Match Report Everton fell to their ninth defeat in 12 games to remain trapped in the relegation zone following a comprehensive defeat by Premier League leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Sean Dyche’s game plan of containment and counter-attack had been working as intended, from the defensive perspective at least, for 40 minutes but a momentary loss of shape allowed the Gunners in and then just five minutes later, another horrendous and costly error by Idrissa Gueye effectively put the game beyond the Blues’ reach given their inability to score goals of their own. Mikel Arteta’s men then simply underlined their vast superiority in the second half, sweeping the visitors aside by scoring twice more to extend their lead at the top to five points and leave Everton with a heavily bruised goal difference and in desperate need of victory this weekend in another relegation six-pointer at Nottingham Forest. Dyche had kept faith with the same players who had started his last two matches in charge, with the exception of dropping Conor Coady to the bench in favour of Michael Keane, who made his first Premier League start of the season. That meant Neal Maupay leading the line once more in the continuing absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray having to be content with a place on the bench alongside Ellis Simms. Everton began the contest full of determination and running, with a clear strategy to try and frustrate their hosts while hoping to fashion something either in transition or from a set-piece. And after a Jorginho effort had floated over the bar following a corner at one end, they had the first shot on target when Maupay took advantage of space outside the box to test Aaron Ramsdale with a decent shot that the goalkeeper pushed away to safety from Arsenal’s perspective. A minute later, the Blues were in on the counter after they won the ball back following an error in the middle from Amadou Onana but Dwight McNeil’s heavy touch in collecting Abdoulaye Doucouré’s pass forced him wide and though he was able to cut the ball across to Maupay, the Frenchman’s attempted heel flick was easily gathered by the goalkeeper. Everton were doing a good job of keeping Arsenal at arm’s length and they sprang away on the counter again in the 28th minute, momentarily with four players against only two in red shirts but Gueye opted to pass to Doucouré to his left rather than Alex Iwobi marauding down the right and once again Maupay was foiled at the near post as Dyche’s side failed to find a telling final ball. 12 minutes later, the damn broke. Oleksandr Zinchenko spotted Bakayo Saka in space between Keane, who was out of position on the left side of defence, and Vitalii Mykolenko and the England international winger needed no further invitation to turn and lash a shot inside Jordan Pickford’s near post and high into the roof of the net. If Dyche had been hoping to get to the interval in arrears by just the single goal, an inexplicable lapse by Gueye allowed Gabriel Martinelli to plunder a second in first-half injury time. The Senegalese midfielder dallied on the ball outside his own area and was robbed by Saka who prodded it off his toes to Martinelli who had no problem beating the stranded Pickford. The goal was initially ruled out by the offside flag but a check by VAR determined that Martinelli had been behind the ball when Saka touched it on and referee Michael Oliver signalled a goal. Gueye, whose concession of a penalty at Goodison Park on Saturday had allowed Aston Villa to take a lead they didn’t end up relinquishing, was hooked at the break by Dyche in favour of Mason Holgate in a direct change that deployed the centre-half in defensive midfield but the destination of the points was already beyond doubt. Leandro Trossard might have made it 3-0 in the 57th minute but miscued Ben White’s cross from the right while McNeil, arguably the top performer in Blue on the night, forced a good save from Ramsdale with a powerful shot and the rebound from the keeper’s parry evaded the onrushing Doucouré allowing Arsenal to clear. Seamus Coleman and Maupay were replaced by Ben Godfrey and Demarai Gray on the hour but the Gunners extended their lead with 20 minutes left when Trossard jinked down the home side’s left and crossed for Martin Odegaard to side-foot home. Then, after Pickford had done brilliantly to deny Eddie Nketiah after the striker had been put clean through with a ball over the static defence, Nketiah got to the byline and zipped a low cross to the near post where Martinellu stabbed it home to complete the rout. Substitute Fabio Vieira floated a late shot that dropped over the bar while Gray forced one last save from Ramsdale and Tom Davies, on for Doucouré in the 79th minute, failed to turn in the loose ball. Overall, it was a miserable night for Everton who were always on a hiding to nothing and who, perhaps harshly, suffered another heavy defeat for the club on this ground. Arsenal became the first club in English league football to beat a single opponent 100 times with his latest triumph over the Toffees but Dyche will only be concerned about Sunday’s trip to the City Ground. A win there would be only Everton’s second away from home this season but it would keep them in touch with their rivals to beat the drop and provide a massive shot in the arm for the battle ahead over the remaining 12 games. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates Everton played well for the first 40 minutes until they were cut asunder by pure quality. Then a Gana brainfart opened the floodgates. Michael Keane replaces Conor Coady to make his first Premier League start of the season with Nathan Patterson and James Garner still considered lacking fitness for the test at this level. Sean Dyche still refuses to play more than one man up front, with the familiar style of "Keep it tight and try to nick one" – backs-to-the-wall defence. Amadou Onana set the game in motion and he was soon writhing in agony from a flailing arm off Gabriel – but Arsenal git the restart? And the breaks in play came thick and fast, which may better suit the All Blues. At least Everton were prepared to press for the ball but Arsenal got forward and won a corner off Mykolenko. Jorginho played a high lob over the goal. Maupay got the ball in space and shot at Ramsdale. Onana made a terrible giveaway toOdegarrd but Gana won it back and fed McNeil for a great cross that Maupay hopelessly tried to backheel a feeble effort past Ramsdale instead of striking the ball with force. That wasted golden chance seemed to enliven Arsenal, who attacked Everton and won another corner, cleared but then lost by Maupay, and a more expected gameplan set in with Everton parking the bus. When the Blues did get the ball off Arsenal, they failed to use it with enough guile before possession reverted. After a particularly boring spell, Jorginho overhit his low forward pass through everyone. Iwobi won the ball well and drove forward, Maupay playing another daft backheel that did bring at least bring Everton's firsts corner, cleared, with Arsenal breaking at pace, Iwobi doing well to shepherd Martinelli behind. Onana collapsed with an elbow in the jaw from Xhaka, Michael Oliver reluctantly stopping play eventually. Tarkowski did well to stall Trossard. A good break led by Gana saw Doucoure find Maupay on the wrong foot perhaps? He needed an extra touch instead of shooting first time and the chance was gone. At the other end, Arsenal got a bit closer this time – their first decent ball into Everton's 6-yard box, but cleared by Tarkowski. Onan felt more unwelcome attention from Gabriel's elbow and collapsed again, but Michael Oliver was not interested. Keane did really well to break up Arsenal play in the final third but Everton could make nothing of the advantage gained. Another red surge was anticipated well by Pickford. A turnover forced by Tarkowski set up another decent spell of forward play but with no end product, despite plenty of intent and purpose, until they played it all the way back to Pickford and squandered any initiative, inviting Arsenal to probe slowly around again. And finally it came: a great ball from Zinchenko simply sliced straight through the Blue wall, Saka spinning and smacking a brilliant shot past Pickford into the roof of the net. Pure quality. From the restart, Maupay again wasted the ball up top. Everton got a free-kick upfield but they were flagged for offside after it was taken. Gana came so close to giving away a second, allowing Saka to prod the ball forward off him as he dithered inexplicably for Martinelli to finish. Immediately it was flagged offside in real time but the VAR soon decided it was not. It looked every inch offside but it's all about which frame at which the VAR freezes the motion. Crazy. Apparently offside but still behind the ball. Go figure! Dyche must have been livid. Gueye did not reappear, Holgate on in his place. But this was now a huge mountain to climb. Mykolenko did well to stop Saka, the same two players then wrestling over the ball. Everton were resorting to hoofball from Coleman then Pickford, each time gifting the turnover. Tarkowski tackled Odegaard a fraction late for the first yellow card. The ball fell to Maupay in an advanced position but his half-volley on the bounce was shockingly pathetically astoundingly well wide of the mark. He was thankfully withdrawn on the hour. Saka swung in a very dangerous ball that Trossard fortunately missed. At the other end, McNeil strode forward and actually hit the ball properly, but Ramsdale was equal to it. Keane did well to block Martinelli's cross on the overlap, at the expense of a corner. Saka and Mrtinellli almost combined at the far post. Godfrey tried to protect the ball from Trossard and he saw yellow. Onana did really well to intercept Trossard's cross but little else was happening for the hapless Blues with Arsenal in complete command since the break. Trossard overlapped again and his cutback was buried by Odegaard, Mykolenko unable to deflect it clear. Arsenal waltzed through again with an almost identical move but this time somehow failed to score a fourth. It became target practice for Nketiah, Pickford advancing well and stopping that one with his chest. Nketiah then turned provider for Martinelli at close range. The Blues were a sorry lot, just desperate to keep the score down for the last 20 minutes. A sad sight that summed up the night was that quintessential Everton product, Tom Davies, trying to bring the ball forward in a counter and stumbling all over it with his bare naked shins. Them missing an open goal by again stumbling over the ball gifted to him by Ramsdale after good work by Gray to set it up. Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (82' Tierney), Xhaka (73' Vieira), Jorginho (46' Partey), Odegaard, Saka (82' Smith Rowe), Martinelli, Trossard (72' Nketiah). Subs not Used: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Kiwior. Everton: Pickford, Coleman (60' Godfrey [Y:66']), Keane, Tarkowski [Y:51'], Mykolenko, Onana, Gana (46' Holgate), Doucoure (79' Davies), Iwobi, McNeil, Maupay (60' Gray). Subs not Used: Begovic, Mina, Coady, Vinagre, Simms. Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton are in midweek action on the heels of their defeat to Aston Villa when they make the re-arranged trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal. The Blues travel knowing that an unlikely victory would vault them back out of the bottom three but they face a huge challenge against the Premier League leaders who have re-found their feet following a run of three winless games that began in the reverse fixture of this one at Goodison Park almost a month ago. That day marked Sean Dyche’s first match in charge and he led Everton to a gritty 1-0 victory, secured thanks to James Tarkowski’s headed goal off a corner and a tremendous defensive performance right the way through the team. The Toffees’ boss will call for more of the same in North London on Wednesday evening but he will have to plan once more for life without Dominic Calvert-Lewin who isn’t expected to be ready to play again until the home game against Brentford in 10 days’ time. The striker, who will turn 26 just a few days later, hasn’t featured since his 60 minutes against the Gunners three games ago and his physical and aerial presence has been a big miss for Everton. His absence means that Dyche will need to decide between Neal Maupay, who started the last two games up front but who hasn’t scored since September, the inexperienced Ellis Simms who struggled as the lone striker at Liverpool but who has since had two promising cameos off the bench, and the club’s top scorer Demarai Gray who has yet to be named in the starting XI under the new manager. Gray’s pace and ability to produce a goal from almost nowhere makes him a strong candidate to start in a game where Everton are expected to rely heavily on counter-attacking and trying to hurt Arsenal in transition but Dyche’s comments in his press conference suggest, perhaps, that he will persist with Maupay, believing that he is due a goal. “It’s making the chances and waiting for one to go in. As long as Neal’s in there trying to take them,” Dyche said. “At the end of the day, you get in there often enough, one will go in. It goes in and it releases the weirdness of it and the noise of it, then you’re off and running. “It can change quickly for strikers. I was a defender and the ones I used to worry about were the ones who hadn’t scored in a while. It’s not far away from him, I can assure you … as long as he keeps going into the key areas of the pitch.” Dyche’s apparent preference for continuity might also see the same central defensive pairing continue at the back despite Conor Coady’s poor display against Villa while Nathan Patterson’s continuing unavailability following a knock picked up on Under-21s duty means that there will be no respite yet for veteran full-back Seamus Coleman. Arsenal are still without Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Elneny who have both been sidelined by knee injuries but Thomas Partey will be assessed for his readiness after playing the last few minutes at Leicester at the weekend following a soft-tissue complaint. The last meeting between these two sides on this ground was on the final day of last season when the Blues were still hungover from the dramatic events at Goodison Park three days earlier when they secured their top-flight status by beating Crystal Palace under former boss Frank Lampard. The Gunners ran out convincing 5-1 winners that day and while this should be a much tighter affair, it’s going to take a supreme effort from Everton, a level of confidence in front of goal they have been lacking lately and, probably, a good deal of luck if they are to come away with anything from this one. Brentford managed to frustrate Mikel Arteta’s men in the same way Everton did and grabbed a point on this ground three weeks ago, though — albeit, with a reliable marksman in Ivan Toney grabbing the goal — so nothing is impossible. Kick-off: 7:45 pm, Wednesday 1 March 2023Referee: Michael Oliver VAR: Tony HarringtonLast Time: Arsenal 5 - 1 Everton Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Doucouré, McNeil, Maupay Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.