Arsenal 4-0 Everton: Rampant Gunners go five points clear as Martinelli scores twice
Arsenal opened up a five-point lead at the Premier League summit as Gabriel Martinelli scored twice in a 4-0 rout of struggling Everton at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal produced arguably their worst performance of the season in last month's 1-0 loss at Everton, but a quickfire double on the stroke of half-time saw them take control on Wednesday.
Bukayo Saka broke Everton's resistance with a terrific finish into the top-right corner before playing a key role in the second, stealing possession from a flat-footed Idrissa Gueye to tee up Martinelli.
Sean Dyche's strugglers suffered further damage as Martin Odegaard and Martinelli added close-range finishes after the interval, ensuring Arsenal put potentially decisive daylight between themselves and Manchester City.
Everton kept Arsenal quiet for the first 40 minutes and perhaps should have gone ahead when Neal Maupay flicked into Aaron Ramsdale's hands from six yards out.
However, the Gunners took the lead with their first real chance as Saka turned on Oleksandr Zinchenko's defence-splitting pass before hammering beyond Jordan Pickford at his near post.
Arsenal had VAR to thank as they grabbed a second six minutes later, with Michael Oliver overturning his initial decision to disallow Martinelli's one-on-one finish for offside after Gueye was caught in possession by Saka.
Leandro Trossard miscued a volley as Arsenal pushed for a third after the interval, before Ramsdale made a strong stop from Dwight McNeil's 20-yard effort.
Arsenal had a deserved third with 19 minutes to play as Trossard raced to the byline to find Odegaard, whose side-footed finish deflected in off James Tarkowski.
With Everton's confidence shattered, Eddie Nketiah tested Pickford with a close-range volley before driving to the left to find Martinelli, who poked in for his brace.
What does it mean? Gunners seize control of title race
Last month's defeat to Dyche's men could have been the catalyst for an Arsenal collapse, particularly when the Gunners followed that reverse by drawing with Brentford and losing to rivals City.
However, a run of three successive wins has surely made Mikel Arteta's team title favourites, with the latest – and most convincing – of those results coming against their favourite opponents. Wednesday's victory made Arsenal the first team to beat a specific side 100 times in English league history.
Martinelli hot streak continues
Martinelli's form has been vital to Arsenal getting back on track following a series of setbacks in February. Having netted in recent wins against Aston Villa and Leicester City, the 21-year-old has scored in three consecutive Premier League games within the same season for the first time.
Meanwhile, the first of his two goals made him just the third Brazilian to reach double figures in a single Premier League campaign while 21 or younger, after Gabriel Jesus (in 2017-18) and Richarlison (2018-19).
Fifty up for Saka
As Everton kept Arsenal at arm's length early on, Saka looked the most likely to make the all-important breakthrough, and the England man's powerful drive represented his 50th goal involvement in the Premier League.
Only Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Robbie Fowler, Cesc Fabregas and Chris Sutton have reached that figure at a younger age than Saka, whose persistence then led to Martinelli's second.
Arsenal host Bournemouth in their next Premier League game on Saturday, while Everton travel to fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest for a huge fixture one day later.