Wayne Rooney scored an excellent opener but things unravelled for Everton after that
Everton dropped into the bottom three of the Premier League as they were torn apart by Arsenal following Idrissa Gueye's dismissal for two bookable offences.
The Blues were chasing an equaliser at 2-1 down with 22 minutes to go when the Senegal international, already on a yellow for a foul on Alexis Sanchez in the first half, went in late on Granit Xhaka and was given his marching orders by referee Craig Pawson.
Already vulnerable at the back against the Gunners' superior movement and passing after Ronald Koeman had withdrawn Ashley Williams, himself on a yellow card, and reverted to a back four, Everton were then carved open twice more before Oumar Niasse scored in comical circumstances and Sanchez wrapped it up with a fine individual effort.
Under significant pressure coming into the game because of a sequence of poor results, Koeman needed a response from his players and a show of urgency which he got in the opening stages of a game that started in frenetic fashion.
In a foreshadowing of what was to come, however, it was Arsenal who looked by far the more dangerous early on, Jordan Pickford tipping Mezut Ozil's shot wide and then twice foiling Alexandre Lacazette, the second time an excellent last-ditch block as the Frenchman looked odds-on to score.
It was Everton who took the lead, however, in a moment evocative of one almost 15 years ago to the day when a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney announced his arrival on the top-flight scene. Gueye won the ball with a heavy but fair challenge on Hector Bellerin and Rooney picked his spot with the loose ball with a sumptuous finish.
Arsenal responded swiftly with Pickford spilling a Sanchez free kick but denying Aaron Ramsey from the rebound and Lacazette seeing an effort of his deflect narrowly wide.
And the visitors' mounting pressure told five minutes before half time. Xhaka's deflected effort from the edge of the box was pushed away by Pickford but only to Nacho Monreal who slammed the ball back past the goalkeeper.
Pickford would ensure that the score remained 1-1 at the break with another impressive block that stymied Sanchez but when Nikola Vlasic was closed down at one end, Arsenal countered quickly. Sanchez spotted the run of Ozil, chipped a teasing ball towards the six-yard box and the German guided a header past Pickford to make it 2-1.
Arsene Wenger's men almost doubled their advantage two minutes later when Laurent Koscielny was allowed to progress down the right but Ramsey fluffed his lines in acres of space in the centre.
Gueye's sending off only increased the amount of space Arsenal had to work in and when Vlasic gave the ball away cheaply in one half, only Michael Keane was on hand at the back by the time Ozil had surged down the right flank and served up a simple finish for Lacazatte in the centre.
Sanchez despatched an unchallenged, diving header wide with seven minutes left and Xhaka smacked a 25-yarder off the crossbar but a fourth for the Londoners did arrive when substitute Jack Wilshere split the Blues' defence and Ramsey fired home.
Niasse, on for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, grabbed a consolation when he robbed Petr Cech as the ‘keeper tried to dribble his way out of trouble, the Senegalese striker able to knock the ball into an empty net.
But Everton's misery was completed deep into stoppage time when Sanchez, determined to get on the scoresheet, went on a circuitous run around the home defence before hammering a shot across Pickford and inside the far post to make it 5-2.
While skewed by the fact that Everton played the last quarter of the contest a man down, the result is another ugly one for Koeman who will remain under heavy scrutiny. The Blues sit in the relegation zone going into the away game at Leicester and have a seemingly impossible task against Chelsea in the League Cup looming in midweek.
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Page