Arsenal managed to pick up all three points in a hard fought affair with Everton at The Emirates this evening. After a fast start from Everton, opening the scoring inside the first minute, Arsenal responded well to turn it around.
They were pegged back just before half-time and conceded an equaliser, only to come out with a bit of early lightning of their own inside the first minute of the second period to make it 3-2, which is how it finished.
Nketiah on the score-sheet
Eddie Nketiah started his second consecutive Premier League game today and managed to repay a little bit of that faith from manager Mikel Arteta, bagging his first Premier League goal of the season.
The goal came as Bukayo Saka whipped an outstanding ball into the box from the left wing, Nketiah came running onto it opened up his foot and guided it past a helpless Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
That’s now two goals in four appearances for Nketiah since he returned from his loan spell at Leeds United. The kid is turning into a fantastic player and doesn’t look at all out of place in a Premier League football team – long may it continue.
Saka turning into an outstanding footballer
Speaking of players who don’t look out of place in the Premier League, step up Bukayo Saka. He didn’t start the game today as Arteta opted for Sead Kolasinac in the left-back position. However, an injury to the Bosnian 20 minutes in meant Saka’s relaxed afternoon came to an early end – not that he cared.
Saka came on and straightaway, Arsenal looked much better as he consistently raced down the left wing, crossing balls into the area. The one he delivered for the Nketiah goal was nothing short of sublime, and made it three assists in his last three games.
Saka has become an outstanding footballer this season, and I’m very much enjoying watching him play week in, week out. Arsenal need to get that kid a new contract as soon as possible…
Dominic Calvert-Lewin Resurgence under Ancelotti
Since Carlo Ancelotti arrived on Merseyside, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been brilliant. He has seven goals in nine appearances in the Premier League since Ancelotti’s first game in charge – the 1-0 win over Burnley on December 21 in which he bagged the only goal.
In the 18 Premier League games before Ancelotti arrived at Everton, Calvert-Lewin had scored just three times.
This kind of upturn in form has come at just the right time for him too, especially with the European championships just around the corner. With Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford both out indefinitely, there is a striker shaped opening in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
I’d say, of the pack jostling for a position in the squad for the European championships, in what will hopefully be a back up role to Kane, Calvert-Lewin is just about leading the race right now. As for the games against Italy and Denmark coming up in March, he is an absolute shoe-in for a spot.
Andre Gomes returns for the Toffees
Andre Gomes came off the bench this afternoon to make his first Everton appearance since that awful injury back on November 3. As I’m sure you all remember, Gomes broke his ankle quite viciously as he collided with Son Heung-Min and Serge Aurier during that game at Goodison.
For him to have recovered from an injury that serious in just three months is very impressive. Very glad to see him back on the football field and look forward to watching him play for the rest of the season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comes up clutch for Arsenal again
Today, as he is so often is, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was the hero of the day for Arsenal with two goals to win the game for Mikel Arteta’s side.
His first was a quite brilliant run off the left wing to latch on to a David Luiz through ball, he glided into the area and finished with aplomb into the far corner of Pickford’s goal. Gary Neville on commentary said it reminded him of Thierry Henry, and it’s hard to disagree.
The second goal came less than 30 seconds into the second half as he directed a header from a Nicolas Pepe cross into the bottom corner, once again leaving Pickford with little to no chance. That was the goal that would, in the end, win the game for the Gunners.
He now has 17 goals in 25 appearances in the Premier League this season, taking him level with Leicester striker Jamie Vardy at the top of the goal-scoring charts. After a (joint) golden boot winning season last season, he looks on course for another this year – if he keeps up this form, it’s hard to see him not scooping the award once more.