Everton 2, Arsenal 5
Under-fire Everton manager Ronald Koeman admits his future is in doubt after Arsenal pushed the 10-man Toffees into the Premier League relegation zone with a five-goal rout at Goodison Park.
The Gunners recovered from going behind to Wayne Rooney’s early goal with a ruthless attacking display that featured strikes from Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez.
Oumar Niasse’s stoppage-time consolation goal could not prevent Everton’s seventh defeat from their last 11 games as they slipped into the bottom three on goal difference.
“I don’t know,” Koeman replied, when asked if this could spell the sack. “I told the players I believe in the players, I believe in the commitment of the players. The final result is really poor. But once again all these kinds of decisions are not really in my hand.
“We have played against the first five from the Premier League of last season. But this is not the position in the table that is good for Everton. I understand. I am working a long time in football and don’t tell me what can happen. But first of all I don’t think it’s too late.
“We lost 5-2 today. It’s a big result, even against teams like Arsenal. And OK, we’ll see what will happen.”
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, praised contract rebels Sanchez and Ozil after the Arsenal manager named them and £46m summer signing Lacazette in the same starting line-up for the first time.
“He was on fire,” Wenger said of Sanchez. “I believe that he comes back from injury and has worked very hard, Ozil as well. The two of them were sharp physically, very mobile and if you have their individual quality, that makes them dangerous against any defender.”
Of Ozil, he added: “He was superb: agile, quick, intelligent, always at the service of the team with his quality of his passing. When he is at that level he is an exceptional football player.”
Arsenal’s first away win in the league this term looked in doubt when Rooney placed a measured 20-yard shot high past Petr Cech in the 12th minute, after Idrissa Gueye had tackled Granit Xhaka.
The visitors did not equalise until five minutes before half-time, when Monreal reacted quickest to fire in a half-volley when Jordan Pickford spilled a deflected Xhaka piledriver.
Wenger, celebrating his 68th birthday, had more cause for cheer eight minutes after the break when his team swept Everton aside on the counter-attack and Ozil glanced in a Sanchez cross.
Gueye’s second yellow card with more than 20 minutes left snuffed out any hopes of a fightback from the hosts and Lacazette tucked a third from Ozil’s pass after another swift break.
Ramsey slotted a fourth and, after Niasse tackled Cech to notch for Everton, Sanchez danced past three defenders on the edge of the penalty box before drilling low across Pickford.