Arsenal and Everton may be best described as two sides of the same coin. Both want maximum points, both cannot afford to lose or even draw a game, and both are looking to achieve something huge.
However, the reasons for the two are completely different. While Arsenal needs every point to secure what would be their first title in around 2 decades, Everton needs them to avoid being relegated for the first time in their history. This game promised drama, and drama it gave.
With Arsenal’s hunger for the title looking stronger than Everton’s need for survival, the Gunners destroyed the Toffees in a dominant 4-0 win.
Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli both scored in the first half to give Arsenal a comfortable lead going into the break, while Martin Odegaard and Martinelli again added two more goals in the second half to seal the victory.
Arsenal dominated possession from the outset and created several chances in the opening half-hour, but it wasn’t until the 40th minute that they finally broke the deadlock.
Saka received the ball from Oleksandr Zinchenko, turned past his defender with a brilliant touch, and smashed a powerful shot into the top corner from a difficult angle to give Arsenal the lead.
Less than 6 minutes later, Martinelli doubled Arsenal’s lead with a cool finish after being set up by Saka, who robbed Gueye of the ball as he was caught sleeping. The goal was initially ruled out for offside but was correctly awarded after a VAR review.
In the second half, Arsenal brought on Thomas Partey.
This finished the game completely, as Arsenal continued to dominate Everton who could barely catch sight of the ball.
Odegaard extended their lead in the 71st minute after being set up by Leandro Trossard and Martinelli grabbed his second of the night and Arsenal’s fourth with a close-range finish after being teed up by Eddie Nketiah.
This game saw starboys Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli both cross the 10-goal threshold, making Arsenal the first and only team this season to have two players score 10 or more goals. Both still being under 21 years old, the future is looking very bright for the Gunners.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was very pleased with his team’s performance.
I am delighted with the win and the way we played after the first 25 minutes. We had some difficulties at the start, but once we scored the first goal, the game unlocked.
We needed a magic moment and Bukayo produced that. After that, we grew and deserved to win the game. We played really well in the second half and could have scored more.
Everton manager Sean Dyche was left to rue his team’s missed chances and a couple of soft goals that cost them the game.
For 40 minutes we were doing very well, I thought, against a top side. You know you have to keep it tight at places like this and you have to work for the counter, which we did.
It is finding those killer moments – obviously, that is the story of the season so far, before and with me.
That defined that period and then, obviously, a soft goal from our point of view, only yardages, the back four just got a bit open for the first time. It was good from them, that is what they do, they slide and play quick passes into the box.
This result puts Arsenal five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, while Everton are left to lick their wounds after suffering their biggest defeat of the season so far.
Everton goes down to 18th, just ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference, and 3 points ahead of last-placed Southampton. However, both Bournemouth and Southampton now have a game in hand.
Next up for Arsenal is a home game against Bournemouth on Saturday, followed by a Europa League round-of-16 clash with Sporting CP on Thursday, March 8.
Everton, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back as they face Nottingham Forest in 3 days and Brentford in the coming week. These are no easy games, but Sean Dyche and Arteta both would not be happy with anything other than victories.
Oh and also, Arsenal can now no longer be mathematically relegated, if anyone was wondering about that.