Everton collapsed once more today in a 5-2 humiliation from Arsenal. Arsenal recorded five different scorers with Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez finding the net.
The five man defence didn’t seem to have any impact as Arsenal recorded 18 first half attempts with 9 on target. The Blues were looking more potent in attack with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Nikola Vlasic getting at the Arsenal backline and Wayne Rooney having some nice touches. However the defence was as shaky as ever and Arsenal got in behind time and time again with Jordan Pickford making a host of fine saves as he continues to show why he is the current best English goalkeeper.
After just three minutes Arsenal should have had the lead as Alexis Sanchez got at the Everton defence, he gave it to Mesut Ozil who played a lovely first time ball into Aaron Ramsey who simply had to score, but he put his effort wide. Ozil and Sanchez were on song and were causing all sorts of issues for the Blues as the Gunners brilliant movement was proving hard to contain.
The best move of the first half came just before 10 minutes as Ramsey broke away and had a number of options. He probably chose the worst of the lot as he slipped in Ozil who was under pressure however the German found Hector Bellerin and he slipped in Ramsey. Ramsey squared it for Alexandre Lacazette who’s first touch gave him the space to put the visitors ahead but Pickford had other ideas and did brilliantly to block the Frenchman’s effort.
Arsenal would be left ruing their missed chances as on 12 minutes, Everton took a shock lead. Granit Xhaka thought he had more time than he did and was superbly dispossessed by Idrissa Gueye. Wayne Rooney picked the ball up and set himself before curling a beautiful effort past the helpless Petr Cech. It was a trademark Rooney finish and it gave Everton a crucial lead, the first time we had scored first in the league since the opening day. Everton had their best spell over the next 5-10 minutes, putting Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in some sticky situations, however this spell failed to provide any real clear cut chances.
Ashley Williams was booked for a foul on Sanchez and Pickford fumbled the free kick that followed. The ball rebounded out to Ramsey but Pickford recovered and blocked his shot away. Williams nearly fell off his disciplinary tightrope as Lacazette threw himself in the air and into the Welshman in an attempt to get him sent off. It is a dangerous cocktail when you have the players Arsenal have, who have perfected their bloodcurdling scream and theatrical dive for whenever they feel the slightest glancing brush and a card-happy referee who seems to have a fetish for seeing men with exotic accents throwing themselves on the floor. It really does ruin the game and it just seemed like the referee couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to blow his whistle.
With just five minutes remaining in the first period, Arsenal levelled and you have to say it was deserved. Sanchez jinked his way in field from the left flank and laid it off for Xhaka. The Swiss international let off a pile driver which took a knick on the way through making Pickford’s task harder. He managed to push the ball away but only as far as Nacho Monreal who reacted quicker than the Toffees defence and prodded home to pull the Gunners level. Sanchez and Bellerin had chances to give them the lead before the break but the Blues held firm and got in at half time all square.
I could try and go into detail about the 2nd half but I think the shorter and clearer the better. Arsenal scored 4 goals and completely embarrassed the Blues. They took the lead less than 10 minutes after the break as Alexis Sanchez was given all the time in the world to cross for the 5’9 Ozil to head home. Like Thursday night, that goal really knocked the player’s confidence and the moment Gueye was dismissed after receiving his 2nd yellow you felt the game was over. That was the 4th red card in the last five fixtures between these two sides.
The referee was absolutely appalling but even the most staunch Evertonian couldn’t blame him for the complete capitulation we witnessed today. With a quarter of an hour left the Gunners sealed the deal. Vlasic made a tired pass which was easily intercepted by Bellerin. He found Lacazette who flicked a lovely first time ball into space for Ozil to stride into. The German entered the box and fed Lacazette who swept home Arsenal’s third. It was easy pickings for the visitors and they smelt blood as they continued to batter the Everton defence. I genuinely believe if it wasn’t for Jordan Pickford we could easily have picked up no points so far this season.
Jack Wilshere came on for his first Premier League appearance of the season and he got in on the act as he played in Ramsey who then fired past Pickford for 4-1. In strange circumstances Everton managed to get a second goal as Monreal under hit a back pass towards Cech and the Czech keeper lost out to Niasse who tapped into an open net. But Arsenal were not satisfied with the two goal margin as with time almost up, Sanchez took matters into his own hands as he teased and tricked a tired and beaten looking Blues rear-guard before arrowing an effort into the Park End net for Arsenal’s 5th.
A total collapse after taking the lead, once again Everton struggled desperately to do the simple, things right. With Farhad Moshiri in attendance this has to be a wake up call to the board. Koeman has failed to arrest any of the problems that have dogged the side for the entirety of the season so far. He is finished, there is no way back from this and the longer the board takes to realise that the more damage they will do.
We are 18th and it doesn’t matter how you sugar coat it, our form this season has been relegation form and we are firmly entangled in a relegation dog fight. The sooner Moshiri and Kenwright realise this isn’t a blip, the sooner we can go about fixing the critical issues which are threatening to not only derail any type of decent season but also have us nervously looking over our shoulder come the business end of this campaign.