Everton Defeated By Gunners

Everton fell to a 4-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.

After a bright start for the Blues, the hosts landed a damaging one-two blow with two goals in the final five minutes of the opening period.

Bukayo Saka broke the deadlock with the Gunners' first shot on target of the contest, before a VAR ruling overturned an on-field decision of offside to allow Gabriel Martinelli's strike to stand in first-half stoppage time.

The Toffees rallied again after the interval before Martin Ødegaard added a third and Martinelli notched Arsenal's fourth late on to move the hosts five points clear at the summit of the league table.

Sean Dyche made one change from the weekend's defeat to Aston Villa, with Michael Keane drafted in for his first Premier League start of the season in place of Conor Coady.

The Blues boss, who began his reign at the Club with a memorable 1-0 home win over the Gunners last month, called on his players to "match and go beyond what [Arsenal] offer and take the game on" - and it was his side that shaded the opening exchanges.

Neal Maupay registered the first shot on target with the game less than seven minutes old, but Aaron Ramsdale comfortably parried the Frenchman's 20-yard effort before gathering at the second attempt.

The first of a series of first-half Everton counter attacks was launched moments later, with Onana winning back possession in midfield before finding Abdoulaye Doucoure to charge into Arsenal territory. He found Dwight McNeil in the left channel and the winger's low cross found Maupay, who was unable to get enough purchase on a flicked effort to test Ramsdale.

The Blues threatened with a similarly swift attack just before the half-hour mark. Led by Idrissa Gana Gueye, the ball was again worked to the left channel where Doucoure crossed for Maupay, who was this time snuffed out by Gabriel before being able to pull the trigger.

The opening goal eventually came on 40 minutes but at the opposite end of the pitch with Arsenal's first real opportunity. Saka pounced on Oleksandr Zinchenko's slide-rule pass into Everton's penalty area before clinically lashing a shot past Jordan Pickford high into the roof of the net.

It was a cruel blow - but things were about to get worse before the interval.

In first-half stoppage time, Saka pinched possession from Gana 20-yards from goal, with the ball falling into the path of the on-rushing Martinelli, who slid a low shot past Pickford. The goal would be ruled offside on the field, only to be reversed by a VAR call to compound Everton's woes.

Dyche's men came out fighting for the second half and Maupay knocked on the door again with an opportunistic half volley from 25 yards that flew over the crossbar.

Demarai Gray and Ben Godfrey were introduced off the bench just before the hour mark as Everton's second and third substitutions - after Gana made way for Mason Holgate at half-time.

That double change almost sparked an instant reaction, when, with the very next attack, McNeil weaved past Xhaka in midfield before forcing Ramsdale into a diving save at full stretch before Zinchenko nodded away with the danger with Doucoure agonisingly out of reach.

Arsenal extended their lead on 71 minutes, with Ødegaard converting Leandro Trossard's centre from the left channel before Martinelli doubled his tally late on to seal a miserable night in the capital.

Next up for Everton is a trip to Nottingham Forest on Sunday (5 March), a 2pm (GMT) kick-off.