Everton's wait for a first win away at Arsenal since 1996 goes on as they were left to rue missed chances and a man-of-the-match display from Peter Cech by two Gunners goals in three second-half minutes.
Bouncing back from last weekend's 3-1 home defeat to West Ham in encouraging fashion, the Blues harried Arsenal out of their passing game during the first 45 minutes and really should have gone into the half-time break ahead.
A combination of poor finishing and inspired form from Cech meant, however, that the match was goalless as the game approached the hour mark and Unai Emery's superior attack proved to be the difference as Alexandre Lacazette broke the deadlock.
A clearly offside goal, scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but apparently unseen by the referee's assistant, less than three minutes later was the killer blow for Marco Silva's side, although Cech would deny Everton a route back into the contest with a good save from Michael Keane's header.
Silva made some unexpected changes to the side that had started against West Ham a week ago. Keane was deemed fit enough to start, albeit with a padded head band to protect his head following the hairline fracture he sustained at Bournemouth a month ago.
In midfield, Tom Davies came in for Morgan Schneiderlin and was handed the captain's armband, while in attack, Dominic Calvert-Lewin moved into the centre-forward role instead of Cenk Tosun and Richarlison returned in the wide left role.
Everton made an excellent start to the game and should have gone ahead inside two minutes. Calvert-Lewin sprung the offside trap and found himself with a clear run on Cech but with Richarlison steaming into the middle, he elected to go it alone and was eventually tackled by the keeper as the ball held up under his feet.
Jordan Pickford was called into action at the other end six minutes later and did brilliantly to save from Nacho Monreal before terrific work by Richarlison to trap the ball and then surge away from Hector Bellerin opened up his first effort on goal, a drive that Cech parried away to his left.
The Brazilian performed a similar manoeuvre a few minutes later but saw his attempt to curl a low shot home skid wide of Cech's left-hand post.
Then, when Theo Walcott was chopped down in full flight by Sokratis Papastathopoulos, it set up a direct free-kick opportunity for Lucas Digne than he whipped towards the top corner but found Cech equal to it as he pushed the shot over the crossbar.
And Cech was there again in the 38th minute as Walcott was released behind the Gunners' back line and sprinted in on goal but the Czech stopper darted off his line to save with his leg as the former Arsenal winger tried to lift the ball over him.
Emery's men enjoyed their first spell of sustained pressure as the game moved into the final few minutes of the first half but it was the visitors who finished the stronger of the two sides. Walcott knocked a long ball forward expertly to Richarlison who took off towards goal again but his left-foot shot was palmed behind once more by the goalkeeper.
Having made such a good account of themselves, Everton were undone by the first moment of striking quality from Arsenal. Lacazette ghosted into a hole behind Jonjoe Kenny on the left side of the penalty area from hosts' perspective and curled an unstoppable shot in off the far post.
Then, while Everton were still trying to regroup, a mistake by the otherwise impressive Kurt Zouma allowed the Gunners to pour through the Blues' defence where a low centre looked to have eluded Aaron Ramsey as he slipped but he was able to flick it into the path of Aubameyang. The Gabonese forward was a yard offside at least but, unpenalised, he tucked the ball home to make it 2-0.
That was effectively the knockout blow for Silva's men. Keane's header from Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick looked to be sneaking inside the far post but Cech saved low and then a shot from the Icelandic midfielder deflected narrowly over.
Tosun, on for the last 18 minutes as a substitute warmed Cech's hands with a decent shot from outside the box and Digne hit the woodwork with an attempted cross from the byline but it wasn't to be Everton's day.
The result means that Silva has started his Blues reign with just one win from six in the Premier League but he will have taken heart from a spirited display that was undone by a lack of quality up front.
Everton took the game to Arsenal brilliantly in the first half but crucially failed to score, and the inevitable happened in the second half.
This was Marco Silva's biggest test as Everton manager to date as he took his team to North London to face Arsenal, with Theo Walcott returning to take on the club where he spent 12 years.
The manager made a number of changes to his line-up, including the selection of Michael Keane after nearly a month out with a hairline fracture of the skull and the dropping of striker Cenk Tosun to the bench.
Tom Davies came into midfield at the expense of Morgan Schneiderlin and is named as captain for a second time, with the team rather unnecessarily wearing all black rather than Royal Blue. Richarlison makes his expected return to the side after serving his three-match ban but Mina is clearly not ready despite lots of talk about him in training last week. Gomes is also still not fit.
Things got underway and Everton made a very promising start, moving well down Walcott's wing. Davies played in Calvert-Lewin brilliantly behind the Arsenal defence but he took twoextra touches (rather than playing in Richarlison), completely messing up a glorious chance.
Arsenal settled, and forced a corner, cleared commandingly by the head of Richarlison. Arsenal played it slow and farted around on the edge of their area; Gana took it of Xhaka and set up a great chance, Walcott getting himself offside when it should have been the second goal.
Brilliant work by Richarlison who beat Bellerin all hands down but somehow Calvert-Lewin managed to foul rather than challenge for the ball. Arsenal created havoc at the other end, Pickford pulling off a fantastic save off Monreal.
More great work in defence by Richarlison set Calvert-Lewin to run down the left wing but he lacked any conviction and easily lost the ball. Torreira was cautioned for a shockingly poor lunge on Keane. Moss then had a strong word with Xhaka for another poor tackle.
Everton got a turnover and surged forward at pace down the right but the final ball in was to a panicked red shirt. Everton were playing very well, with lots of fouls from Arsenal, but still no shots on goal.
Some great play from Walcott to Richarlison who made space for a fair strike, but within saving range for Cech. A corner to Everton, played very deep to the far post, batted behind by Cech for another corner played from the other side and picked out by Cech.
Everton won another corner that Digne took from the right, but too close to Cech. Another free-kick to Everton, totally wasted by a silly routine with Sigurdsson and Digne carded for clipping Aubameyang after being needlessly dispossessed.
Richarlison turned brilliantly after a great pass from Digne, but curled his shot just wide. Another fine move with Walcott driving forward and Mustafi forced to down him for a yellow card. Another fantastic free-kick chance, decent this time, Digne forcing a tip-over by Cech. The corner from Digne was at least away from Cech but cleared and setting up an Arsenal attack that required some fine defensive work from Everton.
Mustafi stayed down after a midfield challenge on Calvert-Lewin, requiring treatment. Calvert-Lewin gave away a poor free-kick wide right that was cleared and fell nicely for Walcott to breakaway but he overhit it with a poor first touch and the initiative was lost.
Another fantastic chance, this time for Walcott, whose first touch was a fraction heavy, allowing Cech to come out and deny him, Walcott getting a nasty bash to his right eye. Injured Soktratis was replaced by Holding. Arsenal attacked and it looked like chaos in the Everton area, Gueye dispossessing Lacazette as he set to shoot.
In a rare good spell for Arsenal, a looping cross almost caught out Pickford, Arsenal crossing well, Everton defending well, including corners, another headed away by an Everton defender.
A great release, Walcott and Richarlison exchanging passes, ending with a fine strike by the Brazilian, but tipped over by Cech. Another better corner, driven a little deep but at least away from Cech. Torreira fouled Digne, Moss ignoring it until the players stopped.
Some really good enterprising play by Everton in a fine first half with one massive exception: no goals, despite a slew of fine, fine chances to score.
The Gunners restarted, but Everton soon won a corner, headed away by Lacazette. Sigurdsson did well to keep a ball in and put a great cross to the far post where it bounced away off Keane's bandanaed head.
Davies was putting in a fine captain's performance, always looking to play the ball forward, unfortunately with the increasingly useless Calvert-Lewin obviously offside. From an Arsenal corner laid back, Ramsey drove at Pickford. Everton advanced with the deft feet of Richarlison again creating something. The next attack was more laboured down the right and the final pass from Davies loose this time.
Another chance for Calvert-Lewin to cross in, he loses the ball. Fantastic work by Richarlison, all over the pitch, playing like a man possessed, but still things not quite working despite raucous support from the Evertonian contingent in the corner, liking what they were seeing but wanting that much-deserved goal.
Arsenal made a rare advance and claimed a handball for nothing, but they scored in the next attack, Lacazette a fantastic shot off the inside of the post beyond a despairing dive from Pickford, Kenny unable to block him.
Marco Silva immediately thought about changes but just minutes later, it was 2-0, as Arsenal waltzed through, Aubameyang offside as he scored from a ridiculous three on one situation that developed rapidly when Digne lost the ball in the middle third, and providing no full-back cover.
Silva seemed paralyzed while Arsenal now dominated, Aubameyang being replaced by Iwobi... still indecision from Silva as the life had been sucked out of Everton by those two quick cruel goals.
Calvert-Lewin broke the offside trap and galloped forward but too wide, and Richarlison could not do much with the deep cross. A dangerous free-kick, delivered brilliantly by Sigurdsson, a good downward header by Keane, but not good enough to beat Cech. Nothing from the corner, and finally, changes by Silva: Calvert-Lewin the obvious choice for the hook, with Tosun on in his place. Walcott was replaced by Bernard.
Everton got forward but this time Digne overhit his cross poorly well behind. Gueye and Davies were doing their best to halt Arsenal and move the Blues forward, but it really wasn't happening, Richarlison colliding heavily with Mustafi, who came off better despite taking one to his gonads.
The ball was no longer running for Everton, who had lost belief, Gana easily dispossessed in midfield, unable to get the ball back. Bernard laid of to Sigurdsson whose shot was deflected slightly over, the corner taken short and eventually leading to another corner, punched clear by Cech, a cross by Bernard shockingly overhit.
Tosun did well to get a sight of goal but Cech saved his shot. A free-kick had to be retaken, Keane bravely getting clocked by Cech. Everton had some nice but meaningless play around the Arsenal area in the last minute, without really threatening, a sad but telling end to a game in which Everton were seemingly destined never to score.
Scorers: Lacazette (56' minutes), Aubameyang (59' minutes)
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis [Y:30'] (39' Holding), Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Torreira [Y:15'], Ramsey (79' Welbeck), Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang (68' Iwobi).
Subs not Used: Leno, Lichsteiner, Guendouzi, Elneny.
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Digne [Y:26'], Davies, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Walcott (72' Bernard), Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin (72' Tosun).
Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, Schneiderlin, Lookman.
Referee: Jon Moss
Marco Silva's biggest test as Everton manager to date looms tomorrow as he takes his team to North London to face Arsenal.
There are a number of layers to this contest, with plenty for Silva to ponder as two teams still bedding in new managers, with the fresh approaches they have brought with them, go head-to-head in contrasting moods.
After a difficult start that saw them lose to Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal have won their three last three games which has shone an altogether more positive light on Unai Emery's first couple of months in charge.
At Everton, however, a good deal of the air has been let out of the positivity that greeted Silva's appointment and the solid start his team made to the season. Last Sunday's 3-1 home defeat to West Ham raised some searching questions about the midfield and defence… not the ideal conditions under which to be preparing for an away day at Arsenal where an Everton team hasn't won in 22 years.
After dismantling the Blues 5-2 at Goodison Park last October, the result that sealed Ronald Koeman's fate, the Gunners ripped through Sam Allardyce's Everton team in February on their way to a 5-1 thrashing that was as embarrassing as any under either manager last term.
They were the latest hammerings meted out to Toffees sides in the Premier League era and given the manner in which Silva's midfield evaporated, combined with the sheer openness of his defence at times against the Hammers, there is undoubtedly some trepidation for Evertonians in the run up to this one.
The hope is, however, that Silva and his coaching team have taken on board the worrying aspects of last Sunday while also acknowledging, perhaps, that for the vast majority of the team, it was just a “bad day at the office”, collectively and individually. Jordan Pickford will have learned an important lesson about distribution from the back and Mason Holgate's torment will have provided food for thought and some obvious areas on which focus in training this week.
One of the biggest question marks in terms of team selection involves Holgate and a possible baptism of fire for Yerry Mina*. The Cololmbian has been back in training for over a week now and could be ready to make his long-awaited bow following his August move from Barcelona.
There is some debate over whether he could step in cold to form an unfamiliar partnership with Kurt Zouma while there is another school of thought that it couldn't be much worse than last Sunday. Nor is it inconceivable that Silva could opt for a five-man defence with all three of his fit centre-halves flanked by Jonjoe Kenny and Lucas Digne.
Central midfield wasn't much better but Idrissa Gueye will hopefully be in better shape physically than the unfit-looking version that struggled through arguably his worst performance in a long time and Morgan Schneiderlin will have had time to grieve over his departed father.
While there have been calls for Gylfi Sigurdsson to be dropped back into a deeper role, maybe alongside Schneiderlin at Gueye's expense, it's unlikely that Silva will feel moved to break up his defensive midfield pairing just yet and particularly not in a game like this one.
Were he to opt for a changed brief for the Icelandic international, it would solve the conundrum of how you keep Bernard in the team — the Brazilian has certainly earned his place after last week where he was a rare beacon of light on an otherwise dark afternoon — while accommodating the return of Richarlison and keeping Cenk Tosun up front.
The Turk has drawn understandable criticism for his profligacy last time out but his work-rate in the previous two away games made him an important component of the attack and the manager may reflect that by persisting with him despite a noticeable lack of confidence.
He does, of course, have the option of deploying Richarlison, a welcome returnee after three games out through suspension, in the number nine spot and there is a strong case for such as move in the context of this game where, despite his reluctance to couch Everton as a counter-attacking outfit, Silva might be wise erring on the side of his team's strengths.
While not a typical centre-forward, Richarlison is capable of leading the line not necessarily by holding the ball but by running at defenders and releasing players arriving in support on breakaways that could capitalise on the number of players Arsenal are wont to move forward when they attack. With his compatriot in the centre, it would allow Bernard to play wide left (with Sigurdsson retaining his role behind the striker) or in the No.10 position, a role in which last weekend's game suggested he could excel.
Ultimately, assuming the manager sets his stall out correctly and adopts the right defensive posture, this could come down to an issue of mentality for Everton. In the likes of Richarlison, ex-Gunner Theo Walcott, Bernard, Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne, the Blues have players capable of causing Arsenal some real problems.
While his Hull team were beaten 2-0 there in February last year, Silva's Watford beat the Gunners 2-1 at Vicarage Road last season and he had one of the better results of his managerial career at the Emirates in charge of Olympiakos who came away with a 3-2 win in the Champions League three years ago. So he has previous of sending teams out to face what has always been talented opposition with no fear and everything to play for.
Under Emery, Arsenal have shown that they can be vulnerable defensively and if Everton can get at them early and sow some doubt in both their players and their crowd, then there is every chance they could get something from the game.
Kick-off: 4pm, Sunday 23 September, 2018
Referee: Jon Moss
Last Time: Arsenal 5-1 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Kenny, Mina*, Zouma, Digne, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Bernard, Richarlison
* Marco Silva has since ruled out starting Mina in this game