Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe came off the bench to set up a goal as Arsenal roared to a convincing 5-1 Premier League victory against Everton at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
It was Gabriel Martinelli who put the Gunners ahead from the penalty spot in the 27th minute after Nigeria international Alex Iwobi was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box after a VAR check.
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Ghana prospect Eddie Nketiah doubled their advantage with a close-range header in the 31st minute before Donny van de Beek brought the Toffees back into the game in the 45th minute to make the score 2-1 at the half-time break.
Arsenal defender Cedric Soares then made it 3-1 in the 56th minute before another defender Gabriel Magalhaes grabbed the fourth and Martin Odegaard wrapped up the emphatic win with a brilliant finish in the 82nd minute.
Arsenal were all over Everton from the first whistle and a mistake by Iwobi, who has enjoyed a good season under Frank Lampard, helped them to take the lead. The 26-year-old Super Eagle put his body on the line to try and block a shot from Martinelli, but the ball hit his hand.
The incident forced the referee to go to the screen at the side of the pitch to check Iwobi’s block for handball and he pointed to the spot. Up stepped Martinelli, who made no mistake as he went for the bottom-left corner past Asmir Begovic.
Nketiah then found himself on the right spot in the six-yard box to glance home a header from Odegaard’s corner and make it 2-0 but Van de Beek tapped home for Everon after Iwobi and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had combined from the middle of play to set him up.
The Gunners regained their two-goal advantage as Cedric found the net with a great strike and it was 4-1 after Gabriel received a cross from Cedric to blast his effort through Begovic.
Pepe was then introduced for Bukayo Saka in the 78th minute and the Ivorian, who has struggled for play-time under Arteta, provided the assist for the fifth goal. Pepe controlled the ball from the right-wing before setting up Odegaard, who opened up space for a shot and beat Begovic with an effort into the bottom-left corner.
The last time Pepe had featured in the league for Arsenal was on May 16 against Newcastle United, a match that he played 17 minutes in during a 2-0 defeat. In total, he has netted one Premier League goal this term, and chipped in with two assists.
In last season's Premier League, Pepe appeared in 29 games for Arsenal, scored 10 goals, and provided one assist. Prior to linking up with Arsenal in August 2019, Pepe made 74 league appearances in total at Lille, scoring 35 goals and providing 15 assists.