LONDON: Mikel Arteta urged his Arsenal flops to ‘look in the mirror’ after a dismal 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City, while Everton extended their strong start with a 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Arteta’s side have lost their first three league games and are yet to even score a goal this term.
Arsenal sit bottom of the Premier League after their worst start to a season since 1954 as pressure mounts on under-fire boss Arteta.
Arteta’s switch to a back three failed to halt a slick City attack that suggested they are more than capable of defending their Premier League title this season despite missing out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ilkay Gundogan opened the floodgates before Ferran Torres pounced on shocking Arsenal defending to double City’s lead inside 12 minutes.
Arsenal’s task was made even harder when Granit Xhaka needlessly lunged at Joao Cancelo and was shown a straight red card.
Gabriel Jesus made it 3-0 before half-time before Rodrigo and Torres with his second of the afternoon rounded off the scoring.
“I’m really disappointed with the things that happened on the pitch and the summary after three games, losing all of them, doesn’t make it any easier,” Arteta said. “It is time to reflect and look in the mirror, each of us.”
Despite Arteta’s woes, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insisted Arsenal should keep faith with his former assistant.
“I love him, we love him,” Guardiola said. “The period we worked together, these two or three seasons was a key point to build what we now have. I am pretty sure the moment will come when everything will be back and he will do a job because he is an excellent manager.”
At the Amex Stadium, Rafael Benitez’s Everton extended their unbeaten start under the former Liverpool boss.
A controversial appointment to replace Carlo Ancelotti in the close-season due to his Anfield links, Benitez is winning over his new fans.
Everton winger Demarai Gray drilled past Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez in the 41st minute.
Joel Veltman felled Seamus Coleman for an Everton penalty early in the second half and Dominic Calvert-Lewin first fended off Richarlison’s fight to take the spot-kick, then composed himself and slotted home.
After failing to win his first two league games in charge of Crystal Palace, while also crashing out of the League Cup in midweek, Patrick Vieira watched his team earn a creditable 2-2 at in-form West Ham United.
West Ham took the lead when Said Benrahma picked out Pablo Fornals, who exchanged passes with Michail Antonio before slotting home in the 39th minute.
Palace would score their first goal under Vieira shortly before the hour as Christian Benteke nodded down for Conor Gallagher to slot home.
Antonio outmuscled Joachim Andersen to fire West Ham ahead again in the 68th minute, only for Gallagher to restore parity two minutes later.
Promoted Brentford remain unbeaten after a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.
Brentford’s Ivan Toney hammered into the top corner for his first Premier League goal after seven minutes.
The hosts were behind for just six minutes when Emi Buendia scored his first Villa goal to equalise from Danny Ings’ pass.
Southampton snatched a dramatic 2-2 draw at Newcastle United thanks to James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage-time equaliser.
The Magpies took the lead 10 minutes into the second half through Callum Wilson before Mohamed Elyounoussi levelled for the visitors.
Allan Saint-Maximin looked to have won it from close-range in the 90th minute, but Ward-Prowse converted from the spot after referee Paul Tierney had been advised to review Jamaal Lascelles’ challenge on Adam Armstrong.
Leicester City won 2-1 at Norwich City, with Jamie Vardy putting the Foxes ahead and Teemu Pukki equalising from the penalty spot before Marc Albrighton wrapped up the points.
Later on Saturday, Liverpool were hosting Chelsea, with both teams having won their opening two games.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2021