Post-Match Report

Match report: Arsenal 5-1 Everton

Everton -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
  Arsenal
      
                  Martinelli (27 pen)
                   Nketiah (31)
                   Cedric (56)
                   Gabriel (59)
                   Odegaard (82)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Martinelli (27 pen)
Nketiah (31)
Cedric (56)
Gabriel (59)
Odegaard (82)
5 1
  Everton
      
              van de Beek (45 + 3)
          
   crest
Everton
van de Beek (45 + 3)

WHAT HAPPENED

We finished the season in style, scoring five in a dominant performance against Everton in the north London sunshine.

Results elsewhere meant that the win wasn’t enough to secure Champions League qualification, but a finishing position of fifth – with 69 points (our highest tally since 2018/19) – represents a marked improvement on last season.

The Everton fans were in full voice as the game kicked off, still celebrating confirming Premier League safety on Thursday night, but it was the home side who started on top.

The opening 10 minutes was played almost exclusively in the Everton half, with Martin Odegaard having a shot blocked and Bukayo Saka firing over before Gabriel Martinelli was denied at close range by Asmir Begovic. It was a great chance to open the scoring, from a central position, eight yards from goal.

We had racked up eight attempts on goal in the first 20 minutes, and the ninth shot resulted in a penalty.

Martinelli’s goalbound effort struck the arm of former Gunner Alexander Iwobi, and after a VAR review, the spot kick was given.

Martinelli stepped up to take and his effort was comfortably dispatched beyond Begovic to give us the lead.

Eddie Nketiah doubled the advantage with a well-taken header at the near post from a Saka corner, flicked on by Martinelli on its way through.

The corner was won after good work from Cedric and Granit Xhaka – the midfielder making his 250th Gunners appearance.

We could have had the third goal that our first-half dominance would have warranted, only for Saka to shoot just wide after breaking free from near the halfway line.

In fact it was Everton who went in on a high at half-time, scoring with the very last kick of the half. Our defence seemed to lose concentration for a moment, and were punished when substitute Donny van de Beek tapped into an empty net from close range.

It was a sloppy goal to concede and it took the gloss off an otherwise impressive opening 45 minutes.

A crisp finish early in the second half restored the two-goal cushion though. Again it came from a corner. Saka picked out the full back arriving into the area, and the Portuguese defender guided a first time shot through the crowd.

We were back in control, and yet another goal from a corner made it 4-1. Saka’s ball found its way to Cedric again, this time his shot was charged down but it fell nicely to Gabriel to sweep home his fifth goal of a fine campaign.

The fifth was the pick of the afternoon. It came from the boot of Odegaard, and it was well deserved for an excellent display.

He picked the ball up from Nicolas Pepe, then strode into the penalty area before tucking into the corner.

News from elsewhere in the Premier League had filtered through to the crowd by now, but this performance was certainly something to give plenty of encouragement going into the summer.

WHAT IT MEANS

We finish the campaign in fifth place, securing a place in next season's Europa League.

WHAT’S NEXT

That’s all for season 2021/22 – next season we will compete in the Europa League, our 37th campaign of European football.

The fixtures for the 2022/23 Premier League – the 30th season of the competition’s history – will be announced on June 16 and the opening games will be played on August 6.

The draws for European competition take place on Monday, August 1.

Before then we’ll have a full programme of pre-season friendlies, starting against Everton again, this time in Baltimore, USA on Saturday, July 16.

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