Arsenal 2 – 0 Everton
After an extremely poor performance against Monaco, Arsenal needed all three points at home to a not-so-great Everton side.
But The Toffees started the game as the better side.
Arsenal were struggling to maintain their attacks up until the twentieth minute, at which point the tide started to turn. Cazorla and Coquelin in particular got a foot hold in the middle, and they didn’t let go of it.
Giroud’s opener came from a Mesut Ozil corner in the thirty-ninth minute. The Frenchman peeled off Stones and volleyed the ball into the far corner.
“Ospina was making saves, Coquelin had broken his nose, and Everton were looking encouraged.”
The rest of the first half — and indeed the rest of the game — was a tactical battle.
Everton were threatening with Lukaku going forward, with Besic and Barry providing a defensive platform. But Arsenal were looking resolute too. It was a bit of a stand-off, really.
Yet in the final few moments, the need for a second goal was mounting. Ospina was making saves, Coquelin had broken his nose, and Everton were looking encouraged.
“Ozil picked out Rosicky outside the area. The Czech maestro shot, got a deflection, and then got a goal. Phew.”
Thankfully, in the ninetieth minute, Ozil picked out Rosicky outside the area. The Czech maestro shot, got a deflection, and then got a goal. Phew.
The last few moments were relatively simple. Everton were defeated, despite a valiant and rather violent battle.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Ospina: [8.5/10] – MOTM
Saved Gabriel’s back side in the first half by challenging Lukaku twice. Went on to make plenty of saves and win plenty of aerial battles throughout the game.
No problems at the back, crossing wasn’t great.
Started nervously with some awkward headers and aerial balls, but he settled in nicely, making an awesome last ditch tackle on Lukaku in the first half, and looking aggressive in the second.
Made a few silly tackles and decisions I thought. Nothing major though.
Worked hard but his final pass was very poor today.
Made brilliant tackles, fought hard for the ball, and picked up what looks to be a nasty broken nose. He and Giroud went for the same header, and he came out worse off. Yet, he continued on until the ball struck his nose once again in the final stages of the game. Warrior. But it’ll hurt in the morning!
Didn’t work hard at all today, and wasn’t sharp on the ball. Yet, he bagged two assists. Make of that what you will.
Held his own in the middle, showed good touches and tracked back too.
Alexis’ poor form continues. But unlike Ozil, Alexis’ stats aren’t on his side today. Poor passing, average work rate, no goals or assists.
The Ox: [6.5/10]
Worked hard, but his final ball was a little off.
He took his goal well, and worked very hard all game. Still missed a couple though, but it happens.
Looked lively after coming on, and was rewarded with a deflected goal, but a goal nonetheless.
Saving Private Francis
Today’s game was a real war zone — just ask Franci Coquelin.
The midfielder battled Barry and Besic all game, yet it was Giroud who broke his nose. Later on, it was the ball itself which forced him off after re-starting the (massive) flow of blood.
Yet his battle was real nonetheless, and so was Arsenals. Everton weren’t rolling over, and it took guts to hold them off and keep a clean sheet.
We are now just four points off second place. Our best players aren’t performing, but the results are trickling in anyway.