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Gunners benefit from slice of fortune

ALL SMILES: Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right)

TWO GOALS in three second half minutes were enough for Arsenal to see off Everton, although that far from told the full story on a sunny but chilly afternoon in north London.

Alexandre Lacazette’s beautiful, curling opener in the 56th minute was exactly the sort of reaction Unai Emery sought after a first half in which the visitors had played with more purpose and looked the more dangerous.

That the goal was supplemented moments later by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was a yard offside when he received the ball from Aaron Ramsey, rubbed salt in Everton’s wounds.

The Merseysiders encountered a Petr Cech in imperious form throughout and, on a different day with a different opponent in the opposite goal, might have been the ones to celebrate a two-goal victory.

As it was, the goals gave Emery’s side the platform to make it five wins in a row in all competitions and, almost as significantly for the locals, a first clean sheet of the campaign.

Arsenal’s defensive frailties have not disappeared and the first half loss of Sokratis Papastathopoulos to a knee injury will be of concern in the aftermath. During the match itself Everton found it easy at times to unsettle hosts still struggling to express their head coach’s vision.

Mesut Ozil and Ramsey struggled impact upon the game at times, with the former looking uncomfortable on the right and the latter seemingly unsure of the specifics being asked of him. It is also not unreasonable to ponder the efficacy of stationing Aubameyang out on the left.

Nevertheless, all contributed to the game’s telling moments and, once again, Arsenal’s quality ensured that their incoherence was not punished. Victory sent the north Londoners into sixth place, which is probably a fair reflection of their current ability.

On the opposite bench, there was much for Marco Silva to take from the performance, particularly in the attacking threat possessed by Richarlison.

Had they had more finesse in the final third the Toffees could have been looking at a first away win of the season. Instead, Silva is left to ponder a team that has taken just six points from as many matches.

No such concerns for Arsenal, who put a frazzled first half behind them when Ramsey found Lacazette in space and the Frenchman took the necessary touch to buy the space to stick the ball into the top corner past the sprawling Jordan Pickford.

There were no arguments about that one, but three minutes later, when Aubameyang received the ball from Ramsey’s fumble and buried his effort from six yards, he was allowed to proceed despite Everton’s justified protestations.

Silva’s side were not quite the same after that one-two counter-punch, even if Cech was called into action to deny Michael Keane with a superb save low to his left after the defender rose to meet Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick on 71 minutes.

It was not to be Everton’s day.

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