Arsenal beats Everton 4-0, moves 5 points clear in EPL

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LONDON (AP) — Arsenal extended its lead in the Premier League to five points by beating Everton 4-0 on Wednesday, with Gabriel Martinelli scoring two of the goals in one of his team’s biggest wins of the season.

Everton stunned the leaders with a 1-0 win at home on Feb. 4 but couldn’t reproduce those exploits at Emirates Stadium, where Bukayo Saka put Arsenal in front with a rising shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle in the 40th minute.

The England winger turned provider in the first minute of first-half stoppage time by plucking the ball off the toes of Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye to play in Martinelli, who delivered a low finish.

Martin Odegaard converted a cut-back from Leandro Trossard in the 71st and Martinelli added a fourth in the 80th to complete a dominant performance from Mikel Arteta’s team, which has now played the same number of games — 25 from a total of 38 — as second-place Manchester City.

In terms of margin of victory, only the 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest in October bettered this result for Arsenal, which has won three straight games to get over a blip where the team collected just one point from a possible nine — including a loss to City.

“It’s a statement that we’re here and want to continue to do this,” said Arteta, whose team is bidding to win the league for the first time since 2004.

Arteta said the key to the win was Saka’s opening goal, which came just as Arsenal and its fans were getting frustrated against an Everton team that was defending in numbers and hitting on the counterattack.

“Once we scored the first goal, the game unlocked,” Arteta said. “We needed a magic moment and Bukayo produced that. After that, we grew and deserved to win the game.”

Everton stayed in the relegation zone in third-to-last place and has lost three of its last four games under recently hired manager Sean Dyche. The Merseyside club has played one more game than the rest of the teams in relegation danger.

“We’re not naive,” Dyche said. “I knew it wasn’t all rosy when I came. There’s plenty of work to do, I know that. Every game is a big game. I’ve told the players that. We’re not a million miles away from the previous performances.”