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Saturday 22 September 2018

Wenger hails Gunners' debutants in Toffees thrashing

(l-r) Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan celebrate in the win over Everton Photo: Reuters
(l-r) Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan celebrate in the win over Everton Photo: Reuters

Arsene Wenger hailed the full debuts of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as the pair starred alongside hat-trick hero Aaron Ramsey in Arsenal’s 5-1 rout of Everton.

Aubameyang joined from Borussia Dortmund on deadline day for a club-record fee, uniting with his former team-mate Mkhitaryan who had come in earlier in the window from Manchester United in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez.

Ramsey would go on to shine alongside his all-star team-mates as he hit his first career hat-trick with the Gunners wrapping up a well-deserved 5-1 victory.

The new arrivals needed just six minutes to have an impact as the pair combined to allow Ramsey to tap in the opening goal of the contest as the Gunners recovered from Tuesday’s shock loss at Swansea.

Laurent Koscielny added the second and Ramsey struck again before close friends Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang combined as the latter scored on his debut - albeit from an offside position.

Substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled one back for Sam Allardyce, who will want to forget his 500th Premier League game as a manager in a hurry, before Ramsey completed his hat-trick with a fine strike.

As team-mates at Dortmund, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan racked up 121 goals and 80 assists between 2013-2016 and Wenger said it is like the pair have been at the Emirates Stadium for years.

“In the first half we were quick, mobile, technically very sharp and we finished very well as well,” he said.

“Overall, two players integrated well into our game and they looked as if they had played for us forever.

“They have similar qualities to what our game is about. Technically, they are good. They are quick and overall it was a first convincing performance.”

Mkhitaryan, in particular, looked superb as he laid on three goals on his debut having struggled to make an impact at Manchester United.

“He is a good link player and he works very hard as well,” added Wenger.

“Overall, I think he looked well-accepted by the rest of the team and was understanding very well how we want to play.

“I can say is that it was a convincing debut that shows that he has the level to play with us.”

Ozil also impressed after signing a new deal at the club to end speculation over his future but it was Ramsey who stole the show - with Wenger pleased to see the Welshman show composure in front of goal.

“I felt always - when I watched the games after on the video - you think always that he is there in a good position in the box and I felt always that he had between 10 and 15 goals at least in his locker,” he said.

“He didn’t do it until now because I think he rushed, sometimes, with his finishing. He looks much calmer.”

Allardyce was succinct when asked for his summary on the performance of his side.

“Any tactics and any system you pick is worthless if the players don’t play to their best,” he said.

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