Arsenal are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table after beating struggling Everton 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
Bukayo Saka got the Gunners off the mark late in the first half after a slow start, before Gabriel Martinelli doubled that lead on the stroke of half-time. Martin Odegaard made it three after the break, with Martinelli finishing the emphatic win with his second and Arsenal’s fourth.
There was a distinct ‘Burnley’ feel to Everton, squeezing the spaces where Arsenal wanted to play and making it difficult for the Gunners to get into any sort of rhythm for most of the first half.
Saka and Martinelli both showed bursts of pace in the opening stages, yet the first chance went the way of Everton when Neal Maupay stung the palms of Aaron Ramsdale from distance. The Frenchman continued to a nuisance as the Toffees attempted to soak up pressure and counter, with Gabriel intervening at just the right moment as Abdoulaye Doucoure crossed to the far post.
Everton looked on course to see things through until half-time, but Arsenal’s opener from Saka came pretty much out of nowhere. It was made by Oleksandr Zinchenko, who spotted the gap between Michael Keane and Vitalii Mykolenko, but Saka’s spin and finish high into the net was superb.
From having done so little for 40 minutes, Arsenal showed a clinical ruthlessness in first-half stoppage time when Saka pressured Idrissa Gueye in possession and poked the ball into the path of Martinelli, who ran through and confidently finished. The offside flag initially went up, but a VAR review showed the Brazilian was in fact just behind the ball when Saka touched it last.
With a comfortable lead and no pressure to chase the game or push for a goal, Arsenal took the opportunity early in the second half to stroke the ball around in the hope of eventually drawing Everton out of their shape.
Aaron Ramsdale had long since become a spectator by the hour mark but there was a danger sign when Dwight McNeil got properly involved for the first time, driving at the Arsenal defence and unleashing a powerful shot that well parried by the England goalkeeper.
The break in the Everton lines Arsenal had been waiting for came with 20 minutes to play as Leandro Trossard ran into space down the left and pulled it back to Odegaard, whose influence on the game had massively grown since half-time, for an easy finish.
The fourth was more of the same kind of thing. This time, Zinchenko played it down the left to substitute Eddie Nketiah, whose cutback to the near post was turned in by Martinelli.
Everton almost had a consolation in stoppage when substitutes Demarai Gray and Tom Davies each had good chances. Gray fired low towards the far corner after driving into the box from the right, pushed away by Ramsdale, who then clawed away Davies’ rebound effort to keep the clean sheet.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 7/10 – Had to make an early save from Maupay at 0-0 and later from McNeil at 2-0 at two very different but equally crucial stages of the game. Kept his clean sheet with a smart double save right at the end.
RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Defended well and managed to get forward a bit too.
CB: William Saliba – 7/10 – Another polished performance from the young Frenchman.
CB: Gabriel – 7/10 – Made a really important intervention at 0-0 that proved crucial.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 8/10 – Showed excellent vision to see the gap between the Everton defenders to set up Saka’s opener. Heavily involved in making the fourth too.
CM: Martin Odegaard (c) – 8/10 – Well marshalled in the first half but began to control things with a more vibrant second half and was rewarded with his goal.
CM: Jorginho – 6/10 – Performed his usual midfield passing role for 45 minutes
CM: Granit Xhaka – 7/10 – Did his job well.
RW: Bukayo Saka – 9/10 – Even when Everton were squeezing things, he looked like he would be the the one to make the difference and that is exactly what happened. Scored one, made one.
ST: Leandro Trossard – 7/10 – Gave the Gunners shape without getting a lot of joy himself, before pulling left and laying on the third goal with his last touch.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 8/10 – Scored two good goals and looked really bright for large parts of the game, similar to Saka.
SUB: Thomas Partey (46′ for Jorginho) – 7/10
SUB: Eddie Nketiah (73′ for Trossard) – 7/10
SUB: Fabio Vieira (73′ for Xhaka) – 6/10
SUB: Emile Smith Rowe (82′ for Saka) – n/a
SUB: Kieran Tierney (82′ for Zinchenko) – n/a
Mikel Arteta – 8/10 – Went about the game the right way and didn’t panic when things weren’t really working for most of the first half.
GK: Jordan Pickford – 5/10 – Beaten four times but deserves better from those in front.
RB: Seamus Coleman (c) – 4/10 – Hardly had the ball and reached a point where he couldn’t really stop Martinelli either.
CB: Michael Keane – 4/10 – Should be providing far more the money he cost.
CB: James Tarkowski – 6/10 – Started the game really well and looked for a good while as though nothing was going to get past him. Arguably deserved more.
LB: Vitalii Mykolenko – 4/10 – Caught in two minds about who to mark when Saka scored the first. Chose the wrong option. Struggled aginst Saka all night.
RM: Alex Iwobi – 5/10 – Pretty ineffective.
CM: Amadou Onana – 5/10 – Put himself about in the first half.
CM: Idrissa Gueye – 4/10 – Caught in possession when Arsenal scored their second. Didn’t return for the second half.
CM: Abdoulaye Doucoure – 5/10 – Looked to get forward in the inside left channel. Limited overall.
LM: Dwight McNeil – 5/10 – Mostly on the periphery of the game, although he had least had one of Everton’s better chances.
ST: Neal Maupay – 6/10 – Provided a threat in the early exchanges with a few half chances, but largely had to feed off scraps.
SUB: Mason Holgate (46′ for Gueye) – 5/10
SUB: Ben Godfrey (61′ for Coleman) – 5/10
SUB: Demarai Gray (61′ for Maupay) – 6/10
SUB: Tom Davies (79′ for Doucoure) – 6/10
Sean Dyche – 6/10 – Has clearly put his own stamp on this team and it worked a for a bit, but there was realistically no way back once Arsenal had got ahead.