Arsenal went top of the Premier League for the first time since February 2014 as headers from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny defeated Everton. After a cagey opening, the Gunners went ahead as Giroud met Mesut Ozil’s floated cross with a deft touch. Koscielny doubled the lead two minutes later from Santi Cazorla’s ball in. Ross Barkley’s deflected shot brought Everton back into it, but Romelu Lukaku wasted an excellent, if rare, chance to level as he headed against the bar. Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech denied Gerard Deulofeu late on, but the hosts also had their chances to make the scoreline more comfortable.
Everton’s miserable evening was compounded by Gareth Barry’s injury-time dismissal as he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Kieran Gibbs. Ozil and Giroud were the scorers in Arsenal’s Champions League win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday and the two combined brilliantly to break the deadlock after an even opening half hour. But Arsenal’s fourth successive win was secured in more conventional fashion than their third. While the Gunners were penned back and starved of the ball against the Bavarians in midweek, they enjoyed 57% possession and regularly carved through Everton in an ultimately fruitless search for a third. Giroud and Ozil both hit the woodwork in the second half, with the latter sparkling with invention in a floating role behind the main striker. Ozil was ably abetted by Santi Cazorla who roamed upfield from his deep-lying position to prompt and probe as Francis Coquelin tidied behind him in midfield.
It is now 22 meetings and more than 19 years since Everton won away at Arsenal. In more recent history, Roberto Martinez’s side were fifth in the table after their win over West Brom at the end of September. Arsenal will briefly be in the #1 position until the Manchester derby on Sunday night. The Gunners have 22 points, one more than Man City who play 4th place Man United who have 19.