Terrible Toffees gunned down by impressive Arsenal.
Everton 0 (0) – (2) 2 Arsenal
Goodison Park (Attendance:39,270)
Everton have fallen to their eighth home league defeat of the season after a first half masterclass from Arsenal condemned them to a 2-0 loss.
Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi were on target as the Gunners toyed with the Blues’ backline time and again, and could have had a penalty when Muhamed Besic tripped Alexis Sanchez in the area.
Seamus Coleman’s early chance and Romelu Lukaku’s late header were the best the Toffees could muster in front of goal in an insipid display that lacked everything from last weekend’s FA Cup triumph over Chelsea.
Roberto Martinez recalled Besic for the suspended Gareth Barry as the only change to the side that beat the Londoners 2-0 on the last eight tie seven days earlier.
And, apparently buoyed by progressing to the FA Cup semi-finals, Everton looked lively during a frenetic opening 10 minutes.
Indeed, Coleman’s near post prod from Tom Cleverley’s corner, and Ross Barkley’s wayward header, appeared to lay down an early marker to Arsene Wenger’s charges.
But on seven minutes the reigning FA Cup holders were ahead through a goal that was quintessential Arsenal.
A passage of play, which must have encompassed at least 30 passes, finally came to fruition when Mesut Ozil and Sanchez played a delightful one-two on the edge of the box.
Ozil’s incisive ball into Welbeck was inch perfect, and the England striker rounded the helpless Joel Robles to slot home the opening goal.
Moments later and it was almost two – Iwobi forcing a sprawling save from Everton’s number one as the Gunners upped the ante.
Arsenal’s 19-year-old winger saw another shot deflected behind for a corner, before Sanchez was caught in the area by a stray foot from Besic – referee Mark Clattenburg waved away the Chilean’s appeals, however, such was his theatrical fall despite clearly being clipped.
For Everton, Aaron Lennon’s rebound from a blocked Ross Barkley drive was the best the home side could create.
And their lack of penetration was punished three minutes before the interval when Iwobi struck.
Ramiro Funes Mori lost possession high up the pitch, Besic failed to prevent Arsenal’s counter attack and, with one ball, Hector Bellerin sent Iwobi scampering away down the inside right channel.
The Nigerian-born footballer carried the ball into the box, sized up Robles and calmly slotted through the Spaniard’s legs for his first league goal on his first ever league start.
The boos that rang out from the Goodison faithful at half-time were merited as new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri watched on.
John Stones replaced the hapless Besic at the interval as the Blues went three at the back but, despite a change in personnel and formation, the home side continued to create little in the way of clear cut chances.
Indeed, for much of the second period the Gunners were happy to sit and hit the Toffees on the counter, but even they struggled to create anything meaningful.
Cleverley saw a rasping drive deflected behind before another strike from the midfielder was blocked by Laurent Koscielny, while Lukaku contrived to send a Baines header down the throat of David Ospina.
Substitute Olivier Giroud fired into the side netting in added time as Arsenal saw the game out.
But the away outfit had already done enough to shoot down Everton’s hopes of building on last week’s impressive cup match.