Three things Arteta got right as Arsenal smash Everton to go five points clear

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    Arsenal have got five points clear at the top of the Premier League following an emphatic 4-0 victory over Everton at the Emirates.

    Goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, the first of which was an absolute rocket, separated the two sides as the Gunners re-established control at the summit.

    Mikel Arteta named an unchanged side from Saturday's 1-0 win over Leicester, but there were still one or two key decisions to make and problems to solve out there. So without any further ado, here's what we at Daily Star Sport thought the Spaniard got right tonight.

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    Picking a strong team

    It would have been easy for Mikel Arteta to see tonight's game as an opportunity to give some of his players a breather, especially given Everton's recent struggles, as well as the high risk of burnout given that they're fighting on two different fronts with a relatively thin squad.

    But Arteta rolled the dice and went for his usual starting XI, albeit with a single switch up front, and his bravery was rewarded with Arsenal picking up a comfortable win and maintaining invaluable momentum heading into the final third of the season.

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    Martinelli up front

    The one change Arteta did make worked gangbusters, with Gabriel Martinelli taking Eddie Nketiah's place up front and Leandro Trossard filling in out on the left.

    The Brazilian had an air of Marcus Rashford (or dare we say, Thierry Henry) about him tonight – with his devastatingly-quick movement and hunger for the ball terrorising Everton's back-line.

    He grabbed his first goal right on half-time by confidently sweeping the ball home after giving Jordan Pickford the eyes, looking every bit a natural centre forward as he did so, and grabbed a second late on with a classic poacher's burst and close-range finish. Tidy stuff.

    Not starting Partey

    Despite the fact he's still recovering from muscle strain, few could've blamed Arteta for including Thomas Partey in his starting line-up this evening, especially since the Ghanaian was deemed fit enough for the bench.

    The Gunners have looked perilously slight in midfield since Partey went out, despite winning two out of three matches in his absence, and probably feared the worst after seeing Everton name three battering rams – Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gueye – in midfield.

    It didn't seem to trouble them, mind, and even though Jorginho was hooked for Partey at half time, it appeared to be purely for rotational reasons, with Arsenal in complete control and two goals to the good by then.

    And here's one thing we feel he got wrong.

    Swapping Martinelli and Trossard

    Martinelli was an absolute force of nature through the middle in the first half, which makes Arteta's decision to switch him and Trossard around at half time a baffling one.

    Granted, left-wing is the Brazilian's natural and favoured position, but moving him there forced Trossard into a glaringly unnatural role up top, which really impeded Arsenal's progress in the second half.

    The Belgian looked a little lost as he shuffled between Everton's seemingly-endless row of defenders, and although he managed to set up Odegaard's late strike, he did so from a left-sided position. Go figure.


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    • Arsenal FC
    • Mikel Arteta
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