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Arsenal go 5 clear, Liverpool on a roll

Battle in the early stages. PHOTO @arsenal

✳ Arsenal 4 Everton 0
✳ Liverpool 2 Wolves 0

London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT | Arsenal moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a convincing four-goal win over Everton at a bouncing Emirates Stadium.

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli both struck their 10th Premier League goals of the campaign late in the first half to put Arsenal in control, before Martin Odegaard virtually sealed the win when he tucked home a Leandro Trossard cutback.

Martinelli then netted his fourth goal in his last three outings 10 minutes from time

Double delight before the break

The first half was a slow burner, with initially few little opportunities created by either side. Jorginho saw an attempt from a short corner flash over the top of the crossbar four minutes in, while the only piece of work Aaron Ramsdale had to do in the opening half saw him comfortably deal with a Neal Maupay effort from range.

In a similar fashion to the game at Goodison 25 days earlier, the visitors attempted to frustrate Arsenal by playing a low block and soaking up any pressure, while looking to spring counter attacks whenever possible. While these were few and far between, Gabriel had to be alert to make an excellent sliding tackle to prevent Maupay getting another sight of goal after a breakaway.

It looked as though Arsenal  would have little to show for efforts from the first 45, however five minutes before half-time some Saka magic saw them find our way in front. Oleksandr Zinchenko roamed infield, picked up possession and instantly played an inch-perfect pass into the feet of Saka.

After controlling the ball, an excellent touch saw him spin past Vitalii Mykolenko to open up a shooting chance, and despite a tight angle he thrashed a shot into the top corner past his international colleague Jordan Pickford to hit double figures for the season in the Premier League.

And then in stoppage-time, Arsenal managed to gain firm control of the game by doubling the lead. Idrissa Gueye dispossessed Martin Odegaard in midfield but was caught dawdling on the ball, allowing Saka to nip in and prod it into the path of Martinelli, who cooly dispatched past Pickford.

The goal was initially ruled out for offside by the linesman’s flag, but VAR intervened and showed the Brazilian was marginally behind his teammate to score for the third-straight game and hand Arsenal  a healthy half-time lead.

Red-hot Martinelli adds another

With his side now needing something different to get back into the contest, Dyche shuffled his pack and Ramsdale had to be alert to dive low and push away a Dwight McNeil shot after a powerful run from the Toffees winger, but after that brief scare Arsenal wrapped the crucial points up on 71 minutes.

Leandro Trossard was sent on his way down the left in acres of space, and he had plenty of time to get into the box and cut the ball back for Odegaard to finish off the simple opportunity.

With the confidence flowing through the team, Arsenal  looked in the mood to score more and Pickford did well to smother an Eddie Nketiah shot after he was found by a delightful Thomas Partey pass, but 10 minutes from time Arsenal added a fourth.

Zinchenko was once involved as he nudged the ball into Nketiah’s path, and he put the ball on a plate for Martinelli to prod past Pickford at the near post and put further gloss on the victory, ensuring Arsenal’s 100th league win against Everton – a first in English history – was a memorable one.

Facts and stats

Arsenal  scored 4+ goals against Everton in a Premier League match for the 12th time – more than any side has done against another in the competition’s history.

Everton suffered their biggest Premier League defeat since the final day of last season, and a 5-1 loss against us at the Emirates.

The Toffees have lost three consecutive Premier League away games without scoring for the first time since March 2015.

Bukayo Saka’s opener was his 50th goal involvement in the Premier League (now 27 goals, 24 assists). At 21 years and 177 days, he’s the sixth youngest player to reach the milestone in the competition.

Both Saka and Gabriel Martinelli scored their 10th Premier League goals of the season, making Arsenal the only side to have two players reach double figures for goals so far this campaign.

Leandro Trossard has been involved in 12 Premier League goals for Arsenal  (3) and Brighton (9) combined this season (8 goals, 4 assists), his best return in a single campaign in the competition.

What’s next
This was the first of six games in a 19-day period. Arsenal are at home again on Saturday when they entertain Bournemouth, before they turn our attention to the Europa League as Arsenal head to Lisbon to take on Sporting CP in the first leg of the round of 16 tie on Thursday, March 8. That is followed by a London derby against high-flying Fulham the following Sunday.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Jorginho, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard.
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Kiwior, Partey, Vieira, Smith Rowe, Nketiah.

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Tarkowski, Keane, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Doucoure, Iwobi, McNeil, Maupay.
Subs: Begovic, Vinagre, Godfrey, Holgate, Coady, Mina, Davies, Gray, Simms.







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