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Welbeck, Iwobi on target as slick Arsenal beat Everton

Welbeck, Iwobi on target as slick Arsenal beat Everton

LIVERPOOL: Arsenal responded to their elimination from two cup competitions by beating Everton 2-0 in the Premier League through first-half goals by Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi in the early kickoff at Goodison Park on Saturday to keep alive their fading title challenge.

It was a comfortable victory for Arsenal at the end of a week when its chances of winning silverware this season virtually disappeared after losses to Watford and Barcelona in the FA Cup and Champions League, respectively.

Starting the day in third place, 11 points behind leaders Leicester City, the pressure was on Arsene Wenger’s faltering side.

They responded with one of their best away performances of the season to end a three-game run without a league win.

Welbeck was denied by the woodwork in a lively opening before Alexis Sanchez’s defence-splitting pass played him in to round keeper Joel Robles and score after seven minutes.

Arsenal were slick in attack and doubled their lead after 42 minutes when Iwobi, in his first league start, raced through to collect Hector Bellerin’s long pass before advancing to beat Robles with a cool finish.

There was a worrying moment for Arsenal in the second half when keeper David Ospina was caught by Romelu Lukaku but he recovered and was hardly tested by a disjointed Everton who were booed off at the final whistle.

While Arsenal stayed third, three points behind Tottenham Hotspur who play on Sunday, Everton are stuck in mid-table, although they still have an FA Cup semi-final against West Ham United to look forward to.

“It was a very significant win for us and a mental test,” Wenger told BT Sport.

“I like this group, I like the mental attitude, it has been questioned and it hurts me. When you work every day with them you see how much effort they put in.”

Everton manager Roberto Martinez did not hold back when describing his own side’s display.

“We didn’t really turn up in terms of intensity,” the Spaniard said. “I haven’t seen us play that badly this season.”

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2016

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