Two second half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were enough to secure the three points at the Emirates. The two strikes from the new Yorke and Cole took the all-time Arsenal vs Everton goal tally to 153, making it the highest scoring Premier League fixture of all time. That tally would have been significantly higher if it wasn’t for Petr Cech who stole the show with a man of the match performance.
“2-0” flattered us, but with four straight wins in the League, Unai Emery won’t be complaining. On the balance of play Everton created the better chances and didn’t deserve to lose. Similar to the Cardiff game, if the comrades were in blue or if the toffees had a striker with similar x-factor, we would have lost this game.
Before kickoff, I was extremely confident. Aubameyang and the boys shone in our 4-2 win against Vorskla and I naively thought we would unleash a similar goal flurry on an Everton defence equally as leaky as ours. After all these years, I still haven’t managed to tame my pre-match optimism.
Emery made one change from the team that beat Newcastle with Matteo Guendouzi making way for Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan looks the real deal but on another day, he may have seen red. After receiving his first yellow on 14’ he went in for a challenge on Everton left back Lucas Digne just before half time. The Frenchman made an absolute meal out of minimal contact. Luckily John Moss dismissed the theatrics, but the tenacious Torreira will have to be mindful of increasing exaggeration of contact by players.
Half time: Arsenal 0 – 0 Everton
Everton started the second half the better team, but it was Lacazette who broke the deadlock on 56’. Aaron Ramsey found the Frenchman in the box who stole half a yard and beautifully curled the ball into the top corner giving Jordan Pickford no chance. This was the type of goal that only a striker with confidence and conviction could score. The ex-Lyon man has been terrific this season and has gone from strength to strength since his injury lay off last season.
It only took three minutes for his comrade to join him on the score sheet. It was a sloppy goal that should have been ruled out for offside, but the Gabon sharpshooter won’t care. Only Mo Salah (16) has scored more than Aubameyang (12) since his premiership debut, and despite not playing through the middle, he continues to be a threat. He and Lacazette have both scored in three of our last five games they have started together, and I think there is more to come.
Despite losing the improving Sokratis to injury, we managed to keep relative composure and see out the game to secure our first clean sheet of the season. Rob Holding looked good when he came on and Torreira showed great maturity managing his game on a booking.
Four consecutive victories is a good achievement, and it’s nice to know we can win ugly, but significant improvement is needed defensively, whilst offensively we don’t appear to be clicking. Despite finishing the game with an encouraging 62.5% possession of the ball, our attack appears off balance with Ramsey deployed as an attacking midfielder and Mesut Ozil on the right. The German looks far more dangerous centrally, and despite registering two assists the Welshman hasn’t found the guile or link up play we need from a player in that position.
Currently, our goals are more to do with individual quality, rather than a cohesive attacking system and that’s not healthy in the long run. We have looked most dangerous this season away at Chelsea when Henrikh Mkhitaryan linked up beautifully with Hector Bellerin down the right, but the Armenian was dropped for the past couple of games before his injury on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how the boss uses him when he returns.
Full time: Arsenal 2 – 0 Everton
Man of the match: Petr Cech
The legend has come in for a lot of criticism over the last 18 months, but he has rediscovered top form this season. He was a beast on the day making a string of top class saves. He has more clean sheets and has made more saves than any other keeper in Premier League history and he seems determined to add to those tallies before he hangs up his gloves. I don’t know if it’s the change in goalkeeping coach or the competition from Bernd Leno, but whatever it is, we are going to need this Cech if we are going to finish in the top four.
Arsenal vs Brentford preview
Next up is Brentford in League Cup. It will be nice to keep the winning streak going, but we can’t afford to pick up any more injuries at the back. Emery is going to have to be careful with his selection.
Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 1 Brentford