In Ridley Scott's Alien, there is a scene where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), confronted with the reality that she has been left for dead by a faceless corporation and her own science officer when confronting a deadly alien menace, asks one simple, defiant question: "How do we kill it?" That's a bit how it feels to be an Arsenal fan this spring; there seem to be no answers, all the plans have failed in the face of perfect killing machines around us in the Premier League table, and Aaron Ramsey is racing through empty dark corridors with a cat and a flamethrower.
Roberto Martinez' decision to use Romelu Lukaku on the right caused Arsenal a lot of issues today, as his threat against second-choice left-siders Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal seemed to pull the Arsenal defense apart from the start. Of course, that defense has been all at sea for a while now, anyway, and 14 minutes in, Steven Naismith was free to run basically at will through the lines as Leighton Baines spotted a cutting Lukaku from 30 yards away. Nobody stopped the pass, Wojciech Szczesny saved the initial shot, but Naismith, completely alone, slotted home the opener with ease. Arsenal had been ripped apart again away from home.
It didn't get much better as the first half wore on; Baines in particular was getting behind the Arsenal defense an awful lot. Everton had many chances, and 34 minutes in, they were up 2-0. Lukaku collected the ball on the right, and Monreal and Vermaelen did nothing to stop him cutting inside like a gigantic Arjen Robben, and the Belgian's wicked shot beat Szczesny at the far post. It was a great goal, but Arsenal did about as much to stop it as Harry Dean Stanton with a cattle prod would have.
The second half began with Arsenal a little sharper, but the pressure they managed came to nothing as there was no movement in the penalty area to really threaten Tim Howard. No subs had come on before Arsenal gave the ball away all too easily in midfield (again) to Kevin Mirallas, who broke unmolested towards the Arsenal final third, feeding Naismith, whose bumbled first touch fell back to Mirallas; Mikel Arteta's effort to stop a shot only saw him poke it past his own keeper into the net.
At 3-0, Aaron Ramsey (WELCOME BACK) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, finally. Ramsey looked very spry for someone who's not played since it was still 2013, and Ox tested Howard with an rifled shot from 25, but Arsenal just didn't have enough to find any sort of consolation, although Yaya Sanogo scored late on only for the linesman to wrongly call him offside.
It didn't matter; Everton didn't even leave anyone alive in whom to implant future generations of perfect killing machines from Merseyside. They now sit one point behind with a game in hand in the race for fourth with a pretty good goal differential (five better than Arsenal's), and although their run-in is a bit tricky, Arsenal are no longer in control of their own fate for fourth.
Someone call the space marines.