Arsenal 5 – 1 Everton
As Saturday evening’s go, that was better viewing than anything Ant and Dec served up although the former’s divorce case is sure to occupy a few minds over coming months.
Everton came and were “crap” according to their manager. Sam Allardyce also said they copied Swansea’s formation and instructions. Either Carlos Carvalhal is more subtle than Fat Sam appreciates or something got lost in the translation of Allardyce’s gum-chewing, spittle-throwing instructions.
The Toffees were probably worse than Palace in the first half which is some achievement and after the first few minutes of running into cul-de-sacs, we played rather well until the interval. Not so impressive afterwards when we took our foot well and truly off the pedal. At least we responded with a fifth.
While Aaron Ramsey deserves the plaudits for his hat-trick, I’ll upset a few by declaring I was more impressed by Mkhitaryan’s performance. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Rambo’s hat-trick, just Henrikh’s manoeuvering of the ball to create three goals on his debut is the sort of play we’ve been missing.
One game doesn’t an Arsenal career make – although plenty have done that in recent years – and next weekend will be a big test for us. However, there was a hint of Pires in the stretching of the defence from the flank, as well as popping up in the between the visitor’s midfield and defence to set Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first goal for the club.
Yes, it was offside and the official got it wrong. Who says these things don’t even themselves out over a season. That was payback for Lacazette at Stoke. The footballing gods don’t care if it’s another player or a different opponent.
He Flicked to Kick
After Tuesday night’s debacle, the quick start was appreciated. We ran into Everton initially and then carved our way through at will. The speed of movement and crispness of passing was excellent which is easy when we’re in the mood with a compliant opponent. Serving that performance up at Wembley next weekend will be more impressive.
Aubameyang is the moneyman and his inclusion came at the expense of Alexandre Lacazette. I’m sure he’s ill and not 100% fit because holding him to blame for Tuesday’s capitulation at Swansea is petulant even by Arsène’s standards. That’s said, PEA found his way around the Emirates pitch a bit better than he did the back streets of Islington last night.
His flick for Mkhitaryan set the first goal in motion with Ramsey grabbing tap-in from the resultant cross. As Koscielny stooped to head home Mustafi’s flick for the second; he was in danger of becoming Arsenal’s Forrest Gump: on hand for all the great events of the game but never the centre of attention.
He rectified that with his first for the club but surprisingly didn’t take an earlier chance when set free of the defence. First night nerves, etc., as well as a good save by Pickford. I thought the youngster played well despite conceding five and of the goals, the only one I thought he might have done better with was Koscielny’s.
Talking of dodgy ‘keepers…Petr Cech’s wait for his 200th clean sheet goes on. Not sure what Sead Kolasinac was playing at when the cross came in but he didn’t try to jump to put Calvert-Lewin under pressure. And this from a player who was the best left-back in the Bundesliga last season…
First Blood…y Hat-trick of his Career
It’s been all about the new guys so far which is unfair on Aaron Ramsey. He should grab the headlines with the same fervour he took a well-deserved match ball. Each of his goals came as a result of a trademark late run into space. It’s why he’s in the side and his natural game. Wales get more out of the player because they play to this strength and maybe Arsène has realised this.
Rather than shoehorning him into the side to fulfil and unnatural role, he played his role and grabbed three. OK, the second was deflected but Frank Lampard made a career out of that.
Arsène was understandably happy with the result and performance. We all should be but let’s not get carried away with this. We’re in great form at home but followed the thumping of Palace with a shockingly bad performance at Swansea.
There’s no guarantee we won’t do the same next weekend in the north London derby. Wenger has some thinking to do about his line-up because Tottenham won’t be so compliant.
Until then, I’ll enjoy the victory and a football-free week in the lead-up to next weekend.
I nearly forgot. Theo. Looked bewildered as the goals flew in and was unfortunate to be substituted. One good chance when Everton capitalised on Ramsey’s loose flick but was surprised by Mustafi’s saving tackle. I certainly was. Nice bloke and probably at the right club but last night was one to forget for him.