3 February 2018: media predict a rout and got it, but not the rout they predicted

By Tony Attwood

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Prior to the game against Everton on this day, the story was that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a fever so having been bought for £56m he was not going to make his debut in this match although Henrikh Mkhitaryan was sure to make his first start at the Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott returned too, and he was heralded by the media as being in “hot goalscoring form” having scored three already for his new club.

But Everton had only won two of the last 22 meetings in all competitions and Arsenal were at this stage the only club to have totted up 100 goals against another team in the Premier League era.

The Everton manager was the incessantly gum-chewing Sam Allardyce who quite amazingly had managed to lose his last eight matches against Arsenal. It was his 500th Premier League game as a manager. Quite why clubs kept on employing him was never made clear.

But to be fair, Everton entered the game having just won against Leicester, while Arsenal had just lost 3-1 to Swansea.  The media talked it up as a likely win for Everton, celebrating their manager, their non-existent new stadium, (as non-existent then as now in fact) and just how wonderful Theo was (something they had never quite understood while he was at Arsenal).

There was also much talk of Arsenal not doing very well of late with just two wins in the last eight, a run that included that first-ever FA Cup third round defeat for Mr Wenger.

A debut goal for Aubameyang, a hat-trick for Aaron Ramsey, and three assists for home debutant Mkhitaryan was not what the media were hoping for as they looked to knock Arsenal around once again.  It was not a bad return at all and Arsenal moved to within three points of fifth-placed Tottenham.

Sadly however although it was a fine win it was not the start of a fine run, as Arsenal won just one of the next six games scoring only five goals.  But then Aubameyang got the hang of it all and in the following six games there was 18 goals and six straight wins.

Funnly ol’ game.


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