Arsenal 3-2 Everton
- Goals: Eddie Nketiah (£4.3m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) x2 | Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.2m), Richarlison (£8.2m)
- Assists: Bukayo Saka (£4.5m), David Luiz (£5.7m), Nicolas Pepe (£9.2m)| Yerry Mina (£5.3m)
- Bonus: Aubameyang x3, Saka x2, Nketiah x1
Fantasy managers who were undeterred by Arsenal’s Blank Gameweek 28 and Everton’s “fixture swing” were amply rewarded at the Emirates on Sunday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) grabbed a brace against the Toffees to move joint-top of the Premier League goalscorers’ charts, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.2m) and Richarlison‘s (£8.2m) fantastic form under Carlo Ancelotti continued as the Everton strike duo both found the back of the net.
Since the Italian first took charge of the Merseyside club in Gameweek 19, no player has scored on more occasions than Calvert-Lewin (seven).
Richarlison himself has six attacking returns in seven appearances under his new boss.
We discussed the form-versus-fixtures dilemma after Gameweek 26 and questioned whether the ‘big six’ were really to be feared, with one eye on Everton’s upcoming schedule.
Those who hung on to Calvert-Lewin or joined the budget striker’s bandwagon had their faith justified after less than a minute of Sunday’s game in north London, with the 22-year-old striker acrobatically hooking the visitors into a very early lead when Arsenal failed to deal with a free-kick.
After the Gunners then turned the game on its head with two quickfire goals, Richarlison restored parity on the stroke of half-time when he feathered Yerry Mina‘s (£5.3m) flick-on past Bernd Leno (£5.0m).
Both of Everton’s scorers emerged from this encounter with six Fantasy Premier League points but there could easily have been further returns, which ought to provide their owners with a lot of encouragement for the season run-in.
Calvert-Lewin saw a glorious 71st-minute chance from three yards scooped away by Leno and then failed to get meaningful contact on a cross from the left flank shortly afterwards, with Richarlison being denied the assist on both occasions.
Deep into stoppage time and with the Toffees pushing for an equaliser, Calvert-Lewin glanced a header from a Bernard (£6.4m) cross inches wide of the upright.
Richarlison was himself thwarted from six yards by the busy Leno in the 77th minute, with all five of the visitors’ shots on target coming from Everton’s front two.
Carlo Ancelotti said of his in-form forwards after full-time:
[Calvert-Lewin] is really dangerous, I think that him and Richarlison are fantastic strikers.
Richarlison is unbelievable in my opinion because he’s able to score but also he works really hard.
Dominic, nothing to say, he’s doing really well. Important that he stays focused and try to improve because he can improve, in my opinion.
While relatively few managers will be bailing on Richarlison or Calvert-Lewin after this display, Everton’s defenders may be surplus to requirements for the time being.
The Toffees are without a clean sheet on the road since Gameweek 1 and have registered only one shut-out this calendar year, conceding 11 goals along the way.
Two of Arsenal’s goals on Sunday came from crosses from the flanks, while the Everton backline was cut open far too easily by David Luiz‘s (£5.7m) through-ball for Aubameyang’s first strike.
Jordan Pickford (£5.3m) and co played themselves into trouble on a few occasions, too, with Eddie Nketiah (£4.3m) hitting the bar from one of their defensive cock-ups.
Ancelotti said of his side’s display:
The performance was really good offensively but not good defensively and this is the reason we go home with no points..
We conceded three goals too easily. Arsenal in certain periods of the game had good control but they really didn’t have many chances. You cannot concede three goals, we made easy mistakes and I think that this week we have to work there.
We have to be ready on crosses, we have really good headers of the ball.
And the second goal, if there is no pressure on the ball you have to cover the space, you cannot stay in line. Other teams have fantastic strikers, you have to run back quickly and cover the space behind your shoulder. We didn’t do this and we have to work on this.
All credit to Arsenal, though, who have now plundered seven goals in two Gameweeks after a hit-and-miss opening month under Mikel Arteta.
Aubameyang was at his clinical best, scoring from his only two efforts of the game, while Eddie Nketiah (£4.3m), one of the cheapest forwards in FPL, expertly converted a Bukayo Saka (£4.5m) cross to draw Arsenal level at 1-1.
Aubemeyang’s first goal saw him race onto a Luiz pass to curl past Pickford, while his second strike was a fine header from Nicolas Pepe‘s (£9.2m) delivery seconds after the half-time break.
That was his first double-digit haul at the Emirates in over a year and his purple patch does present owners with a keep-or-sell dilemma, given that Arsenal are without a fixture in Blank Gameweek 28.
Bemusingly, Aubameyang is the most-bought FPL forward of this week, although there’ll be some of his 70,000+ new owners who are perhaps playing the price rise game on a Wildcard and not blissfully unaware that the Gunners don’t have a Gameweek 28 fixture.
Arteta said of the Gabon international’s display:
I’m so happy with him because he is scoring very important goals for us, but as well as a captain, he’s giving a great example to everyone else. That a player of his calibre is able to work the way that he is working defensively… because the demands of the matchday are big, and he is willing and he is happily doing it and I think we should pay regards to him.
I had two questions [about Auba’s attitude to defending]. One was whether he wanted to do it, or could he not do it physically? So once I found out that physically he could do it, it was about convincing him to do it and that he can do it every three days. He’s showing that.
He could just say ‘I scored the goals, I don’t need to do it’ but unfortunately we’re not that good that we can allow a few players not to [work hard].
Pepe wasn’t quite as influential as he had been against Newcastle but still collected an assist, while Mesut Ozil (£7.2m) was back in his usual habit of linking play well without delivering an attacking return.
Nketiah’s display and goal perhaps spell bad news for Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m), who failed to even make it off the bench as his side delivered another fine attacking performance without him.
Before we write off the Frenchman and talk up Nketiah’s budget forward credentials, however, Arteta has tinkered with his starting XI throughout his reign and brought players in from the cold – such as Dani Ceballos (£5.2m), who started again in midfield on Sunday – when they appeared to be surplus to requirements.
Saka has been another youngster to impress under the Gunners boss and he emerged as a first-half substitute to set up his side’s first goal and claim his third assist in the space of five Gameweeks.
With the Gunners looking as if they may have lost Sead Kolasinac (£5.2m) to a shoulder injury sustained in Sunday’s game, Saka could be set for a prolonged run in the team – although the return to fitness of Kieran Tierney (£5.3m) draws ever nearer to add to the competition at left-back.
Saka’s classification as an FPL midfielder, of course, also deprives him of all but one clean sheet point.
Arteta said of Kolasinac after full-time:
I don’t know, it looked bad. To be fair, he was in a lot of pain so we will have to try to assess him tomorrow and see how he is. Hopefully not [a dislocation] but he was in pain.
On the Everton injury front, Ancelotti said of sidelined pair Lucas Digne (£5.8m) and Theo Walcott (£6.2m):
I think that they can play next week against United, they will be ready, they don’t have big problems and so, I think that they can recover soon.
Andre Gomes (£5.2m) returned from a three-month lay-off and impressed in a half-hour cameo at the Emirates, with his manager saying:
Andre did really well, without any problem. He was really strong in the tackle. The player is ready and really important for us and will play in the next game.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac (Saka 19′); Ceballos (Torreira 76′), Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil (Guendouzi 82′), Aubameyang; Nketiah.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Sidibe, Mina, Holgate, Baines; Iwobi (Bernard 60′), Schneiderlin (Gomes 59′), Delph (Kean 81′), Sigurdsson; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
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