Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s future at the club was put in major doubt as the Toffees slumped to an embarrassing 5-2 loss against Arsenal in the Premier League fixture at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Despite taking the lead via Wayne Rooney’s fine strike in the 12th minute, the hosts were unable to build on their excellent start and allowed Arsenal to come back into the match.
Gunners defender Nacho Monreal struck an deserved equaliser five minutes before half-time and the momentum was firmly with Arsene Wenger’s side at the interval.
Post the break, Arsenal always looked like the side more likely to score and took the lead via a rapid counter attack. Arsenal’s ‘big front-three’-Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez-started together for the first time and the trio combined beautifully to give the Gunners the lead early in the second-half.
Lacazette held up the ball well before releasing Sanchez on the left wing. The Chilean looked up and delivered a pin-point cross for Ozil to head home in the 54th minute. ??Everton tried to rally but their exuberance backfired as Idrissa Gueye was sent off for a late challenge on Granit Xhaka. The central midfielder had been cautioned in the first-half and was was rightly given his marching orders by referee Craig Pawson.
Gueye’s sending-off proved to be the turning point in the game as Everton wilted under sustained pressure from Arsenal.
Lacazette finished off a flowing counter in the 74th minute to notch his first away goal of the season before Aaron Ramsey added a fourth in the 90th minute.
Everton substitute Oumar Niasse would pull one back for the hosts in the 93rd minute but then Sanchez would register his first and Arsenal’s fifth two minutes later to ensure the Gunners register their first away win of the Premier League season.
Arsenal are now level with defending champions Chelsea with 16 points, but are fifth due to their inferior goal difference. They still trail leaders Manchester City by nine points but will take heart from their win at Goodison Park and hope their flagging season can be given a sorely-needed jolt by Sunday’s triumph.
For Everton, it’s quite grim as the Toffees now drop to 18th place and are in the relegation zone. For a club that spent quite heavily in the summer, it’s not the ideal return their owners would have wanted and it remains to be seen whether the management keeps their faith in Koeman in the coming days.