Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 5-2 thumping of Everton at Goodison Park that has intensified the pressure on Ronald Koeman.
The Gunners had been smarting after defeat to Watford last weekend, but they responded in the best possible fashion on Arsene Wenger’s 68th birthday. His opposite number, Koeman, has nothing to celebrate, however.
Everton’s latest reversal has dropped them into the relegation zone and they have taken only four points from their past seven fixtures. Here are three talking points from an incident-packed afternoon on Merseyside.
Ronald Koeman’s tenure is hanging by a thread
He projected an image of calmness in his post-match interview, but inside Koeman must now be fearing for his job. Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri gave the beleaguered Dutchman his backing a fortnight ago, but this shambolic performance, which he witnessed in person, will have alarmed him.
Koeman was allowed to spend more than £100 million in the summer transfer window in an attempt to break into the top four, but the Toffees look disjointed and totally bereft of confidence. The goals of Romelu Lukaku have not been replaced and their ageing defence is being exposed at the highest level. It seems to be only a matter of time before Koeman is relieved of his duties.
Arsenal respond to Troy Deeney’s stinging criticism
In the aftermath of their 2-1 reversal against Watford, Arsenal came in for a public rebuke from Hornets’ striker Troy Deeney, who accused them of lacking ‘cojones’. It was a comment that infuriated Arsene Wenger and a number of his players. This victory was the perfect rebuttal.
After conceding to an early goal from Wayne Rooney, the Gunners showed that they can bounce back from adversity. Once Nacho Monreal had equalised, there looked like being only one winner. Arsenal were rampant, particularly in the second half after Idrissa Gueye had been sent off for a second bookable offence. Their first away victory of the season has seen them climb to fifth, level on points with Chelsea.
Jack Wilshere takes another step on his comeback trail
The game was effectively over when Jack Wilshere was introduced as a 77th-minute substitute for his first Premier League appearance in an Arsenal shirt in nearly 18 months. The creative midfielder spent last season on loan at Bournemouth before fracturing his leg against Tottenham Hotspur back in April.
Wilshere had been restricted to game time in the Europa League, where he has impressed, before finally tasting Premier League action once more. The 25-year-old is prodigiously talented and still has ambitions to make in into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next summer’s World Cup. To do that, he needs to stay fit and become a central figure for Arsenal this season.