Arsenal finally found the swagger that has been missing, as they hammered 5 past Everton – and gained their first away Premier League win in the process.
An avalanche of shots on target points to a convincing victory, but a spirited Toffee’s side gave a good account of themselves – they just couldn’t find an answer to our attacking play.
Much of this was down to our preferred attacking three playing together for once. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette linked up fluidly, and the ninety minutes was packed with flicks and touches that intuitively found each other. It was the basis on which we scored our goals, and also what bamboozled Everton.
The first ten minutes we bombarded Everton keeper Jordan Pickford and we should have taken the lead, so it was scripted that Everton would instead grab the first goal.
Granit Xhaka was slow in offloading the ball and was fouled by Idrissa Gueye. Referee Craig Pawson waved play on and the ball found Wayne Rooney whose shot from 25 yards hit the back of the net.
We had played so well only to succumb to a sucker punch, but for once, it didn’t affect us. We continued to press though and it was only Jordan Pickford and wasteful finishing that was stopping us rack up a cricket score, never mind equalise.
As such, it was a surprise that it took until the 40th minute for us to restore parity. A Xhaka shot was only parried by Pickford, and the loose ball was snaffled up by a marauding Nacho Monreal who hit it first time.
Everton had racked up a couple of yellow cards, and the second half saw one of their booked players swapped out during the break. Ashley Williams was cut and Tom Davies came on, Ronald Koeman opting to change shape to combat Arsenal’s rampaging trio up top.
It didn’t work.
Eight minutes after the second half began, we got what our play deserved. Alexis hung onto the ball wide on the left, and he waited for the perfect moment to cross the ball into the box. He had waited for the impeccably timed run of Mesut Ozil. The German flicked a header past Pickford expertly and we had the lead.
Our job was made infinitely easier after Idrissa Gueye was sent off for a second yellow. His lunge took the wind from Everton’s sails and for once – perhaps the most welcome sight of all – we took full advantage. No mercy was shown.
Alexandre Lacazette made it three, twenty minutes after Ozil’s goal. Alexis passed well to Ozil, who took it forward before finding Lacazette in the box. A first time finish gave him his first away goal and the breathing space we needed.
Jack Wilshere got some action, and he immediately made his presence felt. Finding Aaron Ramsey with a great pass, Rambo then took it well before finishing coolly.
Everton took advantage of a lax touch from Cech to score a second, but we would get the last laugh. Alexis deserved a goal for his endeavours, and he exquisitely found the far corner.
The front three of Lacazette, Ozil and Alexis give us a reason to be cheerful. Even in the toughest of games, this trio will eke out chances. We have hope.
Of course there are still reasons for worry. Our central midfield is not clicking and our defence has a tendency to switch off, but for once, let us enjoy this handsome win.
It is the reason we are all supporters. For games when we play well, we win well and we score a bagful.