Very damaging defeat

Third successive away loss.

Arteta and the team must learn to keep leads or they are going nowhere fast. Seems like the side gets into destructive ruts which is dangerous habit. Lack of experience doesn’t help – particularly with hugely experienced and elite managers in the six teams currently above Arsenal in the table.

A horrible niggly game in the rain where Everton players got away with dangerous fouls not least Godfrey who was lucky not to see red with a boot in Tomiyasu’s face. And Arsenal showed lack of character.

Thomas Partey – hard to be a leader when out of form

At 1-0 up, defending a lead, Arsenal seem they can’t attack. After the Everton equaliser, it seemed to kick-start Arsenal who went into attack mode. But along with the inevitability over the equaliser, there was a similar déjà vu over the Everton winner.

Although Arsenal got away with a couple of goals conceded via tight offside decisions, the perceived injustice galvanised the crowd which fed the Everton players to drive to victory.

Arsenal need experience. Partey appeared to give the ball away to Everton players more than passing to his own side and his sloppiness at a throw in lead to the equaliser; Xhaka on an unnecessary yellow, let Gomes attack down the centre which led to the winner. Lacazette did very little. It is the senior players who have to fight and show character for the youngster to follow – or the plan won’t work.

Tierney was back in a four. Xhaka retuned early. Lacazette came in for Aubameyang.

There were two changes for Everton, who were exhibiting players bought under 7 different managers.

It was dreadful fare in the first half – just above a relegation struggle sort of game. Arsenal were slow given the situation. Maybe still feeling the defeat at Old Trafford. Maybe too many returners lacking match fitness. Players lost possession regularly.

How would the threat of the 27th minute protest affect Everton? A few Everton fans left the ground, but largely there was a rally.

Everton attacked quite easily down the right finding space when Tomiyasu was forward.

And in a foretaste of what was to come, Gray cut in from the left, ran 30 yards and fired over.

On 17 Tierney broke clear, found Saka who passed to Odegaard, who found Partey who skied it high – showing his lack of form and confidence.

Godfrey came in unnecessarily hard on Saka – knee on knee. Then assaulted Tomiyasu with a boot in the face while he was on the ground.

Gabriel gave a foul away on Richarlison. Townsend sent it in and the Brazilian found the net – but was marginally offside.

Gabriel found Martinelli, who dragged Keane out of position before passing to Lacazette who found Tierney who crossed for Odegaard who volleyed off his shin into the net.

Godfrey got a yellow for stamping on Saka’s foot.

Arsenal played better in the second, with faster low diagonals. Until Dacoure found Richarlison whose shot into the net was ruled out for offside.

Martinelli rounded Pickford but his lob from a tight angle went behind.

Sloppy play between Partey and Tavares, on for Tierney saw Gomes pick up the ball with ten minutes left. He found Gray whose shot hit the bar but Richarlison was nearby and headed over Ramsdale and into the net. It seemed inevitable.

Saka sent a cross and Nketiah missed an open goal hitting the post when scoring appeared easier.

Odegaard had a chance but was blocked by Coleman.

Then Gomes drove through midfield with Xhaka not tackling him due to his idiotic yellow. He found Gray who cut in hit the post with the ball deflecting into the net.

Nketiah drove forward and found Aubameyang – who lazily side-footed it past the post.

Benitez said: “When “fans and players stick together we are stronger. Everyone is pleased fans, players and staff. The reaction was brilliant. Commitment and character is what we expect with the fans behind us.

“The players are strong mentally. The fans are expecting commitment. They appreciate that. They want to see the team getting better.”

Arteta said; “We were inconsistent with the ball. No penetration, no threat. In the second we missed four big chances and conceded a sloppy goal.

“Giving the ball away and sloppy passes wasn’t good enough.

“Pressing high, we lost a few duels. We conceded a goal from a throw in.

“What I want is more from my team – we had the game under the control.

“I’m concerned about the way we played and the execution of what we wanted to do.”

Everton 2 Arsenal 1

Everton: 1Pickford, 23Coleman, 13Mina (Substituted for Holgate at 31’minutes), 5Keane, 22Godfrey (Booked at 51mins), 24Gordon (Substituted for Iwobi at 87’minutes), 16Doucouré, 6Allan, 11Gray (Booked at 90mins), 14Townsend (Substituted for André Gomes at 66’minutes), 7Richarlison

Arsenal: 32Ramsdale, 18Tomiyasu, 4White, 6Gabriel, 3Tierney ( Substituted forTavares at 65’minutes), 5Partey,   (Booked at 63mins, 7Saka, 8Ødegaard (Booked at 74mins0, 35Martinelli (Substituted for Nketiah at 71’minutes), 9Lacazette ( Substituted for Aubameyang at 87)