We picked up our first away win of the Premier League season in fine fashion as goals from Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis saw off Everton.
In a compellingly open first half, we dominated right from the off and created two big chances within 10 minutes of the start.
The first saw Mesut Ozil, at his bewitching best, slip the ball behind the Everton defence with a deft flick to play in Aaron Ramsey. With a clear sight of goal, the Wales international looked odds on to score, but his low shot was palmed around the post by Jordan Pickford.
It was the first of a series of fine – if frustrating – saves by the Everton goalkeeper, who was soon called into action to deny Alexandre Lacazette from close quarters.
We were well on top – but suddenly found ourselves a goal down and the scorer, it is no surprise to say, was Wayne Rooney as he took advantage of a defensive error before curling a shot into the far corner.
It was a real blow after such a positive start, but we kept on coming, bursting forward at pace to cause real problems for the Everton backline.
Ramsey twice went close in quick succession, Bellerin then had a go from outside the area before finally, with five minutes left of the half, Nacho Monreal poked in the equaliser.
It was no more than we deserved, and we could even have taken a lead into the interval but Pickford made another good stop to deny Alexis.
But it only needed eight minutes of the second half for us to take the chance to move in front, as Ramsey, Lacazette and Alexis combined on the break, with the latter picking out Ozil to head home.
Ramsey flashed a first-time shot over the bar from 12 yards moments later, and the game continued to turn in our favour when Idrissa Gueye was sent off for a second bookable offence for a late challenge on Granit Xhaka.
We made our advantage count when, with 17 minutes remaining, Ozil broke up the right flank and into the area, before picking out Lacazette to slot home his first away goal for the club and put the game to bed.
Alexis went close with a diving header in the closing stages, before Xhaka it the bar with a fierce effort from 20 yards.
As the game entered injury time, Jack Wilshere played in Ramsey to slot home, and while Oumar Niasse pulled one back right at the end, it could not take the gloss off off a very satisfactory 68th birthday for Arsene Wenger.
Indeed, there would be one final twist as Alexis flashed in our fifth goal. What a performance, what a way to get our first away win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Aaron Ramsey was back in the team after missing our last two matches – and back in the thick of the action with a typically-energetic display.
Here are some of the Wales international’s key moments at Goodison Park:
3 – Ozil slips the ball behind the Everton backline to play in Ramsey, who takes a touch and tries to curl it around Pickford but the goalkeeper pushes it around the post
10 – Slick build-up play sees the ball come to Ramsey to the right of the area and he pulls the ball back to Lacazette, who turns and shoots but Pickford makes a fine save
16 – Alexis curls a free kick around the wall and Pickford fumbles, with Ramsey racing in to fire in the rebound but the goalkeeper saves his follow-up
18 – Ramsey collects the ball 30 yards out, and charges forward before hitting a firm, low drive that Pickford can’t hold but Williams clears
56 – Koscielny finds space down the right flank and delivers a good ball into Ramsey in the area, but his first-time shot flies over the bar
90 – Wilshere picks Ramsey out in the box with a good ball, and the Wales international slots it beyond Ramsey to wrap up the scoring
WHAT IT MEANS
We return to Carabao Cup action on Tuesday night by hosting Championship side Norwich City in the fourth round at Emirates Stadium.
The Canaries are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions, and come into the game on the back of a 1-0 win against Ipswich in the ‘tractor derby’.
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