Rafael Benitez’s reunion with Liverpool on the blue half of Merseyside was never expected to be a joyous occasion, with the Reds in rampant goalscoring form and the Toffees losing their golden touch from the early stages of the season.
Mohamed Salah struck twice on the day after Jordan Henderson’s curling effort broke the deadlock early doors, and even though Demarai Gray threatened the unlikeliest of comebacks, Diogo Jota killed any hopes of an Everton revival late on.
With their dismal winless streak in the Premier League now standing at eight matches, Everton find themselves down in 14th in the table before Saturday’s games kick off, so they could very well drop closer to danger before Monday’s battle commences.
Six of Everton’s last eight top-flight matches have now ended in defeat – a truly alarming fall from grace given their bright start to life under Benitez – whose side have conceded eight goals and scored just one in their last three successive defeats.
Of course, Arsenal-linked Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury woes have not helped them on the goalscoring front, but a lack of solutions to the England international’s absence has been apparent, and the Gunners can feel confident of condemning Everton to a fourth defeat from five home games here.
After one of the most bizarre goals in the history of the Premier League flew into the back of the net past a stricken David de Gea, Arsenal failed to maintain the intensity following Emile Smith Rowe’s freak strike and were made to pay the price.
Cristiano Ronaldo was up to his old tricks against Arsenal with a brace on the night – although Martin Odegaard immediately cancelled out his first – and Bruno Fernandes also beat Aaron Ramsdale to punish Arteta’s young guns.
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A truly forgettable night at the Theatre of Dreams saw Arsenal’s six-game league unbeaten run against Man United come to an end, and they also missed the chance to leapfrog West Ham United into the top four, with the fifth-placed Gunners now just one point clear of Tottenham Hotspur having played a game more.
A previous defeat at Anfield last month means that Arsenal are at risk of losing three away games on the bounce in the Premier League on Monday night – which most recently happened in February 2019 – but they will welcome the chance to pit their wits against an out-of-sorts Toffees side to get back on track.
However, Everton did the double over Arsenal last term – winning 2-1 at Goodison Park before a 1-0 Emirates triumph – and the Gunners have only managed to win one of their last five meetings with the Toffees in the Premier League