Arsenal 1 – 1 Everton
Just days after dealing with Hull, The Gunners faced their next test with Everton. The Toffees were in great form, and were looking to spoil Arsenal’s chances of going seven points clear at the top of the table.[quote_right]”Arsenal’s midfield was looking increasingly soft, mainly thanks to Flamini starting on the bench…”[/quote_right]
Everton started brilliantly. Barkley, Oviedo and Mirallas all looked lively coming in from deep, whilst Lukaku was making intelligent runs off the ball. It was the first time in weeks a team looked so confiendet playing against us.
However, Arsenal’s defence was firm. Mertesacker in particular was standing tall and resilient in the face of Everton’s offensive threats. He was winning headers, tackles and reading the game perfectly. However, Arsenal’s midfield was looking increasingly soft, mainly thanks to Flamini starting on the bench.
For the first forty minutes, Everton really had their way. They held possession well, got the ball into dangerous positions, and were stifling Arsenal’s midfield. Despite Everton’s confidence though, Szczesney had absolutely nothing to do.
However, in the final minutes of the half, Arsenal came alive. Giroud & Ozil especially were taking part well, making runs and trying to grab chances. Unfortunately, Howard was equal to both chances from Giroud & Ramsey.
The half time whistle soon blew, with Everton with the best possession, but Arsenal with the best chances.
Arsenal kicked off the second half with some more purpose.
There were far more chances being created by Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey, but the goal just wasn’t there. The Toffees were holding on, and were still doing well with their possession, although they were enjoying less of it compared to the first half.
Half chances came and went, and eventually Wenger threw on all three of his substitutes – Walcott, Flamini and Rosicky.[quote_left]”[Giroud’s last gasp strike] swerved magnificently, but could only strike the crossbar. It was panful, yet beautiful to watch.”[/quote_left]
The game definitely changed at this point. Arsenal were looking far more direct, and the goal inevitably came, despite taking eighty minutes. Rosicky curled in a beautiful ball to the back post, where Theo headed it across goal. Giroud’s leg was clipped by Jagielka, making him miss the ball, but Ozil was right behind him, ready to smash the ball home.
It was a deserved goal, but there were still ten minutes to go, and Everton were still looking a threat.
It wasn’t a huge surprise then, when their equalizer came just four minutes later. Lukaka missed an over-head kick completely, but the ball fell to Barcelona loanee Deulofeu. The smart Spaniard found an inch of space round Gibbs, and hammered a shot past Szczesney. In fairness, it was a very good finish.
The end of the game was a little frantic, but you sensed a draw was imminent. However, with the last kick of the game, Giroud controlled the ball on the edge of the box, and launched a stunning shot towards the top corner. The ball swerved magnificently, but could only strike the crossbar. It was panful, yet beautiful to watch.
The final whistle blew, and Arsenal had come away with a point. A fair result on the night.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Had nothing to do until the second half, but he made two important saves from Mirallas and Lukaku. Can’t be lamed for the goal.
Carl was effective overall, dong his best to stretch Everton’s defences. He also kept Oviedo relatively quiet. Made a ridiculously poor throw-in late in the second half though.
Mertesacker: [8.5/10] – MOTM
What a performance from the German. He read every ball, won aerial battles and lunged in to tackles with precision. He was an absolute brick wall – with a pocket big enough to house Lukaku.
Laurent also had an impressive game. He dealt with Lukaku reasonably well, nipped the ball from attackers, and tried to drive forward on more than one occasion.
Had his hands full with Coleman and Mirallas at times, and coped well in general. He got forward whenever he could, but couldn’t create much. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but he should have really given Deulofeu less space so close to goal.
Made some intelligent through balls, but he gave away just as many passes. Made some important tackles too, but it wasn’t his best performance. Subbed.
A mixed bag from Mikel. At times he showed excellent balance and technique to turn out of danger, and he also made some good challenges. However, he was severely lacking positionally in the opening forty minutes.
Misplaced quite a few passes, and couldn’t make an impact offensively. Despite a perfect cross late in the second half, I’m struggling to see how Cazorla is keeping his position with Walcott on the bench. Subbed.
Jack was brilliant defensivly in the first half, and did his best to help create something for Giroud, with little success. Workd incredibly hard until he was subbed.
Mesut yet again looked great today. His passing was good in general, and he was working hard offensively to try to muster something up for Giroud. Did well to grab himself another goal.
Olivier could have grabbed a goal in the first half had it not been for a quick Tim Howard. He worked hard as usual, showing some good touches, but things weren’t really going his way. Had his leg clipped in the build up for Ozil’s goal, and his last gasp strike was a beauty.
Came on and got another assist, and showed some good running off the ball. Showed real energy and a superb first touch. Surprised he didn’t start.
Tomas slotted into the midfield to provide some stability, and his ball helped create Ozil’s goal. Great to have him as a substitute.
Mathieu looked lively as usual, and got forward quite a bit himself. creating issues for Everton. Had a shot go wide just after coming on.
[title]Sticky Toffee Point[/title]
It was a bit of a sticky one for The Gunners today.
Everton looked determined to get the win all game, and Arsenal needed to dig deep in order just salvage a point. Ozil was creatively important, but Mertesacker really helped keep The Gunners in the game.
The Toffees look like a serious side this year, and although a draw doesn’t look great on paper, this result might just be better than we all realise. However, a lot now depends on the upcoming Man City and Chelsea games, in order to preserve our lead.
Tough weeks ahead, but based on tonight’s performance, we might just cope. Next up, City away.
What do you think of the Arsenal vs Everton match? Share your views in the comments section below!