Arsenal’s fourth win on the trot has surely been the most satisfying one yet. Alexandre Lacazette & Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scored the goals that got 3 points but surely it was Petr Cech’s imperial performance in goal that sees the Red & White half of North London level on points with their Lilly-white neighbours. Marco Silva’s men were kept at bay in the first half but an energized display by the Gunners meant that the Toffees went home empty-handed.
Unai Emery handed Lucas Torreira his first start in the Premier League but Everton were running rampant in the initial exchanges of the game. Skipper Cech was forced to make crucial saves from very early on. Richarlison – back from him 3 match suspension – was a menacing factor while Arsenal old boy Theo Walcott was trying his best to make his return to the Emirates impactful. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin & Lucas Digne were making life difficult for the home side but they weren’t able to put one past the Arsenal Captain.
Gradually Arsenal started launching into attacks with Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil & Granit Xhaka – who was making his 100th appearance for the Gunners – chipping away at the Everton defence. Chances were being squandered as Hector Bellerin attempted to whip in crosses with Nacho Monreal being his usual, dependable self in an attack. An injury to Sokratis did disrupt some flow on the game – who was substituted in the 38th minute for Rob Holding. Despite having wave after wave of attack – the Gunners had nothing to show for as the game went into halftime.
The second half saw both squads unchanged – despite Walcott emerging with a swollen eye. But edged on by a larger, more vocal crowd than the one which turned up on Thursday’s Europa League game – Arsenal grew sharper in attack & slicker in possession. The build-up was solid & the Holding’s steady presence along Shkodran Mustafi meant Everton weren’t able to cause many issues. Ramsey offered a clean, simple assist to Lacazette after Torreira’s innovative interception and the Frenchman curled in an absolutely beautiful shot in the top corner past a flailing Jordan Pickford.
Buoyed by the goal, Arsenal kicked into a higher gear and yet another brilliant counter-attack – and some genuinely shoddy refereeing – saw Aubameyang make the most of a Ramsey slip to poke in the second goal in two minutes. Clearly, the stress was lifted & the Gunners celebrated lavishly as it seemed the wind had been blown out of the Toffees’ sails.
A rash of substitutions followed as both managers brought on players in attack but while Alex Iwobi impressed again – neither Cenk Tosun nor Bernard was able to contribute much to the final score.
Nevertheless Petr Cech was called into service regularly as Richarlison, Tom Davies tried their luck – but in the end, the Czech shot-stopper rode out all Toffees’ attacks to make sure the Gunners’ first clean sheet of the new campaign was earned in handsome fashion.
Silva will get an extended period of rest to figure out how Everton can win their first points in September – while Emery is bound to rotate heavily as the Gunners welcome Brentford on Wednesday night in the League Cup.