Everton delivered a hugely impressive performance to outplay and deservedly beat Arsenal at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Everton took the early lead against Arsenal after Phil Jagielka – a last ditch addition to the team after Michael Keanewas taken ill – scored in the 10th minute, exploiting a weak Arsenal defence.
In addition to issues in defence, Arsenal completely lacked creativity in attack, and were constantly under pressure by the lightning pace of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
After brining on Aaron Ramsey, initially benched due to a groin complaint earlier in the week, Arsenal seemed to find more attacking flair.
However, after an initial attacking surge by the visitors, Everton found their feet again to take the initiative and pike the pressure back on Arsenal.
It was Everton who deservedly took the full three points – a huge blow to Arsenal’s push for Champions League qualification, denying them a chance to move back into third and open up a gap over Chelsea and Manchester Unitedin the hunt for the top four spots.
Everton move up the table to ninth while Arsenal remain in the top four on goal difference alone as they head to their next league match against Watford.
TALKING POINT – Can Arsenal survive the season without Sokratis?
Adding insult to injury and casting further doubt over the North Londoner’s battle for a place in the top four, come the end of the season, they will now be without Sokratis for their next two matches after he picked up his tenth yellow card of the season. It will be a bitter blow for Arsenal, who looked frail defensively, with Sokratis proving vital.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Calvert-Lewin
Calvert-Lewin showed great energy, fantastic pace and was a real threat to the Arsenal defence, who clearly did not enjoy playing against him. He made good passes and assertive challenges throughout.
Everton: Pickford 6, Coleman 7, Jagielka 7, Zouma 7, Digne 7, Andre Gomes 7, Gueye 7, Richarlison 7, Sigurdsson8, Bernard 8, Calvert-Lewin 8. Subs: Davies 6, Walcott 6, Lookman 6.
Arsenal: Leno 7, Mustafi 6, Sokratis 7, Monreal 6, Maitland-Niles 6, Elneny 5, Guendouzi 7, Kolasinac 6, Ozil 6, Mkhitaryan 6, Lacazette 7. Subs: Ramsey 7, Iwobi 6, Aubameyang 6.
10’ GOAL! Late addition Jagielka gives the home side an early lead as the ball falls at his feet in front of the keeper following a long throw at the box. 1-0 to Everton.
25’ Oh no. Sokratis wrestles Calvert-Lewin to the ground – and I mean literally grapples with him – to recieve his 10th yellow card of the season, and that’ll be a two match ban.