Arsenal 2-0 Everton: Unai Emery’s Emirates revolution gathers pace
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Arsenal hosted Everton at the Emirates on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.
Arsenal beat Everton 2-0 at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon to lodge their fifth win in a row as Unai Emery’s quiet Emirates revolution gathers pace.
After a scrappy first half Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring on 56 minutes with an excellent curling shot.
The lead was doubled 180 seconds later through a close-range finish by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Head coach Emery restored Petr Cech to the No1 goalkeepers spot after Bernd Leno made his bow in the 4-2 Europa League victory over Vorksla in the opening match of Group E on Thursday at the Emirates.
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The Gunners sat in ninth place but only three points off Spurs in fifth with the Lilywhites having played a game more, prior to kick-off.
Emery’s team are still a work in progress but have shown excellent promise during their four consecutive victories including their 2-1 victory at St James’ Park against Newcastle United in the previous league match.
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The Gunners looked to build on their good form by starting brightly on a sunny afternoon through a sweeping move down the right channel before Hector Bellerin whipped in a low cross.
Aubameyang did well to pull the ball back for Nacho Monreal, but his close range shot was well saved by England’s Jordan Pickford.
Lucas Torreira wasted no time making a mark on first Premier League start as he was deservedly booked inside 15 minutes by referee Jon Moss for a careless lunge before Moss lectured Granit Xhaka shortly afterwards for an over-zealous challenge.
While it is important to keep your discipline in the maelstrom of a tough top-flight encounter seasoned observers were relishing the new-found midfield aggression.
However, the tempo dipped alarmingly afterwards and the remainder of the half was a shapeless disjointed affair punctuated by rare moments of skill.
Not least from Everton’s 25-year-old former Barcelona left-back Lucas Digne, who had a dipping, swerving free-kick tipped over by Cech on 31 minutes.
With five minutes remaining of the first half Rob Holding replaced Sokratis in defence as the former Borussia Dortmund centre-half limped off after injuring his leg in a challenge which was precipitated by sloppy play from fellow defensive colleague Shkodran Mustafi.
While the Greek defender has impressed in recent weeks with his excellent anticipation it was nice to see the former Bolton defender return to the side after a good run-out against the Ukrainians three days previously.
The Toffees lively forward Richarlison tested Cech with a powerful near-post strike just before the break, but the former Chelsea net minder was equal to the task.
As Moss blew for half-time the prevailing emotion was one of relief after a desperately disappointing half.
The second half commenced at a livelier pace from both sides as Emery’s men stepped up a gear.
Moments after Aubameyang should have won a penalty after Jonjoe Kenny reacted to a header coming towards him by lifting his arm.
Yes it was instinctive but the laws of the game make it clear that type of action should be penalised with a spot-kick.
No matter, striker Lacazette broke the deadlock with a cracking shot 11 minutes after the restart.
The former Lyon forward displayed his clinical finishing ability with a superbly taken right-footed curler hit with pace which evaded Pickford to end in the top corner, to the former Sunderland keeper’s left-hand side.
Three minutes later with the crowd still cheering, Aubameyang doubled the lead after getting on the end of a sweeping move to make it 2-0 as Arsenal revealed their attacking power, even if Moss should have called offside earlier in the move.
The former Dortmund striker was rightly given a standing ovation as Emery introduced Alex Iwobi with 21 minutes remaining.
Another substitute who earned a warm round of applause was former Gunner Theo Walcott who was deservedly given a cheer by fans – proving that there is a right way and a wrong way to leave the club, something perhaps Alexis Sanchez didn’t understand.
As the clock ticked down Aaron Ramsey who had another quiet game was replaced by Danny Welbeck. Surely the club can’t afford another drawn-out contract saga, with the message from many being ‘sign that contract or leave’.
On the evidence of the quiet revolution taking place at Emery’s Emirates who have now won five in a row you’d be a fool to leave this side.
Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29