Arsenal 'Cech' into top six
A fifth straight win. A first clean sheet. Even the sight of underfire goalkeeper Petr Cech chipping the ball over an onrushing forward to find a teammate.
Things are really starting to click for Arsenal under new coach Unai Emery.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the space of three second-half minutes to lead Arsenal to a 2-0 win over Everton in the English Premier League yesterday.
While it was a pair of strikers who sealed a fourth league victory in a row - along with a win in the UEFA Europa League - it was as much a day to celebrate for Arsenal's oft-criticised defence, and the goalkeeper behind it.
Cech has been challenged by Emery to use his feet more so the team can play the ball out from the back. It has been a tough adjustment period for a player who, at 36, is in the twilight of his career, but his faultless display against Everton showed he is getting there.
"Petr, he has a lot of experience and quality," Emery said. "He started the season very well, and he is having the performances that we want. Today, he shows us he is doing very well and continuing with this work and spirit every day."
Towards the end of the game, Cech drew a gasp, then a roar of approval, from Arsenal fans when he lofted a deft pass over Everton forward Richarlison and picked out right back Hector Bellerin. Before that, it was his shot-stopping that really saved Arsenal.
Everton had the better of the first half at Emirates Stadium, with Richarlison - back after a three-match domestic ban for headbutting an opponent - proving dangerous down the left wing and Aubameyang is having to play on the left wing to accommodate Lacazette as the team's central striker, but it is not stopping the Gabon striker from scoring. Since his Premier League debut on February 3, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (16) has scored more goals than Aubameyang's 12.
This was his fourth goal of the season, with two of them coming against Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League on Thursday.
Arsenal closed the game out without conceding - for the first clean sheet under Emery - despite centre back Sokratis hobbling off with a knee injury in the first half.
For Everton, it is just one win in six league games in Silva's first season.