Mikel Arteta said Arsenal “are in a big fight” and the players “hurt right now” after suffering their eighth Premier League defeat of the season against Everton at Goodison Park. Everton ensured manager Carlo Ancelotti celebrated the first anniversary of his appointment by moving into second place in the table, while increasing Arteta’s woes. Ancelotti’s side have now beaten Chelsea, Leicester City and Arsenal in the space of seven days and while there were some anxious moments in the second half, this was a deserved win. They took the lead after 22 minutes when Rob Holding deflected Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s flick past Bernd Leno, but Arsenal were level 10 minutes before the break when Nicolas Pepe scored from the spot after Tom Davies fouled Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Gunners barely deserved to be level and Everton were ahead again on the stroke of half-time when Yerry Mina headed in at the near post from a corner. Arsenal improved after the break, David Luiz seeing a shot deflected on to the post, but Everton also had opportunities and this loss leaves Arteta’s struggling side 15th as he has no cause to celebrate his own first anniversary in a few days’ time. It was almost a year ago to the day since Ancelotti few into Merseyside from Italy to confirm his appointment at Everton before sitting and watching a thoroughly shocking goalless draw with Arsenal at Goodison Park. Arteta, the newly appointed manager of Arsenal, sat a few seats away to watch his own new team and supposedly usher in a new era of optimism. Everton had to dig deep here but they did and merited their win despite surviving some close shaves near the end. Calvert-Lewin delivered another magnificent display but it was two of Ancelotti’s signings that really caught the eye, namely Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey.
Arsenal looked exactly what they are for most of this match – a team struggling desperately near the bottom of the Premier League table. The Gunners, admittedly without main striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, should have been beaten by half-time as Everton dominated and Arteta’s side showed an alarming lack of urgency, exemplified by another poor display from Willian. There was also the lack of discipline that has been a problem this season with Dani Ceballos fortunate to escape a red card for raking his studs down Mina’s leg in the opening period. Arsenal picked up after the break but they could hardly get any worse and their tally of 14 points represents their worst start to the season since 1974/75, when they won just three of their first 14 games. There is no threat to Arteta’s position – he won the FA Cup last season after all – but there is a sense of dangerous drift about Arsenal, who have now gone seven league games without a win.