Wayne Rooney loves playing against Arsenal
After 15 years, Rooney was playing Arsenal at Goodison Park in an Everton shirt.
And the veteran striker responded with a recreation of his famous goal in 2002 to give the Toffees off to a blistering start.
Rooney has scored plenty of goals against Arsenal for former club Manchester United but Sunday’s strike was something special. Oumar Niasse arguably fouled Granit Xhaka in the build-up, but take nothing away from Everton’s opener.
Rooney could have blasted the ball from outside the box, but chose to delicately place his shot into the top-corner and the sprawling Petr Cech never stood a chance.
At 32, he may no longer be the tour de force he once was, but for what it’s worth, is easily Everton’s most effective attacking outlet.
Arsenal’s ‘big’ front-three combine well on debut
For the first time this season, Arsene Wenger started his ‘big-three’ up top and the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil combined superbly.
Granted, they were playing against an insipid Everton side but an away win is always welcome in the ultra-competitive environs of the Premier League.
Sanchez and Lacazette posses the raw pace a player like Ozil would love supplying balls to but perhaps more crucially, they have excellent technical abilities which enable them to be effective in the final third of the pitch and that was evident on Sunday.
The likes of Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott, without any disrespect meant, simply are not in the class of Sanchez and Lacazette.
Ozil and Sanchez may not be Arsenal players by the end of the season, but surely Wenger has to play them every league game if the Gunners are to maintain the pace in the race for the Champions League spots.
Idrissa Gueye’s sending off was the turning point
Idrissa Gueye is a pretty decent player but he will be kicking himself for effectively scuppering his side’s chances of nabbing three points on Sunday.
His first yellow card was silly, a late challenge from behind on Alexis Sanchez near the middle of the pitch. The Chilean winger is a dangerman, yes, but was running into a wall of Everton players.
And the second came as Everton were chasing a goal. In a bid to harry the Gunners, Gueye slid in late on Xhaka and was promptly sent off by referee Craig Pawson.
From then on, an Arsenal win was all but guaranteed and the only question mark was how many would the away side score? Unfortunately for the home support, the Gunners fired five in total as their man disadvantage proved telling.
Time up for Ronald Koeman?
Everton are sitting in 18th place after nine games played.
That’s almost a quarter of the season over and the Toffees are looking more likely to be involved in a relegation dog-fight than battle for the European spots.
Their Europa League campaign hasn’t exactly gone to plan either and time’s almost up for the Dutch tactician.
A club of Everton’s stature deserve to be in the top-half of the table at the very least.
No excuses can be made for their continued struggles and fans best get braced with news of Koeman’s dismissal.
Gunners not quite out of the woods yet
Let’s assume that Arsenal are not likely to push Manchester City for the Premier League title race.
If not the title, then what can they achieve?
A Champions League spot would be great, for with Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Man United and City in the mix, nothing can be taken for granted.
That’s five ‘top’ sides, not including Arsenal that are expected to fight it out for a spot in Europe’s premier club competition next season.
The Gunners are in fifth, level with fourth-placed Chelsea on points, and they have an interesting fixture list lined up. After hosting Swansea next week, Gunners take on Man City and Spurs.
Time and again, they have flattered to deceive and if they really want to be considered as genuine threats, a tally of seven points from those three games is the bare minimum.
However, considering the way City and Spurs are playing at the moment, that’s a daunting task indeed and it remains to be seen if the Gunners can consistently churn out the performances that are required of a top club.