Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi were on target as Arsenal breathed new life into their Premier League title bid with an impressive 2-0 win at Everton.
Arsene Wenger’s men had not won at Goodison Park on their three previous visits in the league, but knew there was no margin for error if they wanted to maintain the pressure on second-placed Tottenham and leaders Leicester City.
The Gunners needed just seven minutes to open the scoring through Welbeck, who netted his third goal in five league appearances this season. And Iwobi capped a promising performance with the second – his first in the Premier League on his first start – shortly before the break.
Roberto Martinez’s men had plenty of possession after half-time but never seriously threatened a comeback to slump to their eighth league defeat at home in 2015/16.
The hosts started well and had an early chance to open the scoring when Seamus Coleman beat Welbeck to Tom Cleverley’s corner from the right, but the full-back’s attempt went inches wide.
Welbeck somewhat fortunately hit the woodwork shortly after following some fine individual play down the left wing, with James McCarthy’s attempted clearance taking a deflection off the England international and striking the outside of the upright.
Welbeck made no mistake shortly after, however, when, following a wonderful passage of play, he ran on to Alexis Sanchez’s clever through ball before rounding Joel Robles and slotting home.
Robles was called into action again 60 seconds later when he made a comfortable save after Iwobi nearly took advantage of some sloppy defending from Ramiro Funes Mori.
Muhamed Besic tested David Ospina with a shot from just outside the area midway through the first half, with the Arsenal goalkeeper gathering the midfielder’s effort at the second attempt.
Sanchez then felt he should have been awarded a penalty after going down inside the area under Besic’s challenge but referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on.
Arsenal doubled their advantage three minutes before the break, Hector Bellerin picking out Iwobi with a long ball and the Nigeria international coolly placed his shot under the advancing Robles.
Everton’s main threat Romelu Lukaku nearly pulled one back in the 66th minute after a fine cross from Ross Barkley, but Ospina reacted quickly to rush off his line and intercept the pass.
Phil Jagielka was next to come close after a corner from the right, only to see his header take a slight touch off an Arsenal defender as it went narrowly wide.
Martinez threw on Gerard Deulofeu in an attempt to force something late in the game, but the former Barcelona winger was unable to make a difference, with Arsenal substitute Olivier Giroud missing a late chance to add a third.
Key Opta stats:
– Danny Welbeck has now scored four Premier League goals against Everton, his joint-best return against any side (along with Aston Villa).
– Alexis Sanchez has had a hand in three goals in his last three Premier League appearances (1 goal, 2 assists).
– Hector Bellerin has provided three assists in his last two Premier League games after managing just two in his previous 46.
– Arsenal enjoyed only their third victory in their last 10 away Premier League games (D4 L3).
– Everton have conceded more home Premier League goals than any other side (28), and it’s the most they’ve ever conceded in any 38-game PL season.