Arsenal came, saw and duly conquered with a performance of pace, precision passing, fluid movement and some clinical finishing… and in so doing dumped Everton firmly into the relegation battle.
Following quickly on the heels of Thursdays’ somewhat tempestuous loss to Lyon, Arsenal were the visitors to Goodison for another must-win game for Everton manager Ronald Koeman.
Desperate to gain three points to prevent Everton dropping closer to the dreaded ‘bottom three’ and ease the personal mounting pressure, Koeman selected his team thus: Pickford, Baines, Jagielka (c), Williams, Keane, Kenny, Gana Gueye, Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Rooney and Calvert-Lewin.
Fresh from seeing his side go top of their Europa League group, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger opted for a starting line-up of: Cech, Kolasinac, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Sanchez, Oezil, and Lacazette.
Sporting watches, whistles, cards and a foam spray in his waistband was referee Craig Pawson.
Arsenal very quickly settled forcing three corners in the opening seven minutes and at times threatening to tear Everton apart with their movement, one touch passing and pace.
And but for the tremendous work of Pickford in denying Ramsey low to his left and a superb point-blank reaction stop to foil Lacazette, Everton would have been in serious trouble.
But the enigma that is the Blues saw them take an against the run of play lead on eleven minutes. Gaga Gueye put Xhaka under pressure and he coughed the ball up to Rooney who took three steps, looked up and curled a terrific shot beyond Cech from 20 yards for the opening goal.
Arsenal were stunned and for the next ten minutes, Everton gave as good as they got with Vlasic in particular looking most likely to create something more.
The visitors though didn’t panic and the fluidity of the their passing and movement soon returned and when Pickford could only parry a shot from Xhaka (?), Monreal was quickest to react and crash home the equaliser on 39 minutes.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
Pickford kept the scores level at the break as another flowing Arsenal move involving Kolasinac and Ozil ended with him denying Sanchez at close quarters.
Half Time: 1-1
Tom Davies for Williams was the half time change to try and bolster the midfield that at times had been over run in the first half.
However, the sheer fluidity, pace and movement of Arsenal saw them break quickly in the 52nd minute through Lacazette and Sanchez with Ozil arriving perfectly to plant the go-ahead goal header past Pickford.
Gana Gueye saw his second yellow and subsequent red in the 67th minute for a rash challenge on Xhaka and when a loose pass from Vlasic was picked off in midfield, Baines was way out of position as Ozil found Lacazette and he duly converted for 1-3 on 73 minutes.
Rooney and DCL were replaced by Lookman and Niasse straight afterwards, the removal of the industrious DCL greeted with boos from sections of the Goodison faithful.
Evertons’ misery was completed on 89 minutes when Ramsey added a fourth for the Gunners leaving Ronald Koeman looking a forlorn figure on the touchline, his side had been consummately dissected and beaten.
Substitute Oumar Niasse grabbed a late consolation goal for the Blues, but the late afternoon sunshine only served to spur Arsenal on to demonstrate the yawning gulf in class and confidence between the two sides, Sanchez rounding off another smart move and scoring to herald a chorus of boos at the final whistle.