Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman was relieved of his duties by Everton on Monday

Everton have sacked embattled manager Ronald Koeman after the club's dreadful recent run of form continued with a humiliating 5-2 home Premier League drubbing by Arsenal on Sunday (22 October) that saw them slip into the relegation zone.

In an official statement released via their official club website on Monday afternoon, the 19th-place Toffees, now without a win in their last five matches, said: "Everton Football Club can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the club.

"Chairman Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and major shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the club over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season's Premier League campaign."

That heavy defeat to Arsenal - a game in which Wayne Rooney gave the hosts an early lead - was Everton's seventh of the season across all competitions and their fifth in nine games in the top-flight.

Despite lavishing in excess of £140m ($184.3m) on nine new recruits during a promising summer transfer window and securing the return of former prodigy Rooney, the big-spending Merseyside club have shown no signs of being ready to challenge for a place in the top four.

They also sit bottom of Europa League Group E after taking just one solitary point from their opening three games and are evidently paying the price of their failure to replace prolific striker Romelu Lukaku, who was sold to Manchester United for an initial £75m fee in July and has since scored as many Premier League goals as Everton in 2017-18 (seven).

Koeman was handed the dreaded vote of confidence by Moshiri earlier this month, with the billionaire businessman stating in a radio interview that the experienced Dutchman retained his "total support". However, in their three outings since then Everton were only able to rescue a last-gasp draw against newly-promoted Brighton & Hove Albion before losing to both Lyon and Arsenal.

Speaking after that latest setback over the weekend, Koeman, who follows compatriot Frank de Boer and Craig Shakespeare as the third Premier League manager to lose his job during the first two months of the season, insisted that he was capable of turning the situation around.

"Yeah. It is how you look to the situation," he said. "If you start to think negative then maybe there is no solution. I am not like that. All the rumours in the newspapers is normal.

"The team is underperforming. It is in a difficult situation, mentally, confidence-wise we are struggling. That is what we need to change. I still believe I can change the whole situation but everybody knows how it works in football. That is all I answer about this situation."

Everton paid approximately £5m in compensation to appoint former Southampton boss Koeman as their successor to Roberto Martinez in June 2016 and finished seventh in his only full season at the helm.

The likes of Sam Allardyce and Thomas Tuchel have been mentioned among the early favourites to replace Koeman, while a shock return to Goodison for David Moyes has been mooted in some quarters. Burnley boss Sean Dyche is also said to be among the early front-runners.

Everton have yet to confirm who will take caretaker charge of the team for a Carabao Cup fourth round tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, although Under-23s coach David Unsworth seems the most likely candidate at this stage.