Arsenal are finally being rewarded for their patience

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Arsenal followed up back-to-back 3-0 league wins with a fine performance at home to Everton. The Blues have never beaten Arsene Wenger's Gunners away from Goodison Park, a record that never looked like changing on Saturday.

Ross Barkley's deflected goal was as good as it got for the Merseysiders. The hosts were always in control and, in truth, barely stepped out of second gear. Mesut Ozil was the first to find himself in behind Everton's weary-looking defence, but his shot was saved by Tim Howard's outstretched leg.

From then onwards, it was a case of same old Arsenal, keeping the ball well and allowing their flair players plenty of time to pick out killer balls.


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The opener came from one such pass, a real peach from Ozil, floated into exactly the area Oliver Giroud wanted it. It took the slightest of glancing headers and the ball nestled in the back of the Everton net.

Two minutes later and it was deja vu. Another header, another goal, this time from Laurent Koscielny. Just as fans had retaken their seats, they were standing to celebrate again and there is much to cheer at the Emirates this season. Being top of the league might be unfamiliar territory in recent seasons, but this is a very successful club and manager.

It almost seems unthinkable that Wenger has faced open criticism from his own supporters when he has been so good for so long. What Everton, Liverpool or Tottenham would do for someone with his consistency.

Trophies have, of course, been his major downfall with the section of support which wanted him sacked, but there are plenty of clubs in a far worse position.

Credit has to be given to Wenger for keeping up with Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United and the sheer spending power of Chelsea and Manchester City, but praise is also due to the Arsenal hierarchy for sticking with their man when almost every other team has opted to twist.

Arsenal fans would have enjoyed being top even if it lasted less than 24 hours. For Everton fans, it is two defeats on the bounce as their season enters a mini decline. They will expect better in their next match, against lowly Sunderland, while Wenger's men face a visit to Swansea for what should be an entertaining game of 'proper' football.

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