Arsenal came out on top in a five-goal thriller as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's double gave them a 3-2 victory over Everton in the Premier League on Super Sunday.
In-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring for Everton after just 49 seconds with an intuitive acrobatic effort, but Eddie Nketiah levelled with just his second Premier League goal from early sub Bukayo Saka's brilliant cross (27).
Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead with a neat finish inside the box (33), but Richarlison poked Everton level late in the half as the hosts failed to clear a set piece (45+4) in a game where defensive solidity was not the order of the day.
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Arsenal took just 22 seconds to regain the lead in the second half through Aubameyang's header (46), before Calvert-Lewin missed two fine chances late on.
The result means Arsenal leapfrog Everton into ninth, seven points off the top four with 11 to play. Everton are a point further back in 11th.
Arsenal: Leno (8), Bellerin (6), Mustafi (7), Luiz (6), Kolasinac (NA), Xhaka (6), Ceballos (7), Ozil (7), Pepe (6), Aubameyang (8), Nketiah (7).
Subs: Saka (7), Torreira (NA), Guendouzi (NA)
Everton: Pickford (6), Sidibe (6), Holgate (6), Mina (6), Baines (7), Delph (6), Schneiderlin (6), Sigurdsson (6), Iwobi (6), Richarlison (7), Calvert-Lewin (8)
Subs: Gomes (6), Bernard (6), Kean (NA)
Man of the match: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
How Arsenal made Everton pay
In a contest earmarked to evidence both sides' progress since their new managers took over in December, it was a case of same old, same old in the first half.
Two suspect defences and pacey attacks brought four goals in the opening period, the first coming in the opening minute as Calvert-Lewin pounced with an unorthodox overhead kick from six yards after David Luiz had failed to clear a free-kick.
Arsenal were rocked, and it should have been two shortly after as Alex Iwobi fired over on the counter, but Sead Kolasinac's arm injury meant Saka was introduced, wonderfully setting up Nketiah for a close-range finish in-between the Everton centre-backs following a wicked left-wing cross.
The hosts went 2-1 ahead through Aubameyang, converting coolly after being played through one-on-one with Jordan Pickford by Luiz's brilliant through ball, but Everton went into the half level as Richarlison pounced from close range to poke past Bernd Leno following some more sloppy Arsenal defending.
The entertainment continued after the break as Everton failed to mark Aubameyang from Nicolas Pepe's floated cross, allowing the Gabon striker to head into the ground past Pickford, leaving Carlo Ancelotti visibly dumbfounded on the visiting bench.
Arsenal made six changes from the 1-0 win over Olympiakos: Bellerin, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Ozil, Pepe and Nketiah came in, replacing Saka, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Willock, Lacazette and Martinelli.
Everton brought in Sidibe, Holgate, Baines, Delph and Iwobi, with Keane, Coleman and Bernard on the bench, and Digne and Walcott out injured. Andre Gomes also made the bench after suffering a broken ankle in early November.
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Everton were on the back foot, but grew back into the game as the second half wore on, and should have been back level through Calvert-Lewin, who was thwarted at point-blank range by Bernd Leno after being played just onside by Granit Xhaka.
The game arguably raised more questions than answers for both sides, with Everton nearly capitalising on sleepy Arsenal defence late on as Calvert-Lewin headed inches wide from a quickly-taken free-kick.
What the managers said...
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "The best thing is the spirit we showed, coming back from Europe, three games in seven days, conceding in the first minute, the way we reacted, the way we played for 60, 65 mins is exactly how I want from my team, and the resilience they showed when they were absolutely knackered, and they kept going and going and going. This is exactly what I want.
"[Aubameyang was] incredible, the amount of work that he is doing, to do all the defensive stuff before my questions shows the commitment he has with his team-mates and the club."
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: "The performance offensively was really good, a lot of opportunities, but defensively really poor, we conceded three goals, it is not acceptable to concede three goals like this, and normally you lose the game.
"We were able to equalise at the end of the first half, and we knew because they played Thursday they could lose energy, and they did, and we had opportunities to score, but the key point is we concede three goals too easy. This is the reason."
Souness: Everton much better than under Silva
Graeme Souness had his say on Everton after the game, seeing big signs of progress despite the defeat...
"Everton are a county mile from where they were under Marco Silva. They feel like a team who can score goals now. I'm pleased for Everton because there is a lot of money been spent and they're going in the right direction.
"They know what they're doing, their team-mates know what they're doing and they've got a gameplan, which I hadn't seen for a while. Nine games in, he has them organised and believing."
Man of the match - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Graeme Souness on Super Sunday...
"He's 30, he's at the top of his game and he's taken the English game in his stride. He's scored two really different goals. A good header - brave where he knows he could get hurt - and then a Thierry-esque finish when he's free.
"When he gets free, you think he's going to put it away. He's a top player. Can they hold onto him? It's imperative they keep him!"
⭐️ Man of the match, @Arsenal’s captain @Aubameyang7— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 23, 2020
42 touches, 5 in opposition box
Won 6/8 duels
Completed 21/28 passes
2 shots, both on target
Scored 16th & 17th PL goals this season - now joint top scorer with Jamie Vardy pic.twitter.com/SNOJlsBZA8
- Arsenal have registered consecutive Premier League wins for the first time since winning their opening two games of the season against Newcastle and Burnley.
- Everton are winless in 24 away Premier League games against Arsenal (D4 L20), only enduring a longer away winless top-flight run against an opponent between 1946 and 2001 against Leeds United.
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored seven goals in nine Premier League appearances under Carlo Ancelotti, having netted seven in his previous 31 games before the Italian took charge.
- Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 38 goals in 38 Premier League appearances on Sundays (32 goals, 6 assists).
Arsenal now host Olympiakos in their Europa League round of 32 second leg on Thursday at 8pm, before going to Portsmouth on March 2 in the FA Cup fifth round at 7.45pm. Everton host Manchester United on Super Sunday at 2pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
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