LIVERPOOL (AFP) – Arsenal ended their six-year wait for a Premier League victory at Everton as Leandro Trossard fired the title-chasing Gunners to a 1-0 success on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta’s side had to work hard for their first win at Goodison Park since 2017, with Belgian forward Trossard settling a scrappy encounter midway through the second half.
Arsenal were not at their fluent best but they earned their fourth win in five games this season by matching Everton’s physical approach.
Arteta has warned his players they would only end their Everton curse if they are willing to put their bodies on the line and they rose to that challenge. After leaving it late to beat Manchester United in their previous game before the international break, this was another tense affair for Arsenal.
But Trossard’s goal lifted the unbeaten north Londoners into fourth place, two points behind leaders Manchester City as they aim to avenge last season’s late collapse in the title race.
“It was a long time without a win here. We played a great game and didn’t give anything away. We dominated and the score should probably have been bigger,” Arteta said.
“Everton haven’t created a single chance. It’s about intelligence but also about the fight.
“Against Manchester United I saw my face after and it was a bit of relief. This was enjoyment.
We were patient and Leandro produced an incredible finish to win the game.” Winless Everton remain in the relegation zone as they face up to another relegation battle after narrowly beating the drop in the last two seasons.
Sean Dyche’s team headed into the game on the back of the news that the club is set to have new owners after Farhad Moshiri agreed to sell his 94 per cent stake to American investment fund 777 Partners.
Everton’s new owners got an early glimpse into the size of the task facing them as the Toffees suffered a fourth defeat in their opening five league games for the first time since 2005-06.
Arteta, a former Everton midfielder, has no such worries as Arsenal prepare for their return to the Champions League after a six-year absence against PSV Eindhoven tomorrow.
The Spaniard was rewarded with a clean-sheet from keeper David Raya, who made his Arsenal debut following his move from Brentford as Aaron Ramsdale dropped to the bench.
Raya was one of two changes, with Fabio Vieira making his first start since April in place of Kai Havertz.
“It is nothing different. I have 11 players to pick and no-one is different,” Arteta said of his ruthless decision to axe Ramsdale. Gabriel Martinelli thought he had given Arsenal the lead their dominance deserved when he slotted home from close-range in the 19th minute, but his effort was disallowed for offside against Eddie Nketiah in the build-up.
Gabriel’s pass had bounced off Everton forward Beto when Nketiah was ruled to be interfering with play, much to Arsenal’s disgust. Adding insult to injury for Martinelli, the Brazilian forward limped off with a muscle injury soon after that incident.
Arsenal were in such total command that Everton went the first half an hour without a single touch inside the visitors’ penalty area.
Ben White’s effort was saved by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, who produced an even better stop to keep out Marin Odegaard’s rocket soon after half-time. Everton’s Arnaut Danjuma fired onto the roof of the net from distance, but Arsenal finally made their pressure pay off in the 69th minute.
A flurry of passes opened up the Everton defence and Bukayo Saka deftly clipped the ball into Trossard, who guided a composed finish into the far corner for his first league goal this season.