Everton manager Sam Allardyce has explained the decision to quickly demote January signing Cenk Tosun to the substitutes' bench and dismissed any suggestion that the presence of Ademola Lookman could have helped his side to avoid such a chastening Premier League defeat to Arsenal.
The Toffees, though marginally improved after the interval following the introduction of Tom Davies, paid the price for a wretched first half at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening (3 February) as a first career hat-trick from Aaron Ramsey and additional goals from debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Laurent Koscielny condemned them to a heavy 5-1 loss.
Everton, coming off the back of a Theo Walcott-inspired victory over Leicester City in midweek that ended a concerning seven-match winless run, were 3-0 down inside the opening 19 minutes.
Tosun, a £27m ($38.1m) arrival from Besiktas, featured for the final 12 minutes against Arsenal as a late replacement for Oumar Niasse after being left as an unused substitute in the defeat of Leicester.
The Turkish international initially started games against Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion last month after not arriving in time for the FA Cup Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool and Allardyce revealed that subpar hold-up play was the key reason for his recent relegation.
"He's had service to him that he's not held up and he's found it a bit of a struggle at this level because of the [pace] of the game," he was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo. "So his service hasn't been too bad but his hold up play hasn't been like it was at Besiktas so that's why he's not starting the games at the minute because he's finding it tough going like every player does, particularly when they come in January.
"I said we wanted goals, he scored goals in the Champions League and with Besiktas but may not hit the ground running for us. He hasn't done that yet, I'm sure he will do eventually. I'm more concerned about the other players than I am about Cenk. I'm more likely to feed him slowly and give him a bit more time over the next few weeks and hopefully by the end of the season he starts games."
Everton's misery yesterday was compounded by young forward Lookman, surprisingly loaned out to the Bundesliga on transfer deadline day despite being encouraged by his manager to remain in England, coming off the bench to net an 89th-minute winner for RB Leipzig against Borussia Monchengladbach.
In doing so the 20-year-old became the first English player to score in the German top-flight since Owen Hargreaves in 2005, but an irate Allardyce does not believe he could have done anything to prevent such a miserable outing for his parent club at Arsenal.
"No," he told the Echo. "I've got Yannick Bolasie who cost thirty million quid and Theo Walcott who cost twenty million quid and both have a lot more experience than Lookman, so no. If you had put him out there he wouldn't have done any better than the rest because the whole team played crap."