Gunners romp but suffer European heartbreak on final day
Arsenal ended their season by easily disposing of an Everton side with nothing to play for, but failed in their quest for UEFA Champions League football next season as Tottenham also won at Norwich.
Unsurprisingly, given the difference in stakes at play between the two sides, Arsenal dominated the first half with the visitor’s having stand-in goalkeeper Asmir Begović to thank as he denied Gabriel Martinelli from close range. Such was their dominance, the home side had enjoyed 85% possession by the time they took the lead midway through the half thanks to a literal helping hand from their former player. Alex Iwobi used his arm in the penalty area to block a fierce Martinelli drive, and the Brazilian was the chosen man to convert the penalty.
A deserved second goal came just six minutes later, as Everton failed to defend a corner, which allowed Eddie Nketiah to poke home from close range after a Martinelli flick on. The ‘Toffees’ had rarely ventured forward, but they made Arsenal pay with the last kick of the first half, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s low cross gifted Donny van de Beek his first goal in Everton colours.
If there was any doubt that van de Beek’s goal was a mere momentary glitch in the matrix instead of an early sign of a comeback, Cedric was on hand to restore his side’s two-goal lead when he blasted home from a cleverly taken corner. Just three minutes later, it was once again a corner that allowed Arsenal a fourth goal, as Frank Lampard’s men failed to clear properly, and the ball fell to Gabriel to hammer home.
With Tottenham 5-0 up, Mikel Arteta’s men knew their destiny lay in the UEFA Europa League next season, but they bowed out in style as Martin Ødegaard made it five, beating his man on the edge of the box before producing a stylish finish to condemn Everton to another defeat on the road, as they end the season with the joint-worst away record in the Premier League.