Arsenal 2 Everton 0
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed a double to help Arsenal beat a determined Everton 3-2 at the Emirates stadium on Sunday evening. Eddie Nketiah’s first Premier League goal levelled for the Gunners after the visitors were quick out of the blocks in taking the lead through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s overhead kick after just 49 seconds.
Calvert-Lewin’s overhead kick gave Everton the lead after just 49 seconds against Arsenal
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick caused panic in the Gunners defence enabling Calvert-Lewin to spectacularly open the scoring.
A VAR check for a high boot which caught David Luiz on the side of his face in the build-up was deemed acceptable as Mikel Arteta looked on disbelievingly, his game plan in tatters after less than a minute. Arsenal’s fortunes changed through the mis-fortune of Sead Kolasinac who came off worse after a clash with Djibril Sidibe.
On came Bukayo Saka for Kolasinac after 17 minutes, and ten minutes after his introduction, the 18 year old’s cross from the left was volleyed in by Nketiah for the leveller. It was Saka’s tenth assist of the season. Having been on the back foot, the Gunners roared back into life. Nicolas Pepe tested Jordan Pickford in quickfire succession and just past the half hour mark Arsenal took the lead. Luiz atoned for his earlier lapse in concentration with a ball out to Aubameyang, bisecting the Everton back line. From almost a Thierry Henryesque position wide on the left, Aubameyang raced onto the ball, took aim to then coolly slot beyond Jordan Pickford to make it 2-1.
Nketiah levelled with his first Premier League goal at Emirates
Everton who had suffered just one Premier League loss since Ancelotti’s arrival on Boxing day employed a tough tackling style to add to their substance. The returning Alex Iwobi had a couple of efforts which flew wide of Bernd Leno’s goal, but then came first half controversy. Richarlison’s tackle on Dani Ceballos near the managers’ dug out on the stroke of half time appeared excessive. The Brazil striker was shown a yellow card when it could have been much worse.
Arsenal’s inability to see out the half after five minutes of time added on was signalled by the fourth official mirrored their opening lack of concentration. Yerry Mina’s presence to prod the ball enabled Richarlison finding himself with the simplest of chances to draw his side level before the break.
Aubameyang races away to celebrate giving Arsenal the lead
The theme of quickfire goals continued 29 seconds after the re-start. Nicolas Pepe’s cross after good work from Mesut Ozil was met with a strong header from Aubameyang who got ahead of Sidibe for Arsenal to re-take the lead for a 3-2 scoreline. It was Aubameyang’s 17th Premier League goal of the season, the Arsenal striker is now joint level with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
Both sides seemed to be afflicted with poor defending, but in attack, it was another matter. Hector Bellerin did well to shepherd Richarlison out wide, but every time the Toffees mounted an attack, Aubameyang was willing to track back to help his defence before then surging forward to do the day job.
Richarlison drew Everton level just before half time
Calvert-Lewin was twice centimetres away from tucking in Richarlison’s crosses from the left, and when Saka lost possession to the Everton striker on 63 minutes deep in his own half, the England man couldn’t get his shot beyond Leno who comfortably held. With nerves gripping most of the Emirates stadium, Mesut Ozil did well to remain on his feet to find Ceballos, however the Spain midfielder’s curling effort flew just wide of Pickford’s goal. With three minutes remaining, Pickford’s decision to try play out from the back was almost punished by the rapid Nketiah who regained possession, only for his powerful shot to hit the bar.
Aubameyang headed Arsenal’s winner 29seconds after the break
Leno was being kept busy late on, and his decision to rush out of his area to tackle Richarlison denied the striker what could have been another Everton leveller. Arsenal switched off from another Everton corner. Leighton Baines’ cross was headed just wide of target by Calvert-Lewin. The Toffees who hadn’t been in action for almost a fortnight finished strongly but substitute Moise Kean saw his 20 yard shot fly wide of Leno’s upright.
Arteta and Ancelotti saw their respective sides play out a thrilling fixture at the Emirates
However, Arsenal held on to prevail in a match which could have gone either way. The Gunners are now up to ninth place in the Premier League table on 37 points, one point ahead of Everton and four points off fifth placed Manchester United.