Catharsis. That’s what Arsenal’s 5-1 rout over Everton felt like on Saturday.
Under the floodlights at the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger’s side conjured a performance that warmed the hearts of even their most cynical fans.
Three goals down inside twenty minutes, Sam Allardyce’s team were powerless to resist, pulverized by a wave of red bombers and a reinvigorated frontline.
With a goal from debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and three assists from newly-arrived Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsene Wenger seems to have achieved the unthinkable and secured a better starting lineup than he began the season with.
In a game that gave Arsenal renewed hope for the season, then, here are five things we learned.
1 Mkhi is magic
What a performance from the Armenian.
In his first start, he was a roving maestro, an audacious skillster who set up three of his side’s five goals.
The genius in Mkhitaryan’s play was its simplicity, drifting in from his position on the right to link up wonderfully with his midfield and attacking partners.
As the game wore on, it started to look increasingly likely that the attacking midfielder might be able to produce the sort of form at Arsenal that we saw during his final season at Dortmund.
One thing is for certain though: this is the kind of performance that will have José Mourinho enduring sleepless nights.
2 Walcott woes
Theo Walcott got the reception he deserved in this game, greeted warmly by the home support at the start of the match and during his second-half substitution.
The welcome might not have been so giving, however, had he capitalised on an Everton counter-attack to score in the first half.
Walcott was full of menace on the right-hand side, giving Nacho Monreal plenty to consider with his pace and wily dribbling.
On a night were swathes of his teammates failed to turn up, the Englishman was a bright spark.
3 Rambo rifles a hat trick
Few players are as adept at exploiting space like Aaron Ramsey.
On nights like this, his ability to hurt sides between the lines of midfield and defence is unmatched.
All three of his goals were well-taken and all three were a result of intelligent movement and ruthless finishing.
His injury proneness continues to be an issue but the Welshman is a devastating asset when fit.
Playing behind a front three of Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil, Ramsey could really thrive in this new-look Arsenal side.
4 Three's a crowd for the Everton defence
With the signing of Eliaquim Mangala from Manchester City in January, Everton now boast three of the Premier League’s most highly-rated centre backs.
On Saturday, Sam Allardyce decided to play them all at once, with the hope being that Mangala’s left foot could add balance to the leadership of Ashley Williams and the brawn of Michael Keane.
Everton’s defensive triumvirate were undone, however, by the rapidity and flow of Arsenal’s movement.
Managala, in particular, was treated to a horrific evening, with a deflection directing Aaron Ramsey’s strike past a despairing Jordan Pickford.
Allardyce’s defensive instincts might have been understandable for this game, but they backfired brutally against a team in boiling form.
5 Auba wows
Of course he scored.
The arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal has been met with a worrisome chorus. Why weren’t more top-level clubs interested in him? What about his disciplinary record?
The Gabonese was rumoured to miss Saturday’s game, laid down with a fever.
He spread like a virus throughout the Everton defence though, with his brutal place exposing the visitor’s high-line repeatedly.
His debut goal was everything that the Arsenal front line has lacked in recent years – rolling swagger and lethal finishing.
Agree with our suggestions? Get in touch by commenting below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?