Twenty minutes in and the game points were as good as won. A pair of hat tricks (one in goals, one in assists), an offside goal given for the Gunners, another four goals by halftime… this match had it all. And Arsenal’s new arrivals were at the centre of the action. At the end of the day, the newly minted Arsenal attack had passed its first test, annihilating Everton, whose defence looked lost for the first 45.
Arsenal’s New Arrivals Sparkle
A Fast Start
The Gunners looked slightly disjointed for the first exchanges of the match, and it looked like another miserable start may have been on the cards. But in the sixth minute, newly-extended maestro Mesut Ozil started the move that led to the first of Aaron Ramsey’s three strikes on the day. Aubameyang to Mkhitaryan to Ramsey to the back of the net. Wengerball has returned.
Only eight minutes later, Laurent Koscielny doubled the home team’s lead, finishing off a deft flick off the head of his centre-back partner Shkrodan Mustafi coming off of a corner, a set piece the Gunners look increasingly dangerous from. The mood at the Emirates became simultaneously relaxed and exuberant.
Ramsey struck again a scant five minutes later off of a substantially deflected shot, and the rout was well and truly on. Jordan Pickford, who will doubtless feel ill-served by both Michael Keane – who was replaced at the half – and debutant Eliaquim Mangala, will see Arsenal in his nightmares given the goal tallies against him over the past two seasons: six over two fixtures last season, and ten in the two this season.
As if the Toffees didn’t already feel poorly about the state of the game, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s account opening goal in the 37th confirmed it just wasn’t their day. While Arsenal fans will marvel about the run and positively drool over the deft finish, the Gabon international was well offside, and there can be no excuse for the assistant missing such an obvious call. In a season where the Gunners faithful have often felt the sting of poor refereeing decisions, this one, though unnecessary in the context of the game, was certainly welcome.
A Slow Ending
Once again finding themselves up 4-0 at the half, the second half played out much like the Crystal Palace last month. With the hard work done, the team sat back, absorbed pressure and switched off just long enough to allow Everton a goal by Theo Walcott replacement Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who outjumped Sead Kolasinac to head the ball past a dinged up Petr Čech, who sustained a leg injury of some sort in an earlier collision.
However, in what turned out to be his final touch of the game, Aaron Ramsey, once again assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, put the game to bed with his hat-trick goal in the 74th minute. The remainder of the game played out uneventfully, and the Gunners kept all three points.
It seems that everything the Arsenal faithful hoped and feared about the revamped squad may all be true. The team’s strike force, led by Mkhitaryan and Ramsey, looked positively deadly, and a little extra luck would have seen Arsenal up by 5 at the break. The passing game looked crisp all evening, and the chemistry that Mkhitaryan developed with Aubameyang at Borussia Dortmund seems to be as sharp as ever.
At the same time, the defensive woes of the entire season continue to be a thorn in the squad’s side, and who knows how long Petr Čech will have to wait to get his 200th clean sheet. In addition to the goal, Everton created several chances in the second half, a worrying trend even in games where the outcome has already been all but confirmed.
But those concerns can wait for another day. Today, in the ubiquitous London rain, it was all sunshine and rainbows at the Emirates thanks to Arsenal’s new arrivals.
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