Arsenal 4 Everton 0

Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points as they thrashed struggling Everton at Emirates Stadium. Sean Dyche’s side, who remain in the relegation places, frustrated Arsenal until five minutes before half-time, when Oleksandr Zinchenko’s pass played in Bukayo Saka for a thumping finish. The contest was effectively over in first-half stoppage time when Saka robbed the dawdling Idrissa Gueye to play in Gabriel Martinelli. The flag went up for offside after he drove past Jordan Pickford but the decision was overturned after a VAR check.

Everton had no answers and Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard wrapped up their third successive league victory when he side-footed home Leandro Trossard’s cross after 71 minutes. It was now simply a question of how many Arsenal would score to improve their goal difference, Martinelli adding his second and the Gunners’ fourth from Eddie Nketiah’s cross ten minutes from time. Martinelli once again demonstrated his rich promise with two crisp finishes but Saka was the star of the show, giving a glorious illustration of his significance to this Arsenal side. He became the sixth-youngest player in Premier League history, at 21, to reach 50 goals and assists as he ensured the frustration that threatened Arsenal was wiped away in the crucial minutes before half-time.

Saka gave Pickford no chance when he lashed a powerful drive past the England goalkeeper at his near post, then his speed of thought and action robbed Gueye to play in Martinelli. It was game over after that. Arsenal played so fluently as Everton subsided, and in the final reckoning the scoreline could have been even more emphatic. The Gunners’ character and resilience was put to the test after the damaging home loss to nearest rivals Manchester City, but they have responded brilliantly with wins at Aston Villa and Leicester City, then this cruise against an Everton side in desperate trouble.

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