Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck within three second-half minutes of one another to earn Arsenal a 2-0 home win over Everton in the Premier League.
Everton were the more threatening side during Sunday's first half at Emirates Stadium, but a quickfire double from Arsenal's attackers secured a fourth straight Premier League win.
The Gunners were grateful to Petr Cech for keeping the scores level at the break, the veteran goalkeeper saving twice from Richarlison and keeping out Lucas Digne's free-kick.
But Aaron Ramsey set up Lacazette and Aubameyang in quick succession to move Arsenal up to sixth, with Everton beaten again after a 3-1 home loss to West Ham last time out.
Nacho Monreal forced an early save from Jordan Pickford in an error-strewn start, with Cech denying Richarlison on the Brazil international's return from suspension.
Digne's whipped free-kick tested Cech again in the 31st minute before Arsenal had to make a change at the back, with Rob Holding replacing the injured Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Aubameyang's mishit cross deceived Pickford and bounced off the crossbar, while Richarlison's powerful drive needed another intervention from Cech.
Referee Jon Moss waved away Arsenal penalty appeals in the 55th minute when Jonjoe Kenny appeared to block Aubameyang's header with his arm, but the Gunners soon took the lead.
Ramsey, who struck a hat-trick in this fixture last season, fed Lacazette and the striker thundered home an unstoppable drive that clipped the post on its way into the top-right corner.
Before Everton had a chance to respond it was 2-0 and game over, Aubameyang slamming home - albeit from an offside position - after Ramsey flicked on an under-hit Mesut Ozil pass.
What it means: Emery needs better players
Arsenal had almost two-thirds of possession during the first half but his team did very little with it, while they looked wide open at the back every time Everton attacked. An anxious home crowd was tense every time Arsenal took risks on the ball and if Unai Emery is going to remain committed to his passing style he likely needs upgrades on players such as Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka, who was typically ineffective on his 100th appearance for the club. But they were still good enough to beat Everton, who are going backwards after a strong start under Marco Silva.
Cech adds to Leno frustration
Much has been made of Cech struggling with the ball at his feet but he made a pair of crucial first-half saves with his legs to keep Arsenal level. Rival goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who started in the Europa League on Thursday and has made it clear he did not join from Bayer Leverkusen to sit on the bench, may have to wait a while longer for his Premier League debut.
Ozil offers little
With Henrikh Mkhitaryan missing through injury, the onus was on Ozil to be the creative force for the Gunners. But the playmaker was unable to get involved in the game or pick his way through a deep-lying Everton defence. Instead it was Ramsey who provided a pair of assists, with Ozil lucky to get away with a poor pass in the build-up to Arsenal's controversial second goal.
Key Opta facts
- Aubameyang and Lacazette have both scored in three of the last five Premier League games they have started together.
- Twelve of Lacazette’s 16 Premier League goals have been scored at Emirates Stadium (75 per cent). Only Tony Adams (83 per cent - 10/12) scored a higher percentage of his goals in the competition in home games for the Gunners (minimum 10 goals).
- Since his debut in England's top flight, only Mohamed Salah (16) has scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang (12).
- Ramsey has been directly involved in nine goals in his last five Premier League games against Everton (six goals, three assists).
3 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have both scored in three of the last five Premier League matches in which they have started together. Association. pic.twitter.com/w2kZTTm4HU— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 23, 2018
EFL Cup action is up next for Arsenal - they host Brentford on Wednesday - with a week of home games completed by Watford's Premier League visit on Saturday. Everton, having suffered successive league losses, welcome Fulham to Goodison Park on the same day.
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