Arsenal’s new boys enjoyed fine debuts, but it was the tried and tested Aaron Ramsey who stole the show.
The Emirates greeted Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal players for the first time. Our two new signings put in fine performances while Aaron Ramsey bagged his first hat-trick for the club.
The damage was done in the first half as three goals – two from Ramsey, and one from Laurent Koscielny – within twenty minutes left Everton reeling. By half-time, it was 4-0 thanks to Aubameyang’s first for the club.
Everton rallied in the second half and got a goal back through Dominic Calvert-Lewin, before Ramsey completed the scoring with his third of the night.
It was a fine performance, and here’s how the players go on.
1. Petr Cech 6
After his poor performance against Swansea, Cech would have been thankful for a much quieter night against Everton. He was rarely tested throughout his time on the pitch. Unfortunately, he had to go off injured. That 200th Premier League clean sheet also continues to allude him.
2. Laurent Koscielny 7
Up against a speedy front-line all match but read the game well. The timing of his tackles and interceptions was impressive. Getting on the score-sheet was a nice bonus. One needless late tackle on Oumar Niasse in the first half, for which he was booked, was the only blight on his display.
3. Shkodran Mustafi 7
Mustafi was certainly up for the game and showed that with a number of crunching tackles and last-ditch blocks. The German celebrated his goal-saving tackle on Theo Walcott as if he’d scored a goal. His flick-on for Koscielny’s goal was excellent. The one blight was also picking up a needless yellow for a late tackle.
4. Hector Bellerin 6
Bellerin might have expected a tough evening against Yannick Bolasie but found himself with little to do. He combined with others well in midfield and attack, but otherwise had an easy night.
5. Nacho Monreal 6
Didn’t have to worry about Walcott as spent most of the first half taking him the other way. He was a constant outlet on the left hand side and eager to get on the score-sheet. He was unlucky not to score, as his header hit the post. Had to go off at half-time due to illness, but should be okay for Spurs next week.
6. Granit Xhaka 6
His inclusion from the start was a little surprising but he justified it with a solid performance. He didn’t have much defending to do, and enjoyed playing in a side that provided him plenty of passing options. It was one of his better performances in recent weeks.
7. Aaron Ramsey 9
The biggest beneficiary of Arsenal’s new attack. His running off the ball created mayhem in the Everton defence, and found him unmarked in their penalty area twice. While the first goal was a tap-in, his third of the night was expertly taken. His general midfield play was also excellent as he spread the ball wide. Ramsey was in fine form before his injury, and now seems to picking up where he left of.
8. Henrikh Mkhitaryan 8
Three assists in a performance that showed us what Mkhitaryan is all about. He constantly found pockets of space in front of Everton’s defence and hurt them with his pin-point delivery. His link-up play with Aubameyang was notable and gave us a glimpse of what could be to come.
9. Mesut Ozil 7
Ozil ensured that our attack was cohesive and got the ball into good areas for our new attackers. Created numerous chances in the first half, including one excellent down-field pass that sent Aubameyang away. Seemed to tire in the second-half and faded, but his work was already done.
10. Alex Iwobi 6
Perhaps another surprise inclusion in the starting line-up. Iwobi was energetic throughout the game and made a number of excellent runs off the ball. His link-up play with his fellow attackers was encouraging. Not everything came off for him, but this was a bright and positive performance.
11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7
Was he offside for his goal? Absolutely. Do we care? Absolutely not. Aubameyang opened his account for the club in fine style. His pass for Mkhitaryan during the opening goal was excellent, and the way he burned up the Everton defence on the counter was thrilling.
12. David Ospina n/a
A late replacement for the stricken Petr Cech. Bar one unconvincing punch during a corner, he managed to get through the game without incident.
13. Sead Kolasinac 5
A half-time replacement for Monreal. He was wayward with his passing, and seemed unsure of his positioning throughout the second-half.