Arsenal 4-0 Everton: Rampant Gunners go FIVE points clear

Arsenal 4-0 Everton: Rampant Gunners go FIVE points clear of City with Martinelli hitting a double and Saka and Odegaard also on target at buoyant Emirates to gain revenge on Dyche’s side

  • Bukayo Saka netted his 10th goal of the season before Gabriel Martinelli made it 2-0 just before the break 
  • Martin Odegaard then made it 3-0 before Martinelli got his second goal of the game a few moments later 
  • Re-live the action as it happened at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal went five points clear at the top 

When he made a plea for understanding and for time as the crisis around him deepened last week, besieged Chelsea manager Graham Potter chose one man as an example of the good things that can happen at a football club if only the board holds its nerve and keeps the faith. He chose Mikel Arteta.

Arteta has become a beacon of hope for the ridiculed and the pilloried, the bedraggled and the bewildered. When things seem beyond rescue, when it feels as if you are being dragged inexorably towards a whirlpool of swirling mediocrity, when the fans want you out, when it looks as if you have failed, there is always the knowledge of what Arteta did.

A little over two years ago, Arteta’s Arsenal had taken two points from their previous seven league fixtures and had not won a match for nearly two months. They were 15th in the table on Christmas Eve 2020, four points off the relegation zone. Arteta was starting to doubt himself. 

Now, as winter turns to spring and Arsenal lead the Premier League, some are saying that he and Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti deserve to be called the best in the world this season.

Arteta’s Arsenal side, a side of whom little was expected at the start of this season, moved five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League at the Emirates last night with a thumping 4-0 win over Everton that pushed Sean Dyche’s side deeper into relegation trouble. They have 13 games left to play and they are holding firm at the summit.

Bukayo Saka scored the opening goal of the game for his sixth since the World Cup with a brilliant right-footed strike

Gabriel Martinelli then made it 2-0 just five minutes later after his strike was given following a lengthy VAR check

The collapse that many predicted when Arsenal lost to City at home a fortnight ago has not materialised. They staged a thrilling comeback to beat Aston Villa in Birmingham and then ground out a tough 1-0 victory at Leicester on Saturday. 

Everton are fighting for their lives and frustrated Arsenal for most of the first half. In former years, that frustration might have resulted in Arsenal losing their nerve and their composure. Not last night. Not any more.

Arteta has instilled in this side a resolve and a mental toughness they have not possessed for the best part of 20 years. They are capable of playing football that takes the breath away but they are also capable of matching steel with steel. 

Maybe City will overtake them because City are a marvellous team who have experience of fights like this. But Arsenal have already proved they are formidable rivals. They will not go quietly.

Dyche will be hoping that he can effect a fraction of the transformation that Arteta has wrought in what time he has left this season. 

Everton, who have only won once in their last 14 away games in the league, were overwhelmed in the end and as they languish in the bottom three a point adrift of safety, they know that they face a critical trip to Nottingham Forest on Sunday that will do more to decide their fate than this match against the league leaders.

Arteta has attracted some criticism this season for his animated antics on the touchline but he was upstaged, at least in the first half, by Dyche. 

Dyche took particular exception to the award of an Arsenal corner, perhaps because Vitali Mykolenko appeared to be tripped by Bukayo Saka in the build-up to it, and was roundly booed by the home fans as he took the fourth official to task with great gusto.

Goals from Saka and Martinelli just before the break helped put the Gunners five points clear of Manchester City 

Martin Odegaard made it 3-0 on 71 minutes to mark a startling display of his own and take the game away from the visitors

Arsenal’s Brazilian forward then made sure of the points by poking home from under Jordan Pickford’s nose at his near post

Everton were ultimately unable to offer anything in retort to the Gunners on a miserable night on the road for Sean Dyche’s side

As the match settled into a pattern of Arsenal trying in vain to find a way through Everton’s massed and superbly organised defence, Dyche went through the full gamut of gestures and gesticulations as he stood at the very, very edge of his technical area: arms stretched out wide in puzzled anger at why one of his players had not obeyed an instruction, right hand moving furiously from right to left to urge his players to push up, both hands cupped around his mouth as he tried to yell instructions above the din. No wonder he is hoarse at the end of matches.


Arsenal (4-3-3): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tierney 80′); Odegaard, Jorginho (Partey 45′), Xhaka (Vieira 71′); Saka (Smith Rowe 80′), Trossard (Nketiah 71′), Martinelli

Subs: Kiwior, Holding, Tomiyasu, Turner

Goals: Saka 41′, Martinelli 45+1′, 79′, Odegaard 71′

Manager: Mikel Arteta

Everton (4-3-3): Pickford; Mykolenko, Keane, Tarkowski, Coleman (60′); Doucoure (Davies 78′), Onana, Gueye (Holgate 45′); Iwobi, McNeil, Maupay (Gray 60′)

Subs: Mina, Begovic, Vinagre, Coady, Simms

Booked: Tarkowski, Godfrey

Manager: Sean Dyche 

Referee: Michael Oliver 

The Emirates crowd, like Dyche, grew increasingly agitated. Everton may not have offered much in attack but they were stubborn in defence. 

Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana snapped into tackles and closed their men down relentlessly. Even a team as comfortable on the ball and as technically accomplished as Arsenal found it difficult to find any gaps in their armour.

But then five minutes before half time, they finally found a way through. Ben White played the ball inside to Oleksandr Zinchenko and his slide-rule pass picked out Saka, who was just inside the area. 

Saka took the ball on the half turn, touched it towards goal and then blasted it high past Jordan Pickford into the roof of the net with his right foot.

Now the dam was broken and on the stroke of the interval, Arsenal doubled their lead. Gueye won the ball from Martin Odegaard but then dawdled and dallied as it rolled back towards the edge of the Everton area. 

Gueye did not see Saka coming until it was too late but the England winger stole in on his blind side and nicked the ball away from him. It ran to Martinelli who slotted it past Pickford. 

 After so much redoubtable resistance, Everton had suddenly been blown apart.

It was unforgivable carelessness from Gueye and he did not last another minute. He was replaced by Mason Holgate at half time. 

Everton tried to get their mojo back: almost their first action of the second half was a scything tackle from James Tarkowski that missed the ball but left Odegaard writhing in pain on the turf. Tarkowski was shown the first yellow care of the evening.

Arsenal should have put the game out of reach ten minutes after the interval when Ben White curled a superb cross to the back post where Leandro Trossard and Granit Xhaka were both waiting unmarked. 

Trossard stepped in front of Xhaka but he made a hash of his volley and thumped it down into the ground so that it bounced high and harmlessly over the crossbar.

Everton face a massive trip to Nottingham Forest on Sunday in the Premier League with the club still in the bottom three

Everton’s previous trip to the capital ended in a 5-1 defeat on the final day of the 2021-22 season after securing their survival

Arsenal secured a statement victory at home on Wednesday to further their lead over reigning champions Manchester City

Saka’s startling run of form continued with a tenth goal of the season to get his side going in Wednesday’s goal-fest

A few minutes later, Arsenal were served a warning that they had no room for complacency. Dwight McNeil skipped past one challenge and then unleashed a fierce left foot drive from the edge of the area that Aaron Ramsdale did well to push away. 

The ball bounced up into the path of Onana but Zinchenko dashed in ahead of him to clear the danger. A minute after that, substitute Ben Godfrey raked his studs down Trossard’s calf and was booked.

Then Arsenal heeded their warning. Trossard escaped down the left and cut the ball back for Odegaard who sidefooted it first time towards goal. Michael Keane, who was making his first league start of the season, tried to flick the ball away but only succeeded in lifting it into the roof of the net beyond Pickford.

Ten minutes from the end, Arsenal went four goals up. Zinchenko slid substitute Eddie Nketiah in down the left, he crossed the ball low to the near post and Martinelli applied the finishing touch to it to poke it past Pickford from point-blank range. ‘You’re going down,’ the Arsenal fans sang at Dyche as he stood on the touchline. For once, the Everton manager had no response.


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