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Three talking points as Arsenal turned up the heat on Everton boss Ronald Koeman

Rob Meech

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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.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Arsenal

Criticism of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson unfair? stats suggest he’s England’s best option

The midfielder came under scrutiny for his latest performance.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time header ensured England started the tournament with maximum points, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of points in Volograd.

A promising opening 20 minutes was encored by ponderous and slow football in the second half, after the team began looking seemingly affected by Tunisia’s equaliser.

The additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added impetus and purpose to the attack late on.

But prior to that, England struggled in pursuit of a second, and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson came under fire for what was deemed to be a lack of creativity.

Photo: Getty Images

Many fans were questioning the omission of Jack Wilshere from England duties, as Gareth Southgate opted for the Liverpool man as the regular in central midfield. But last season’s statistics show some maybe being preemptive in wanting to replace the 28-year-old this World Cup.

Squawka stats (below) show that the Liverpool man was superior to both Eric Dier and Jack Wilshere in all aspects of midfield play in the Premier League last term, suggesting he could very well be the right man to continue starting for the Three Lions.

The former Sunderland man bested his two counterparts for number of forward passes, average pass length, key passes, tackles won, aerial duels won and chances created (all per 90 minutes), which sheds some light on why he’s a regular in Southgate’s team.

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Arsenal

Fans criticise Jack Wilshere omission after Jordan Henderson’s ‘toothless’ England performance

Gareth Southgate’s bold decision is already being questioned.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.

After a promising opening 20 minutes, England’s shortcomings in front of goal were punished as Tunisia were awarded a penalty – using VAR – and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit to score a second.

But creativity was scarce from the Three Lions, in what was a stressful and frustrating half to watch for the nation.

Photo: Getty Images

And Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has come under fire for his performance in the heart of the midfield, with many believing that Arsenal‘s Jack Wilshere would have been more creative and imaginative in central midfield, if he wasn’t omitted from international duties this earlier this summer.

Henderson frequently opted for possession over creativity and was guilty of taking too many touches in the midfield yesterday, particularly in the second half and the speed of play was directly affected as a result.

Here’s the Twitter reaction:

By no means did the 28-year-old have an awful game, but his choice of pass was often safe and as a result England lacked impetus and drive in the second-half, until the additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added a spark in the final third.

Gareth Southgate will often opt for control in central midfield against tougher opposition – with Belgium on the horizon – but against the likes of Tunisia and Panama, the side can afford to take more risks and be more inventive, and the decision to leave Wilshere at home is already being questioned after just one game.

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Crystal Palace fans thrilled with reports of Jack Wilshere interest

Crystal Palace fans are keen on the reported deal.

Jamie Watts

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Crystal Palace are keen on landing long-serving Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, if the 26-year-old leaves the Emirates this summer, according to reports from Evening Standard.

A move to Selhurst Park would reunite Wilshere with Roy Hodgson, his former England manager and a coach, whose belief in the Gunner is undeniable.

Hodgson displayed his admiration for the midfielder, after taking him the 2016 Euros despite him barely playing all season and he believes he could add the perfect balance to the Eagles’ midfield alongside enforcer Luka Milivojevic.

Photo: Getty Images

Wilshere was left out of the England squad for the World Cup this summer due to his diminished role with Arsenal, and revealed his “disappointment” on the day through his official Twitter account.

It now appears he will prioritise making himself essential at both club and international level next season, and that is unlikely with Arsenal.

Having improved his fitness, which has widely been considered his primary weakness, making 38 appearances in all competitions last season, Wilshere could become a serious asset at Selhurst Park, and fans have taken to Twitter to discuss the reports.

Here’s the reaction:

Yohan Cabaye’s situation is currently unresolved at Selhurst Park, with reports suggesting that the 32-year-old could potentially move to Ligue 1 giants Marseille this summer, and the Frenchman would need replacing.

Having joined in 2015 for £10 million from French champions Paris Saint Germain, the veteran midfielder played a key role in the Eagles relegation survival, acting as the catalyst for control and mobility in the centre of the park.

Photo: Getty Images

And Wilshere would play a similar role. His agility and vision are reminiscent of Cabaye, but he has far more left in the tank.

It is safe to say the Englishman would be a real coup for Hodgson at Palace this summer and the fans agree its a deal the club should make happen.

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