As a game in the Premier League goes, it was about as easy a win as Arsenal are likely to get all season. Everton failed to ever really press the Gunners, and even when they went a goal up, they did not ever really look like they wanted to score a second. Indeed, the London side found it far too easy to dominate the ball and punish their hosts with five goals of their own.
The match was the nail in the coffin for Ronald Koeman as he was sacked by Everton on Monday as the club engulfed itself in further turmoil as it slid into the relegation zone. It is clear that Arsenal played the Toffees at the perfect time, and reaped the rewards.
However, things were not completely perfect for the Gunners as they conceded twice against a side that has been incredibly goal shy this campaign.
It is clear that the Gunners, while slick in attack, are still hindered by their weak defence. Granit Xhaka was culpable for Wayne Rooney’s opener as he was tackled by Idrissa Gueye after lazily strolling around in the middle of the pitch. Nacho Monreal then sold Petr Cech short for Everton’s second, with the goalkeeper inexplicably trying to take the ball around Oumar Niasse who then tapped home.
The goals did not change the result, but in bigger games where the score is tighter, Arsenal cannot afford to give their opponents any kind of momentum. Had Xhaka have been dispossessed against Manchester City to give away a goal, Pep Guardiola’s side would have used this gift and built on it to beat Arsenal.
If the Gunners want to return to the Champions League and to compete at the top, then they simply must be better at the back. Indeed, the example of Liverpool, who were punished for the defensive mistake in a 4-1 loss to Tottenham is a perfect model to avoid. The Reds defence is constantly ridiculed, and they are a long way off the top of the table because of it.