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Arsenal end Goodison curse thanks to Mikel Arteta’s bargain buy

One of the stranger jinxes in English football may be over. Arsenal had lost on their previous three trips to Goodison Park, twice to horribly out-of-form Everton teams. Maybe logic intervened on Mikel Arteta’s fourth visit back to his former club. Or perhaps Leandro Trossard did, the substitute’s wonderfully precise finish giving Arsenal a fourth victory in five league games this season.

There was a sense Arsenal avenged February’s 1-0 defeat in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of Everton, not merely reversing the scoreline but showing their skill to take the same method – a set-piece – to find a very different way of deciding a match. Not a thumping James Tarkowski header from a corner, but a well-worked routine that culminated in Martin Odegaard slipping in Bukayo Saka, whose cutback brought a deft finish from Trossard, angled in off the far post.

If some of Arteta’s recruitment in 2023 has a contentious feel, Trossard is the sort of signing who can simply be celebrated: a £20m bargain, a creative force last season who has two goals already in this, a player whose versatility makes him an ideal substitute but who has the quality to be decisive. When Gabriel Martinelli went off injured in the first half, Arteta summoned Trossard rather than the benched Kai Havertz; his decision was richly rewarded. Another of his transfer-market gambits mattered less: while David Raya may depose Aaron Ramsdale more frequently, the goalkeeper’s debut was an inconclusive affair. Everton scarcely tested the on-loan Spaniard.

If the game’s best saves, one before the goal and one after, came at Odegaard’s expense, with Pickford parrying two fine efforts, they reflected the growing influence of the captain after the break. And that, in turn,