Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta's Gunners lose again as Willian frustrates once more

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Read Jake Leach's report on another defeat for Mikel Arteta's Gunners

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta's Gunners lose again as Willian frustrates once more

Arsenal Football Club are in turmoil right now.

Nothing is clicking, the goals have dried up and the manager is under immense pressure to perform.

The club have posted their worst start to a league season since 1974, after losing 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening. 

Nicolas Pepe’s equaliser to cancel out a Rob Holding own goal wasn’t enough to gain Arsenal any points, after Yerry Mina’s header proved to be decisive on the brink of half time.

Over seasons gone by, Arsenal would always have a better starting line up than Everton.

Saturday evening's fixture at Goodison Park was the opposite. Everton have a had a magnificent start to the
season. Arsenal on the other hand, anything but.

Mikel Arteta’s side were ranked 20th in the league table on goals scored since October.

A far cry from the days of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla - which was only a few years ago.

The former is still at the club, but hasn’t been registered due to ‘footballing reasons.’

There is no way that this squad should be sat 15th in the Premier League table. But you can't argue with the fact which point to the worst start the club has had since the mid 70’s.

The first goal, an own goal from Holding, was set up by Alex Iwobi. Once a Gooner and all that.

The former Arsenal man came back to haunt his former club just like Theo Walcott did in midweek during the 1-1 draw against Southampton at the Emirates.

Half an hour had gone in Merseyside and the hosts were on top. Yet, the north Londoners were handed a lifeline moments later when Ainsley Maitland-Niles went down in the box after Tom Davies felled him.

Pepe, who had recently come back from a suspension after his explusion against Leeds United, converted the spot kick to reignite hope of three points. The succesful finish was important for the Ivorian. He has had a difficult season, he is yet to fulfil his £70 million plus price tag at the start of last season.

With a fee of that size, you simply have to perform - without even factoring in being the club's record signing.

The likes of Bukayo Saka are currently outshining the number 19. Which is great, but Pepe should be
guiding the teenager, acting as a role model and a influencer on the pitch.

Arsenal were gaining a foothold in Merseyside, until they were sent back to the drawing board.

Mina restored The Tofees lead. One thing stood out. Standing at 6”5 inches tall, the Colombian was allowed a free run from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner.

The communication at the set piece was poor, and you get what you deserve exactly when you switch off - even for a split second - against a side hungry for their third consecutive victory.

Arsenal adopted a zonal marking approaching at the corner which they conceded from. Something to work on yet again as the negatives seem to far outweigh the positives regarding that particular tactic.

After getting back into the game, Arsenal trailed 2-1 at the break. Arteta must have been frustrated at the way his side conceded the goal.

It so easily could have been prevented.

It’s never nice to single out players, but Willian had a half that would make no highlight reels.

The Brazilian has come under scrutiny since his move from Chelsea on a free transfer in the summer.

Apart from assisting three goals on match day one against Fulham, the number 12 has not lived up to his expectations thus far.

He is one of the most experienced players on the whole pitch. Sometimes you have to use this to your advantage, grab the game by the scruff of the neck and drag the team forward - something he would have learned when winning his two Premier League medals at Chelsea in 2015 and 2017.

Saka fired a free kick over the bar just shy of the hour mark. This stood out. The angle was more suited to a cross, the youngster opted for a shot instead.

The 19-year-old has probably been Arsenal’s best player this season - but at his age, this should not be the case.

It should be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ozil or Alexandre Lacazette holding that particular label, perhaps Pepe or Willian too.

The 70th minute was a big moment for Gooners. Gabriel Martinelli was introduced back into first team football since his injury in 2019/20.

In his debut campaign last season, the Brazilian scored 10 goals from 15 starts. A tremendous star for such a young, talented player with much prospect.

He had a task to turn things around. The number 35 is exciting, his technical ability, directness and pace makes him one of the hottest players under the age of 21 in European football. However, the talented youngster could not grab an equaliser meaning another loss for Arsenal to make it eight losses from 14 games in the Premier
League.

It doesn’t get any easier because Chelsea are up next but before, Arteta will reunite with Pep Guardiola in the Carabao Cup as a tie with Manchester City awaits on Tuesday. 

No wonder it feels as if Christmas has been cancelled in north London. 

Follow Jake on Twitter 

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