Two goals in three second-half minutes gave Arsenal victory over Everton and took them up to sixth in the Premier League table.
Following a tight first half, in which Dominic Calvert-Lewin squandered a fine second-minute opening for Everton, the Gunners asserted control after the break.
Alexandre Lacazette swept a curling shot into the top corner from the edge of the area after Aaron Ramsey’s pass.
Shortly after, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poked in from close range after Mesut Ozil broke down the right, cut the ball back and Ramsey nudged it into the path of the Gabon international.
Replays suggested that Aubameyang was offside from Ramsey’s touch, though Everton could have few complaints from that point as a third for the hosts was more likely than a comeback from Marco Silva’s side.
Ruthless Arsenal punish Toffees
Everton had looked the more likely to score for 56 minutes at the Emirates, until Lacazette rifled in a superb opener.
Two minutes and 57 seconds later, the visitors were two goals down.
The Gunners had managed just one shot on target in the first half, with Jordan Pickford making a smart save from Nacho Monreal, but their superior quality in attack showed after the break as the club’s two most expensive signings quickly put the game beyond the Toffees.
Aubameyang appeared to be offside for the second, but Ozil was given time and space to pick out Ramsey in the build-up as a shell-shocked Everton left young full-back Jonjoe Kenny to deal with a three-on-one situation in their own area.
Aubameyang and Lacazette are forming a potent partnership for Unai Emery’s side, both scoring in three of the past five Premier League games they have started together, while only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, with 16, has scored more than the Gabon striker’s 12 league goals since his Gunners debut in February.
Emery may have been more satisfied with proceedings at the other end as Arsenal kept their first clean sheet of his tenure, although goalkeeper Petr Cech was largely to thank for that.
Richarlison impresses, but Cech comes out on top
Everton had their own record signing back in the side with Richarlison returning from a three-game ban for a red card in the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth last month.
The Brazilian scored three times in his first two appearances for the Toffees before that misdemeanour, and Silva’s side have missed the former Watford man’s direct attacking approach.
The 21-year-old made his international debut and scored twice for his country during his absence from club football, and looked sharp as he forced Cech into a number of saves, as well as curling narrowly wide in the first half.
But it was the veteran stopper who came out on top, tipping a left-footed Richarlison effort over the bar, thwarting former team-mate Theo Walcott and also parrying a Michael Keane header wide, as the Toffees’ woeful run at Arsenal continued.
“I had a lot to do today and I had to help the team stay in the game, and as an experienced player, you have to do your part,” Cech told BBC Sport afterwards.
Everton have not won away against the Gunners since 1996, but more worrying for boss Silva is the fact they have only picked up one win this season.
There were positives to take for the visitors, but they remain 12th in the table with six points from their opening six games.
Man of the match – Petr Cech (Arsenal)
‘We finished with a smile on our face’
Arsenal manager Unai Emery: “We are happy because we wanted to win for our supporters, to continue improving, and the three points are very important. We didn’t control the match like we wanted to in the first half, but our goalkeeper had a good performance to keep us in it.
“We controlled the match better in the second half and didn’t concede the chances we did in the first period. We finished the match with a smile on our face. We said we need a bit more at the break and the goal for Alex Lacazette is a good confidence-booster.”
Everton boss Marco Silva: “The result didn’t reflect the match. During the match we had four or five chances to score. Our team came to play and press high, but their goalkeeper is the best player on the pitch, and I think it reflects our performance.
“The result is disappointing for us. They had one chance and scored, and we created a lot of chances but didn’t score.
“It is a clear offside for their second goal and it is a decision at an important stage, because at 1-0, we would have kept creating problems for them. I understand the job is difficult.”
Goals, goals, goals – the stats
- Arsenal versus Everton is the highest-scoring fixture in Premier League era, with 153 goals.
- The Gunners have won 97 top-flight games against Everton – at least 11 more than any side has managed against another in top-flight history.
- Twelve of Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette’s 16 Premier League goals have been scored at Emirates Stadium – only Tony Adams, with 10 out of 12, scored a higher percentage of his league goals in home games for the Gunners (minimum 10 goals).
- Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has been directly involved in nine goals in his past five Premier League games against Everton (six goals, three assists).
- Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has conceded 18 goals in his five Premier League appearances against Arsenal, more than against any other side.
Arsenal host Brentford in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday (kick-off 19:45 BST), before welcoming Watford to the Emirates on Saturday.
Everton are back in action next Saturday when they host Fulham in the Premier League (15:00 BST).