Arsenal FC v Everton FC –
Final Score/Result: Arsenal 1-1 Everton
Man Of The Match: Ross Barkley
Arsenal FC and Everton FC played out an enthralling draw at the Emirates as Gerard Deulofeu cancels out Mesut Ozil’s opener.
It turned out to be a treat for the neutrals as both these sides flexed their muscles on the Emirates’ pitch. Arsenal had the opportunity to stretch their lead seven points at the top of the table as rivals dropped points on Saturday, but they had to be contained with a draw in the end, which was fair result considering neither of the teams deserved a defeat on the night. On the hindsight, this could be good point for Arsenal as this Everton side are no pushovers and have already defeat Chelsea and Manchester United. They now have a five points lead at the top and this will provide them with some cushion as they head into a tough run of games. The Gunners will now face Napoli, Manchester City and Chelsea in their next three matches and could prove to be a decisive period in the title race.
Everton meanwhile have proved their top-four credentials with this performance, none of the teams so far have taken the taken the game to Arsenal like the Merseyside club has done. Roberto Martinez has delivered results against the top teams and Everton has faced just one defeat so far in what is arguably the toughest fixture in the Premier League – an away trip to face Manchester City. Everton are currently fifth in the league table and just two points behind second placed Liverpool. Moreover, they face just one side who are currently in the top half of the table in their next seven fixtures.
The away side started the match brightly and didn’t allow Arsenal to settle. In fact for most of the first half Everton looked like the home side and dominated possession. Roberto Martinez had a clear plan to stop Arsenal playing from the back. The full backs pushed forward in attack and the wingers took on the Arsenal full backs. The likes of Barkley, Lukaku, Pienaar and Mirallas pressed from the front and didn’t allow any time or space for the Arsenal midfielders to get to get their passing game going. The Gunners did find their way into the game in the last 10 minutes of the first half though, and suddenly created to good openings with quick one-touch passing, but Tim Howard was sharp to deny them a good shot at goal as he came off the line quickly.
Arsenal enjoyed greater freedom in attack in the second half and responded well to Everton’s pressing. The home side began to dominate possession and created a good chance in the 50th minute when Santi Cazorla pulled back the ball from the far post and the Spaniard headed it straight to Howard.
Everton looked dangerous on the counter-attack and were quick to break forward at every opportunity. A similarly swift move saw them created a shooting opportunity for Pienaar and his long range effort brought the best out of Szczesny. The game became end to end at this point as both teams looked for the opener. The goal did finally arrive for the home side as the substitutes made an instant impact. Tomas Rosicky picked out Theo Walcott with a long pass and the winger headed the ball across the goal. Giroud missed his kick in front of the goal, but Ozil was behind him to bury the ball in the back of the net. At this point it looked like the winner as Arsenal looked solid at the back and looked unlikely to concede a goal. But credit to Everton once again to respond quickly to effectively after going behind.
Gerard Deulofeu, the youngster on loan from Barcelona, cancelled out the former Real Madrid midfielder’s opener. As the ball came in from the left wing, Lukaku missed his overhead kick and the ball reached Deulofeu at the far post, who came on as a substitute minutes before Everton conceded the goal. The youngster took a touch, settled himself and then drilled it into the back of the net from a tight angle. The ball was hit with such power and dip that Szczesny couldn’t get his hand up in time. As the game headed for a draw, Arsenal had one last opportunity and Olivier Giroud was unlucky to see his pile driver from outside of the box to hit the post. But it would have been unfair on Everton had that ball went in as they deserved a point at least for their performance on the night.
Arsene Wenger believed that a draw was a “logical result” in the end and praised Roberto Martinez’s side for their performance.
“It was a very intense game and you have to say Everton were a very good side today.
“They gave us a difficult time, especially at the start of the game in the first half an hour.
“After that we had better control in the final 15 minutes of the first half and the second half, but they remained always dangerous on counter-attacks.
“The regret we have tonight is of course that we were 1-0 and they have come back to 1-1, but overall it’s a point and you can say it is a logical result.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Although Arsenal missed the opportunity to stretch their lead to seven points Wenger believes that the five points lead still provides them with a cushion ahead of a tough week.
“Ideally we wanted seven but at least we’ve got five.
“It gives a little bit of a cushion to play in a serene way against the other teams.
“Now we go to the Champions League so let us focus on that. It is important that we recover.
“We have a difficult task in Naples and then go to Man City.” – Wenger added.
Arsenal v Everton – Statistics
Ross Barkley produced another brilliant performance in the midfield for Everton. The youngster has grabbed a lot of attention this season and Martinez should also be praised for providing him a sense of freedom in attack. The 20-year-old was everywhere on the pitch and was as important in attack as he was defensively. He pressed the likes of Arteta, Ramsey and the Arsenal defenders when they had possession and exploited the space between the Arsenal midfield and their defence. His work rate, intelligence on the ball and tenacity was incredible. The above heat-map depicts his movement and positioning on the pitch.