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Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Weird old game


WEIRD old game this.

I left the ground feeling this was a game that Everton had, if anything, shaded. They’d certainly played nearer their best than we had played near ours. They’d, amazingly frankly, enjoyed the majority of possession (unheard of for them away to Arsenal). They’d combined their usual grit with real flair and certainly stunted our attacking play.

And yet when you look back at the highlights, real chances wise, we were pretty dominant. Granted, there were times when your heart rate increased as they approached our goal, but the saves Szczesny has made are ones he really should be making quite easily. At the other end, Ramsey and Giroud both forced really decent first-half saves from Howard, Cazorla and Ramsey came closish and Giroud, of course, clobbered the bar right at the end.

I think Arsene will want to work out why, like against United, we appeared sluggish from the off. You could see it within seconds of kick-off and really it lasted until the last five minutes of the first half. I think they perhaps overran us in midfield. Would there have been an argument for putting Ozil wide right and Wilshere in the middle in a less advanced position than the German would ordinarily take-up? Maybe. When we had Arteta and Flamini in there we did look more solid, though Everton still enjoyed plenty of possession late on.

I think we missed Flamini a lot and yet Arteta was arguably our best player. It felt like that kind of game – one where midfield was key.

Just to mention that when it became apparent that three subs were coming on at once, I correctly called the three going off. Just saying.

But it was the right move – none of Ramsey, Cazorla or Wilshere were firing and in Flamini, Theo and Rosicky we had three subs each with something unique to offer. In Theo’s case a headed assist for the goal. Get that.

This was no a disastrous result. Arsene will want to ensure these slow starts in big games do not become a pattern but the reality is we were playing an Everton side who are absolutely flying at the moment. And despite not playing particularly well, we still created a decent number of chances.

34 Responses to “Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Weird old game”

  1. Family Enclosure Man says:

    Agree with every word of that. Everton just might turn out to be serious challengers for the title this season; they have lost fewer PL matches than anyone (including us) and have added exciting talent and a newer maturity to what they had last seaosn. The only thing they seem to have lost is the lumbering Fellaini (anyone remember those scary reports from the summer that we were considering swapping Ramsey + cash for him?). But for all their excellent midfield play we definitely had the better chances. This was a wonderful game between are two seriously good teams. In the end a draw was a fair result.

  2. Luke says:

    I thought Arteta’s had his lack of pace exposed by Everton’s midfield and was easily brushed aside by Lukaku a couple of occasions.

  3. Wallace says:

    i missed the first-half which sounds like no bad thing. we were definitely the better side in the 2nd but Everton never stopped coming at us, so fair play to them. some are blaming Gibbs for the goal, but i thought it was great quick feet from the Spanish kid. and weird as this might sound, i don’t mind us not going 7pts clear. we go 7pts clear and suddenly the pressure is on. was interesting to hear Wenger complain about Everton’s use of clever/cynical fouls to halt our counter-attacks. was it an issue in the first-half? i saw a few instances in the 2nd…

  4. N7 says:

    Everton’s squad size may cost them in the end but they’re flying now.

    A good place to be for us – got to make this fortnight count.

  5. aj says:

    Wallace – Yes, there was a string of “professional” fouls in the first half and Everton adopted the Chelsea tactic of rotating the perpetrators, so that no one individual seemed to be fouling persistently (except Barry). It took a long long time for Webb to start pulling them up for it and it is true that it stopped us getting up a head of steam, although it doesn’t excuse the fact that Everton were much sharper than us at that time. Perhaps one of the reasons we were in the ascendency in the second half, was down to the fact that several of the foulers hd gobe into the book and had to stop that tactic.

    I also think that Gibbs was to blame for the goal. I think he had an excellent game apart from that but it is one of his weaknesses, one that has cost in other games this year, in that he gets out of the way of fierce shots coming in his direction. He needed to charge down the Everton player, who took a while to line up the shot but instead, he kept out of the way of it. He needed to take one for the team; the soreness wears off quickly but the two points lost will never be made back.

  6. Musa Tanko says:

    Yes, Everton were lucky to have enjoyed more of the game’s possession than Arsenal but at the same time lucky not to have conceded goals from our more threatening attacks. Hope Arsenal will avoid this slow start against Man City and Chelsea. UP GUNNERS.

  7. skillz says:

    any seasoned football watcher will tell you that was a game that we could so easily have lost as well as won..we also were tipped to win by pundits which brings me to this point…it appears in games where majority of people tip us to win we catch cold feet and trip over ourselves..whilst the ones no one gives us a chance, are the games we show incredible resilience…and they say players don’t watch Tv or listen to fans/pundits..meh! ofcourse they do….so fair result, no more talking about this one for me..its on to the Etihad ”slaughter ground”

  8. osahi says:

    As much as Everton has been playing well and lost only one match, they’ve had seven draws now. That they came to the Emirates and completely controlled the first half isn’t complimentary to Arsenal. We have topped the league for two months, lost only two games and drawn one. It is said to be a fair result but only because we weren’t at our best. It was also untypical of the present Arsenal not to be able to hold on to a lead for the last ten minutes; the second half of last season shows that. It was a keenly contested match which we should’ve won. This is a warning. We just have to be more imposing in the big matches. With Manchester City and Chelsea, we must show that.

  9. Elvis says:

    Fair play to Everton – they really look a team on the up at the moment. I am pleased for Martinez, a gentleman who doesn’t play mind games, moan about referees, bully the press or point at his watch to the 4th official.

    In truth either team could have won yesterday. It was about very fine margins in the end. Had we played with more tempo and and not so much within ourselves, I think we would have won the game. I think most of us thought that Ozil had snatched the three points and that we had slightly got away with it. Our defence has been so solid of late and 10 minutes to hang on seemed achievable.

    I have a feeling the trip to Naples will drain us. Man City will have a day longer to recover than we will and will send out a reserve team at Bayern Munich anyway. They’ll be fresher than us and their record at home (W7-D0-L0) is frightening. I’d take a point at the Etihad now if it was offered.

  10. GG says: Gibbs needs to curb this tendency to watch instead of act!

  11. PD says:

    Agree with Elvis, Martinez is a breath of fresh air in English football. The anti-Mourinho if you like.

    As for Everton’s fouling….the foul count was 13-11 & they got 4 yellows to our none. Suggests they could complain just as loudly about Webb? We’ve got to stop being victims : I was amazed at the consistent outrage in the stands over perfectly legitimate Everton tackles.

    aj,totally agree with you on Gibbs’ role in their goal & again agree that it isn’t the first time. He’s close to being a very good full-back but needs to be a bit braver.

    As for Arteta…I’m sorry but he got taken to the cleaners over & over again. He is not and never will be what we need there. Arsene’s selections in the last week suggest he still sees him as our no.1 in that position over Flamini. Utter madness. If that view doesn’t change soon we will not win the league.

    On a positive note, our centre-halves were superb. Everton dominated in midfield for long spells & have a centre-forward in great form & yet we totally subdued him. Hats off to both of them.

  12. eliphas says:

    pd: I agree with you on the choice between Flamini and Arteta. We need Flamini for the tough games because he is aggressive and can not be bullied. At one time Arteta was left tackling thin air when Lukaku was long gone. Remember other teams are watching!

  13. slc gunner says:

    I was seriously worried about Lukaku before the game. A different proposition than Suarez, Rooney, RVP, Sturridge. And while I think I may have over-rated the Belgian somewhat, Koscielny was simply outstanding. MOM for Arsenal, although I think Barkley takes the game honours. He’s quite a prospect.
    Interesting that Barkley’s performance was in stark contrast to Wilshere, who was our worst performer on the day. I rarely remember Jack touching the ball. One bad game doesn’t make him a bad player, but he needs to up his game from that. There will be those that say that he is being played out of position, and that was said about Ramsey last year as well. And while it may not be his best position, it should be remembered that he played there when he first burst onto the scene. I remember a clip of a goal he scored for the reserves, cutting in from his position on the right.
    PD: I really though Arteta was one of the better midfielders yesterday. The 3 that were taken off deserved to come off. Yes, he will be exposed for pace, like at the end vs Lukaku. However, I thought he put in a Flamini-like performance in some ways and he really should have been booked for his accumulation of fouls. He totally clattered into Pienaar, and used the old pro trick of feigning his own injury so that he didn’t get booked. Flamini did improve things, but that’s because he was better than Ramsey on the day, who was certainly off.
    I have seen some pundits say that Ozil wasn’t great. I thought he did some great things yesterday: his close control and ability to play in tight spaces were amazing at times. he didn’t dominate the game like Barkley, but I feel that he is becoming more involved in recent games. When he put an experienced defender like Distin on his arse, that was something special.
    As for Wednesday, the back 5 picks itself. I don’t think Gibbs has done much wrong. Assuming Sagna is still out. Giroud picks himself. I think we’ve got to go with Flamini-Arteta-Ramsey-Ozil and one of Cazorla, Rosicky, Walcott and Jack. I would go with Walcott. In a game where they have to go for it, they won’t play as deep and that should leave room for Walcott to make runs in behind. Just a theory.

  14. Elvis says:

    Yes slc gunner, I agree with all your post. I think Arteta generally reads the game better than Flamini and passes more intelligently too. He does the simple things well. In my opinion Everton’s goal would have been avoided if Flamini had closed down both Barkley and Oviedo better and Gibbs had thrown himself at Deolofeu. I have no problem with Arteta playing regularly in front of the back four.

    My thoughts on the best team for Wednesday:

    Jenkinson – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Monreal
    Arteta – Flamini
    Walcott – Ozil – Ramsey

  15. betul says:

    Özıl is the best,I watched all of the match and recognized that other players rarely pass the ball to Mesut ,If they did we had win ,because mesut had lots of nice positions to score

  16. Livinus says:

    Am happy 4 Arsenal. I think that the whole team will be held responsible 4 the goal conceded. The strikers should have fall back to help out, the mildfielders ought to tidy things up, Jenkinson does not suppose allow the cross in, the central defence(KOSCIENY) should have put their body to that cross to gain an infrigement from Lukaku, somebody would have double Gibbs precense to put himself to the shot bc the scorer has player on his right asking 4 the ball. So Gibbs cant match 2:1 onslaught from that tight angle. 4 me the whole team played well, get 1 goal, conced 1 goal as well

  17. PD says:

    Well, it’s all about opinions but if I’m honest, I was embarrassed for Arteta yesterday he was so out of his depth. I’ve said it a million times : it’s not what he does, it what he doesn’t do. You want a reason for our slow start ? Look no further. City will tear him to pieces.

    I’m too tired to even argue it any more. For me it really pains me to watch a good player being utterly exposed like that. I feel so strongly about it that I’ll say this : as long as Arteta is our no.1 there, any new contract for Arsene is completely unjustified.

    For me , our best 11 for the two big games this week picks itself. The keeper/back four as normal. Then it’s Flamini/Ramsey/Ozil & Theo/Giroud/Santi.

  18. PD says:

    I just want to reiterate that I am not criticising Arteta, but Arsene. Arteta is a good player with a great attitude. A bit off the top level imo but a good lad to have around nonetheless.
    My problem is that all those arguing for him to be picked ahead of Flamini still seem to think it’s a question of whether him or Flamini is a better player. It’s not, not at all. There are obviously loads of things Arteta does better than Flamini. (passes the ball more intelligently Elvis – who would ever even begin to argue that wasn’t the case ??)
    The question to ask is this : which of them best does the job that needs to be done – in that particular position – in this particular Arsenal team – to allow us to succeed as a team ?
    And for me that we’re even debating that after the evidence of last season & the first half of this is simply insane. It is Flamini by a million miles.

  19. ManuelB says:

    This is my first time commenting on this blog. I watched the whole game yesterday and agree with various commentators above. I thought that Arsenal should not have conceded a late goal as it did. Even though the result might have been unfair to Everton, once Arsenal went ahead it should have won. Gibbs gave the Spaniard too much room. I haven’t watched that many games so I can’t say whether Gibbs always backs off hard shots, but he did on this occasion. Arsene needs to figure out why the team started so slowly (and also against ManU). Is it the players on the field or is it psychological? As well as Arsenal has played, it’s record against the top teams is not as good as he overall record. Aside from the Aston Villa loss (who knows why that happened?), Arsenal has lost points to ManU, Everton and WBA. It still hasn’t played Chelsea or ManCity (it gets the chance to prove me wrong soon).

  20. Dami Odun says:

    Frankly speaking, PD is absolutely right. Arteta is a better footballer than Flamini, however the team needs Flamini in that defensive midfield role more than Arteta, atleast for the balance and overall strenght of the lineup. Arteta was our weakest link in the game versus Everton. Simply put, Flamini not in the line up, was the cause of our slow start in that game! Moreso, Rosicky this season, deserves the nod ahead of Casorla.. For Wednesday, in my opinion our starting line-up should be: Chesny, Jenk, Per, Kosc, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil, Jack, Rosciky, Giroud.

  21. kehinde uniben says:

    Gud game but a sluggish start halted our chances…… Carzola,giroud, ramsey and jack were not convincing……. Arteta grew into d game but d intro of d three musketeers was game changing. Jenkinson dd well and seems to b maturing quickly due to criticism. Szczney was superb. Center backs wer awesome taming d menacing belgian. Gibs shud av done better. I hope we start on d strong foot n our crunch games ahead. I jst luv ds team and see dem going places.

  22. West Upper says:

    I agree with most of the blog – it was a terrific game and Everton are a seriously good side so 1-1 wasn’t a bad result by any means.

    I don’t agree with the praise for Arteta – I thought he tried to overdo things and got caught out too much (maybe trying to prove a point against his old team). Presumably he was on as a defensive mid but the space allowed to Pienaar while he was on caused us problems. We really needed Flamini to get in his face.

    When we play Chelsea its essential that Flamini starts to face off Ramirez who absolutely bullied our midfield last season.

    For me our best player was Kos who had Lukaku in his pocket for the whole game.

  23. Wallace says:

    i like Arteta, he’s been immense in a few of the games this year, but i’d always go with Flamini. we lose some fluency with him in the side, but his organisational skills and aggression more than make up for this. and for the moment i’d also go with Rosicky ahead of Cazorla.

  24. Dalip Nagassar says:

    I agree with most comments> I do believe however that we must give the other side credit for containing Arsenal and not allowing them to get going. There are two teams out there and the behavior of one must influence the prerformance of the other. Thats just the way it is. Arteta was guilty of doing the same thing that Everton is accused of doing. ie slowing the game down. Gibbs has to man-up. He is a pro and it is chicken to turn like he did and has done previously. Someone has to call it like it is or he will not learn. He must take responsiblity, He was the last line of defence and knowing that he has to do much better. It was nice to see Ozil getting involved defensively. He needs to help the boys out more and he will gain a lot of respect from all his fans for that. Both teams deserved the draw.

  25. kazeem says:

    I don’t know why arsenal fans forget so soon. gone are the days we boss possession and still lose to teams like Chelsea even small teams. We are more technical in approach to games now this team wants to win trophy this season we defend when the need arises against more physical teams cpl matchday1, spurs, manu,everton, dortmund. This is now a team that’s wise in approach to games, we are like man city when they won the league.

  26. Blaque says:

    Terrific analysis by the whole lot. There are a couple of things we ought to pick out regarding this team. I have seen them on many occasions this season, dropping off and letting other teams boss the ball either @ the Emirates or away ergo Norwich, Southampton, Stoke, Dortmund are a couple of games that come to the fray.

    We love Mikel, no doubt about that but Ross Barkley and Steven Piennar just exposed our team in the final third all because Arteta does not have the requisite physique/athletic set for that role. The stats (Ross Barkley’s heat map displays that) there is only one player in that team who mops up that space…..anyone fancy a guess?

    Decisions have to be made regarding the next 3 games…. certainly a double pivot is needed in front of the back four…. a real double pivot @ MA8 and MF20 combo.. leave AR16(cannot believe i could ever type/say this about the lad), MO11 and TR7 Yes Tomas, he is the man for crunch games. JW10 and SC19 are struggling to assert themselves, especially against “better” teams. ‘Little Mozart’ leads that orchestra like a genius…. we can afford to rest him for the Napoli game and go with TW14 to exploit/keep in check the Naples team…. the mere thought of him being on should do the trick (he needs the game time as well) Save TR7 for Man City…

    We gotta keep believing… folks, MO or Suarez…..if we had a choice, who would you have picked?

  27. ARG says:


  28. Daniel Chan says:

    Yaya sanogo

  29. Dalip says:

    When players are playing well they should be given a change to play. The players are all professionals and are paid for either sitting on the bench or playing> Players should not be played so that they can play themselves into form. The team does not have that luxury> Practices are where the players should use to play themselves into form.
    Thomas has been playing well and he gives his heart for the team. Montreal has been doing the same but needs to know that defence is more important than trying to score. He could get into trouble.
    Bentner and Cazola give the ball away too many times. They are not in form.
    Play the best in form players and we can win every game. Go Gunners Go.

  30. skillz says:

    worrying form last night guys…what do you guys think? mini slump? definitely need to get our spirits up before heading to the Etihad slaughter ground…our attack lacks a focal point when we are in good positions in the final third..Giroud (not criticizing him now) drops deep a lot with a view to participate in build up play..mostly leaving us attackerless…January can’t come quicker for me…poor Arteta that tackle didnt deserve a 2nd booking…very harsh decision from the ref

  31. PD says:

    No pace skillz is the obvious answer. Why Theo wasn’t on is beyond me.
    I have a feeling Arsene’s obsession with technique over everything else is keeping him out of the team the same as for Flamini : despite all the evidence that we’re a much better balanced team with both of them in.

    It’s do or die now. Arsene’s team selection on Saturday will be the defining moment of our season : Arteta starts ahead of Flamini = end of our title challenge.
    Interesting that on Irish tv last night Liam Brady – as Arsenal to the core as any man on earth & normally staunch defender of everything to do with the club – had zero sympathy for Arteta over the sending off. Called him amateurish & naive.

  32. slc gunner says:

    i missed most of the 2nd half, including the red card and their first goal. We were very comfortable in the 1st half. Very weird game. When I came back, there was 10-15 minutes left, and both sides were playing keep ball, happy with the 1-0. Even when it was 0-0, it was weird: Arsenal were not really going for it, because a draw was fine.
    What I’ve read from others is that the red card was harsh considering it was only his second foul, and others were saying it wasn’t that bad. Brady’s comment is interesting though: he’s probably right to a certain extent in that you should know that a red card might be possible.
    Interesting that Walcott has not had a start too: he’s been back for a month or so now. Maybe Arsene is reading this blog and then doing the opposite! I thought last night would have been a good game for him though.
    Looking ahead a few weeks, some interesting decisions ahead: who to pick against Spurs at the end of 5 games in 2 weeks. I’m hoping that we rotate for the Cardiff game prior to that, and have all the big guns for Spurs. I can see Vermaelen and maybe Monreal playing against the spuds, but I wouldn’t want to see major weakening.

  33. PD says:

    There was a lot more interesting stuff too…..a comment was made that we lacked leaders. Brady disagreed & mentioned Per, Kos, Flamini….and Ramsey/Jack coming up as potential leaders.

    Eamonn Dunphy (Ireland’s residential football loudmouth) then said that Arteta being captain was an embarrassment for a club the size of Arsenal. Brady normally bristles with indignation at Dunphy’s (constant) attempts to be controversial and contradicts him immediately. He didn’t offer a single word in response this time. It appears I’m in good company.

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