MATCH REVIEW: Five Things We Learned From Arsenal 5-1 Everton
Aaron Ramsey scored a hat trick as Arsenal blitzed Everton. Ramsey struck twice in the first half and then completed his treble after the break with a lovely finish to even outshine Arsenal’s new boys.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan provided three assists and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also scored with an exquisite finish as Arsenal smashed four past Everton in a one-sided first half.
Laurent Koscielny was also on target to make it 4-0 at half time and ruined Theo Walcott’s return to the Emirates as he was substituted on the hour mark with the visitors outclassed.
Arsenal’s first half super show brought the feel good factor back to the Emirates with their free flowing football as Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have completely changed the mood.
But Everton did stage a second half fight back as Walcott’s replacement, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, got one back for Sam Allardyce’s men.
Arsenal keeper Petr Cech went off injured in the second half to take some of the gloss off a comfortable win as he was replaced by David Ospina.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks fantastic – and that’s bad news for Alexandre Lacazette
One record signing in, another record signing out, Arsene Wenger started with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and that will be a worrying sign for Alexandre Lacazette who was on the bench and will know the writing is on the wall.
Aubameyang showed the sort of pace and brilliant finishing – a lovely dink of a chip over Jordan Pickford – that Lacazette has been missing.
Former Borussia Dortmund striker Aubameyang showed pace, energy and movement which gave Everton all sorts of problems.
Make no mistake – he is the new No1. Lacazette, meanwhile, will now be the Europa League striker who will be the new Olivier Giroud and come on from the bench.
Maybe it’s the kick up the backside that Lacazette needed to get him going but Aubameyang’s arrival means there’s a new sheriff in town.
2. Arsenal’s transfer window was good – they bought a player with much to prove
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fantastic in the first half, comfortably Arsenal’s best player and the new No7 is very different to Alexis Sanchez but immediately looked very comfortable in the shirt.
Mkhitaryan was derided by Jose Mourinho, dropped and treated badly because, apparently, he does not track back. Well, good luck with Alexis Sanchez on that one.
But what Arsenal have got is a player who is clearly determined to prove a point – and he did exactly that. Mkhitaryan glided across the pitch, picked passes and provided three assists. He looks a lovely player. A Wenger sort of player, definitely not Mourinho’s cup of tea.
3. Big Sam’s team looks a long way short
Everton were an absolute mess, defensive shambles, they could have been five or six down by half time and were lucky it was only four.
Sam Allardyce hooked Michael Keane at half time as his season is going from bad o worse, hopelessly exposed again.
Everton’s unbalanced squad has not been improved enough during the January transfer window and Allardyce faces a difficult second half of the season in which he must improve results or face doubts as to whether he really is the right man for the job.
4. Theo Walcott returns as a hero
Walcott spent 11 and a half years at Arsenal, won FA Cups and 47 England caps. How anyone can knock his career is beyond belief. Or just perhaps is a sign of jealousy.
Walcott returned as a hero, got a great reception as he lined up for Everton and, at 28, he still has a good career and time in front of him.
It did not work out for him, he got substituted after 60 minutes, Sam Allarydce put a big consoling arm around him and clearly offered some comforting words.
Arsenal fans chanted his name as he went off, a mark of respect for a great servant and top bloke.
5. Wenger out – until they win…
Maybe it was the rain or the slight chill in the air, but the planned “Wenger Out” protest outside Arsenal’s old ground at Highbury got as little turn out as it got enthusiasm.
After 37 minutes with Arsenal 4-0 up and looking fantastic, to call for the manager to go looked more than a bit ridiculous. In fact, Arsenal fans end up making themselves look like spoilt little rich kids.
Wenger’s future is in doubt, he will want to see out his contract, Arsenal want to get back in the Champions League and a decision may be made this summer.
But on days like this, it’s easy to forget all the shouting and noise because the football is so good. And, after all, they are in a cup final…