Arsenal come from behind to thrash Everton
Arsene Wenger unleashes potent forward line of Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette as Gunners ease to victory at Goodison Park
22 October, 2017 — By Richard Osley
Summer signing Alexandre Lacazette found the net
FA Premier League
EVERTON 2 (Rooney 12, Niasse 93+2)
ARSENAL 5 (Monreal 40, Ozil 53, Lacazette 74, Ramsey 90, Sanchez 90+5)
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger unleashed Alexandre Lacazette alongside Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil for the first this afternoon (Sudnay), and reaped the rewards with a confident away win at Everton.
The attack-minded starting XI created chance after chance and deserved to leave Goodison Park with all three points, despite a hiccup in the opening half which saw the Toffees steal into the lead through Wayne Rooney.
Rooney has now scored more goals against Arsenal than any other Premier League club during his illustrious career. Todaym he stoked memories of how he had beaten David Seaman as a teenager, still in an Everton shirt, by sweeping the ball beyond Petr Cech with a curling strike on 12 minutes.
Going behind was a tough blow for Arsenal who even in the first ten minutes had seen two or three half-chances to score and had begun with the sort of purpose and drive which has been missing in some of their other away fixtures this season.
They had to wait until shortly before half time to get level when Everton keeper Jordan Pickford parried Granit Xhaka’s long shot and Nacho Monreal – a rare scorer – powered in the rebound. Pickford went onto ship five goals in total, which was unfortunate given how many he had stopped from going in. He was key in ensuring the teams went in at level at half time.
Arsenal, however, picked up where they left off after half time and were soon in front. Sanchez teased the Everton back line before crossing to Mesut Ozil, who flicked his header past Pickford with precision rather than power. The Gunners were in control and did not need the extra assistance of Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye getting himself sent off with more than 20 minutes left to play. Already on a yellow card, he clattered, late, into Xhaka and gave referee Craig Pawson little option but to dismiss him. From then, the Arsenal victory never looked in doubt.
Gaps were appearing when Lacazette smashed in number three, helped out by the enthusiastic Aaron Ramsey bounding clear. Ramsey got a goal of his own just as 90 minutes ticked over, finishing well after being slid in by sub Jack Wilshere, the figure who the fans obviously want to be starting matches again now. They chant his name while he sits on the bench.
Ronald Koeman appeared to be seen questioning why five minutes of injury time was added on with his team 4-1 down to the fourth official. His striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin had been bloodied and down for a long time in the second half. The stoppage meant there was enough time for a five goal match to become a seven goal one.
First Monreal and Cech bungled their passing in comic fashion to hand Oumar Niasse an empty net to fill. With the last kick of the game, however, Sanchez fired in a goal he had been chasing all afternoon by dancing around two defenders and angling a drive past Pickford.
“It was a mental test but we kept going, we kept our focus and slowly the quality of our movement, the quality of our passing gave Everton problems,” said Wenger afterwards. “After that, with the offensive strength we have, of course that made the difference.”
But what about Ozil, and the reports suggesting that, for all his enthusiasm and zip today, could soon be joining rivals Manchester United?
Wenger said: “We live in an environment where we have to deal with the news and the players and myself have only always one response, which is what’s happening on the football pitch. When you see Mesut on the football pitch like he is today, enjoying his game like he is today, it’s difficult to believe these kind of things.”
EVERTON: Pickford, Kenny, Baines, Williams (Davies), Jagielka, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Vlasic, Rooney (Lookman 74), Calvert-Lewin (Niasse 75)
Subs not used: Klaasen, Robles, Martina, Mirallas
ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil (Coquelin 82), Sanchez, Lacazette (Wilshere 77)
Subs not used: Giroud, Macey, Holding, Iwobi, Walcott