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Everton 2-5 Arsenal: Talking points as pressure mounts on Ronald Koeman
Last Updated: 22/10/17 8:14pm
As the pressure piles up on Ronald Koeman, we look at the talking points from Arsenal's 5-2 win over Everton.
There were five different scorers for the visitors, with Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez all on target after Wayne Rooney's opener, while Oumar Niasse's bizarre effort was nothing more than a consolation.
Here, we look at the key issues from the game...
Koeman under pressure
With the back pages of Sunday's papers ramping up the pressure and David Moyes even being linked with a shock return to Goodison Park, under fire Ronald Koeman needed a big result from his team. He didn't get it - and their hammering at the hands of Arsenal saw them slump into the bottom three.
While Rooney's opener offered hope, on-form Arsenal had Everton pegged back for long periods and deservedly converted that dominance into a comprehensive victory, capitalising on Idrissa Gueye's sending off to deliver a heavy defeat on their hurting hosts.
Gueye's senseless lunge for a second yellow card made Arsenal's task far easier, but two wins from their past 13 games in all competitions illustrates a major problem at Everton. When you factor in the £150m Koeman splashed in the summer, the way those signings have failed to fire and the blunt attack which has scored more than once in just five out of 17 games this season, it all looks bleak for the Dutchman.
If it hadn't been for Jordan Pickford, Arsenal could have been out of sight before half-time. The visitors fired 17 shots in the opening 45, nine of which forced the young England 'keeper into saves. It's the most shots on target Arsenal have had in the first half of a Premier League game since May 2015 and Pickford was tested from all angles.
Everton's poor start
This is Everton's worst points tally (8) after nine games of a Premier League season since 2005-06 (4) - they ended that campaign in 11th place.
Cruelly a deflection on Granit Xhaka's powerful drive forced a late readjustment from Pickford, who could only parry the ball out to Monreal to tuck in the equaliser. After the break, he could do nothing about Ozil's well-placed header, either, as Everton's defence splintered.
Without Gueye, Lacazette was free to tuck in, and Ramsey and Sanchez cashed in during stoppage time, either side of Niasse's opportunistic consolation. Arsenal finished with 14 shots on target, the most they've registered since Opta started recording that data in 2003/04. "It could have been five goals in each half," Thierry Henry summed up after the game.
Koeman insists he still believes in the players and that it was not "too late" for things to turn around. He'll have to hope the Everton board feel the same way.
Wenger's birthday treat as Arsenal show their mettle
Arsenal's performance on Sunday was the perfect present for boss Arsene Wenger, who celebrated turning 68 by winning a Premier League game on his birthday for the third time. There were plenty of positives to take from the victory.
First, there was the satisfaction of seeing his trio of Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez all start together for the first time, combine for goals and each find the net themselves. "In training we always show our quality together. On the pitch today we played well in front of goal, we showed our quality, we scored, so we're really happy," said Ozil afterwards.
"In terms of playing football and creating chances, it doesn't get any better than this," said Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness. "They get people forward quickly, fast passing, accurate passing."
Arsene Wenger's record at Arsenal on his birthday (all competitions): P7 W4 D1 L2 F14 A7
But as well as the sleek interplay between those three, Wenger will also be encouraged by the resilience shown by his men. After having their character called in to question following the defeat at Watford last weekend, Arsenal responded to Rooney's opener by winning from behind for the first time in 20 attempts.
Ozil, in particular, came up with the perfect response to his critics with his best performance of the season.
The German - benched last week at Watford and linked with a move to Manchester United in midweek - was handed his first start since early September by Wenger and made the most of it, scoring Arsenal's third, setting up eight chances for his team-mates including Lacazette's goal and scooping the man of the match prize as well.
To put that second stat into context, no player has created more chances in a single Premier League game this season than Ozil did at Goodison Park. With his contract up at the end of the season and negotiations taking place about his future, it was a timely reminder of what the playmaker can offer.
"It was crucial we had Mesut today," Per Mertesacker told Sky Sports after the game. "The way he created chances and made the goal was very good for us."
Arsenal fans also celebrated the return to the Premier League of Jack Wilshere on Sunday. After tidy displays in the Europa League, the midfielder made his first appearance in the top flight in 14 months - and notched his first assist for Arsenal since playing Manchester City in September 2014.
There were signs of ring rust shortly after Wilshere's second-half substitution into the action when a heavy pass went out for a throw-in rather than finding Ozil. But he soon found his range and threaded a neat pass through for Ramsey to clip in Arsenal's fourth.
It was just a glimpse - and against 10 men - but Wilshere looks like he's on the road back to his best.
Same opposition. Same end. Fifteen years on. Wayne Rooney once again found the net against Arsenal on Sunday just days after the anniversary of that famous volley, his first Premier League goal. His 202nd wasn't bad either.
With time and space on the edge of the Arsenal box after Gueye had dispossessed the dithering Xhaka, Rooney whipped the ball across Petr Cech and into the corner with precision.
On this occasion, though, it was merely a side note on an otherwise sorry day for Everton.