserved to lose the fixture but if they did take their first half chances, it could have been a different story.
Is VAR needed in the Premier League?
Last week saw VAR tested in the Premier League for the first time. All of the three o’clock kick offs used the new technology but the league have not yet used it in the Sunday fixtures. However, Aubameyang was at least a yard offside for the second goal and if VAR was present, the goal would have been struck off immediately. Surely the introduction of VAR to all Premier League games would prevent decisions as crucial as this from being missed. The game also had multiple penalty claims that were missed. Perhaps VAR is needed sooner rather than later.
Is Emery’s plan taking shape?
The win for the Gunners means that Arsenal have won their last four Premier League fixtures and five games in all competitions. Although they still possess a few defensive frailties, Emery’s side look strong going forward. Mesut Ozil has been impressive during their winning streak and goals are starting to come from all round the squad. After losing their first two games to Man City and Chelsea, Arsenal have improved drastically and are a side showing grit as well as playing nice football. What was most impressive about their win today was that after a poor first half in which their opposition played better, they managed to change things at half time and claim the three points.
What’s going wrong at Everton?
Whilst there have been defensive problems this season for Everton, today’s fixture highlighted their inability to score goals. Marco Silva played Dominic Calvert-Lewin instead of Cenk Tosun in the lone attacking role. However, the England Under-21 failed to create any significant chances. Everton’s second half performance was poor today and their wide men looked unable to get into the game. The Toffees may need to go back to the drawing board this week and prepare for their next fixture with a new game plan.
Man of the Match – Alexandre Lacazette
In a game that did not have any stand out performers, the Frenchman was Arsenal’s most lively player. He had chances in the first half and ultimately broke the deadlock with a fantastic finish that pretty much settled the game.