Everton produced a superb performance to see off Arsenal 1-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. In truth, the Gunners were fortunate not to lose by a bigger margin, as Marco Silva’s side missed a number of chances in both halves of the game, having 23 shots on the visitor’s goal.
In the end, though, an early tap-in from veteran centre-back Phil Jagielka from a few yards out was enough to seal the victory for the Toffees.
Away day blues for Arsenal
Arsenal looked lethargic and seemed to be second to every ball. There was little inspiration from the north London side, in a game they needed to win in the chase for a Champions League.
However, as so often this season, the Gunners came up short on fight and quality on their travels. Unai Emery’s team has now won just one of their last nine away games in the Premier League.
Their recent away record is a woeful one for a team that has aspirations of finishing in the top-four this season. The Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet on their travels in the Premier League this season. With four of their remaining six league games away from north London, it could be an anxious time between now and the end of the season.
Everton look to be progressing
It has to be said that Everton played their part in the Gunners woeful display. The Toffees outfought and outthought the visitors all over the pitch. The Merseysider’s worked harder and showed more going forward. One criticism is that Silva’s team should have won by a bigger winning margin.
The doubts about boss Silva seem to have been eradicated in definitive style by three successive wins, all achieved in a different manner. The common theme in all three wins was that every player seemed to work hard and back up their teammates, ironically qualities Arsenal lacked at Goodison Park.
If the Toffees can take this sort of form into next season after strengthening their squad in the summer, then they could be a real threat to the top six in the new season.
Arsenal still in a good position in Champions League race
Arsenal are fourth in the table and still one of the favourites to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season. However, Chelsea could leapfrog the Gunners with just a draw in their home match with West Ham.
The league’s top two of Liverpool and Manchester City have already taken two of the Champions League spots for next season. Then Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are all competing for the last two Champions League places.
The Gunners still have fourth place in their own hands. However, whether they seal a lucrative spot in Europe’s elite competition will depend on the side from north London improving on their travels until the end of the season.
Emery’s side travels to Watford, Leicester, Wolves and Burnley, who all still have something to play for this season. If the Gunners produce a similar performance to that they produced on Merseyside, then they will struggle to qualify for the Champions League.
Can Arsenal overcome their travel sickness to seal a top-four spot?