Mikel Arteta praised the partnership between Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka as the pair moved into double figures in the Premier League this season during Arsenal’s victory over Everton.
The Gunners ran out 4-0 winners at the Emirates to re-establish their five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the league and deepen the visitors’ relegation fears.
A goal in either half from Martinelli and one each for Saka and Martin Odegaard were enough to bury Sean Dyche’s side on a night when a confident Arsenal never looked like repeating last month’s defeat at Goodison Park.
It took the league leaders’ winning run to three games after victories against Aston Villa and Leicester, with momentum restored and the wobble they suffered following that loss on Merseyside now seeming firmly behind them.
Martinelli and Saka in particular continued to develop the connection that supporters have enjoyed this season, with the forward pair the club’s joint-leading scorers in the all competitions on 11.
“We try to help them with our way of playing to get them in those positions as much as possible,” said Arteta. “They are so willing to learn, they’re asking for more and more every day.
“They never have enough information, they always want more. When you have that, and you have the talent and the ideas that they have, good things will happen.
“I’m really happy, it was the game we had in hand (over Manchester City), against an opponent we knew was going to make life really difficult. We experienced that at Goodison.
“We started with some frustration, not really understanding what we had to do. After 25 minutes we started to get much better.”
Everton largely frustrated the hosts during the first half, with chances few and far between as Dyche’s side showed the same dogged organisation that earned them their victory at Goodison Park.
It took a fine finish from Saka five minutes before half-time to finally break the deadlock, before Martinelli added a second in added time following a defensive howler from Idrissa Gueye.
Arteta says the timing of the goals was important, and lauded the impact of Thomas Partey from the bench, who provided “stability” in the second half.
“The timing of the two goals was key, we needed a magic moment there,” said Arteta. “Then I think the team grew. When Thomas (Partey) came on he really gave some presence and some stability to the team. I think the second half was superb.
“You look every single day and you feel how much they want it, how much they really want to produce what we ask them and how much they want to please our people.
“I had no doubt we were going to turn things around in performances. In results sometimes there are small details. I’m really pleased with the way the team is right now.”
Dyche has now seen his side lose three of their four games since victory over Arsenal in February to slide back into the relegation places.
“We were doing very well for 40 minutes,” said Dyche. “You have to keep it tight at places like this, work on the counter, finding the killer moments. That’s the story of the season so far.
“It was a soft (first) goal from our point of view. The back four just got cut open for the first time. Its good fort them, that’s what they do.
“The second, as a manger it’s hard to legislate for. Once you’re 2-0 down at a place like this it’s very difficult. They showed why they’re top of the league in the second half. They’re a top side and they showed it.”