Leandro Trossard’s second half strike was enough to beat an insipid Toffees side in front of 39,217 fans at Goodison Park on Sunday.
It was a grey afternoon for the blue half of Merseyside in more ways than one, as the Gunners Belgian international broke the deadlock against an obdurate if limited home side.
While the pre-match discussion may have been about boss Mikel Arteta’s decision to promote David Raya to become his No1 keeper, usurping previous incumbent Aaron Ramsdale, Trossard, the former Brighton attacker, ensured the day ended with renewed talk about Arsenal’s title chances.
Trossard, whose strike was only his second for the club since swapping the south coast for North London back n January, made the most of his time on the pitch, after replacing the injured Gabi Martinelli midway through the first half, moments after the Brazil star had a goal chalked off by VAR for offside.
Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford was the far busier of the two keepers, while Raya, a summer loan signing from Brentford, was reduced to giving glimpses of his excellent distribution - so little was troubled by Sean Dyche’s uninspiring side amid a depressingly moribund Goodison - in spite of, or perhaps in light of the club’s takeover by an underwhelming sports syndicate.
While you could stake a powerful case that Arsenal’s previous first choice netminder Ramsdale had done little to deserve being dropped – in fact the former Sheffield United shotstopper had only just returned from England duty, in which he featured at Hampden Park, ironically ahead of Pickford, during the Three Lions impressive 3-1 victory over the Auld Enemy, the decision by Arteta sent a powerful message to his squad, and the watching world.
So, too did the result.