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PREMIER LEAGUE OCTOBER 22, 2017: EVERTON 2 ARSENAL 5

Everton’s struggles continued as Arsenal came from behind to record a 5-2 victory at Goodison Park.

The Blues took an early lead as Wayne Rooney curled home a superb right-footed effort into the corner of the Sir Philip Carter Park End net, a goal that evoked memories of his first senior goal for the Club back in 2002.

But the Gunners went in level at the interval as Nacho Monreal prodded home from close range after Jordan Pickford had parried Granit Xhaka’s deflected shot.

Mesut Ozil’s header put the visitors in front eight minutes into the second period, before the Toffees were reduced to 10 men when Idrissa Gana Gueye saw red for a second bookable offence.

Alexandre Lacazette extended the lead with 16 minutes remaining, side footing home after a clinical counter-attack, before Aaron Ramsey slotted a fourth in the final minute.

The scoring wasn’t over, however, as substitute Oumar Niasse forced Petr Cech into an error and tapped home from close range before Sanchez went down the other end of the pitch and restored Arsenal’s three-goal advantage in added time and sealed the result.

The declaration of the teamsheets revealed that Jonjoe Kenny played at right wing-back - the youngster’s first-ever start in the Premier League. Phil Jagielka and Rooney both returned after being rested for the Europa League defeat to Lyon, while Nikola Vlasic was deployed in the more unfamiliar holding midfield role.

Everton had to be thankful to three top-class save from Jordan Pickford inside the opening 10 minutes. 

Firstly, Sanchez broke forward and Ozil played a clever flicked pass into the path of Ramsey whose curling low shot was tipped - with the finest of touches - around the post by the Blues’ number one.

Arsene Wenger’s side began with intent and in the next attack, Pickford again had to be alert to this time push Lacazette’s effort behind for another corner.

The keeper’s third straight intervention was his best however, a sprawling save to deny Lacazette for a second time, this occasion from close range after the French international had pivoted eight yards out.

How crucial those contributions proved to be as Rooney then produced a piece of magic to give Everton a 12th-minute lead.

Fifteen years and three days earlier, 16-year-old Rooney had announced himself to the wider footballing world with his unforgettable, arcing strike against the same opponents at the same end of Goodison Park. His goal - this time past Cech - was not too dissimilar, a whipped finish from outside of the penalty area.

Whereas back in 2002, Rooney had David Unsworth to thank for winning possession and starting the move, this time it was Idrissa Gana Gueye who robbed Granit Xhaka and set Rooney on his route forward.

Everton then sensed a second when a lack of concentration from Cech almost presented an opportunity to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, only for the Czech veteran to recover in the nick of time.

In a frantic, end-to-end start, Arsenal responded with another series of shots which tested the impressive Pickford, the most notable save being from a crisply-struck attempt from Ramsey after the Everton glovesman had initially parried Sanchez’s attempt.

The Goodison crowd particularly appreciated the intensity in Vlasic’s play during the first half. Located alongside Gana in the middle of the pitch, the Croatian was constantly willing to break forward and carry the ball every time he picked up possession.

But six minutes before the break, Arsenal netted a leveller through the unlikely source of left-back Monreal. Xhaka’s shot from distance clipped the legs of Gylfi Sigurdsson which wrong-footed Pickford who adjusted to make the save. However, Monreal was quickest to react and he prodded home the rebound to leave the contest in the balance at half-time.

Everton reappeared with a change in personnel; Tom Davies took the place of Ashley Williams, which meant a switch to a four-at-the-back and Vlasic moving over to his more customary right-wing position.

The Blues started the second half positively but were hit on the counter when Mesut Ozil rounded off a swift break down the Arsenal left with a deft near-post header. Sanchez cut back on his right, delivered an inswinging centre and the German stole in to nod the visitors into a 2-1 lead.

Everton sought for a route back into the game but a red card for Gana - brandished after a second booking for a foul on Sanchez in the 68th minute - hampered the Toffees’ chances.

Arsenal capitalised on the numerical advantage and shortly after Gana’s dismissal, Arsenal struck their third goal of the afternoon. Ozil escaped down the right wing and from the German’s cut-back, Lacazette found the top corner of the net with a first-time shot.

Manager Ronald Koeman introduced attackers Niasse and Ademola Lookman for the final quarter of an hour in an attempt to retrieve something from the contest.

But as the hosts committed bodies forward in an attempt to get back into the contest, substitute Jack Wilshere slipped in Ramsey to slide home into the Park End net.

There was still time for two more goals in the five minutes of additional time.

First, Niasse caught Cech in possession and applied the simplest of finishes from inside the six-yard box, then, seconds later, Sanchez unleashed a low drive into the bottom corner of Pickford’s net after a mazy run across Everton’s penalty area.

Attentions now switch to a clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bride in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

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