Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was at his Sunday best to deliver a 3-2 victory for Arsenal in a Premier League thriller against Everton.
The forward’s double followed a close-range volley from Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal fended off an Everton side who lost for just the second time in the league under Carlo Ancelotti.
Everton stunned Emirates Stadium with a first-minute opener from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and also scored through Richarlison in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
But they were rocked by Aubameyang putting Arsenal back in front just 24 seconds into the second half, and despite a heartening return to action for Andre Gomes, the Toffees finished without reward.
Aubameyang’s heroics took his Premier League goals haul to 32 in 38 games played on Sundays, compared to a more modest 17 in 36 matches on all other days.
Everton made a dream start thanks to Calvert-Lewin’s overhead kick.
David Luiz flunked an attempted headed clearance from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick as the ball reached the heart of the Arsenal penalty area, and it looped up perfectly for Everton’s number nine.
Arsenal lost left-back Sead Kolasinac to an early arm injury but had buccaneering teenager Bukayo Saka as an ideal replacement.
The hosts perked up and it was Saka who provided the delicious left-wing cross that Nketiah volleyed in from close range for a 27th-minute leveller, his second Premier League goal.
Aubameyang then snuck behind the Everton defence to meet a fine throughball from David Luiz – the defender demonstrating one of his more reliable attributes – to nudge the Gunners in front six minutes later.
Everton made it 2-2 just before the break when Sigurdsson’s mis-hit shot was headed on by Yerry Mina, and Richarlison, booked moments earlier after diving in late on Dani Ceballos, scrambled past goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
But Arsenal were back in front early in the second half when Aubameyang met Nicolas Pepe’s cross from the right and thundered a downwards header past Jordan Pickford.
Just before the hour mark, Everton introduced Gomes off the bench in place of Morgan Schneiderlin, giving the former Barcelona midfielder his first outing since the shocking ankle dislocation he suffered against Tottenham in November.
Arsenal, coming off a long trip to Greece for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos, looked to be tiring. Calvert-Lewin should have put Everton level but Leno made a fine block to thwart the striker, and Mikel Arteta’s side hung on for the points.
They almost had a fourth goal when Nketiah struck the bar after a Pickford error, though were relieved to see a late Calvert-Lewin header drift wide of the target.
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