After the disaster that was the midweek Champions League defeat to AS Monaco, Arsenal were looking for a quick reaction against Everton who themselves had a better time in European competition, moving to the round of 16 in the Europa League. Arsenal managed to keep a clean sheet thanks to some good goalkeeping by David Ospina and a couple of timely tackles from Gabriel Paulista. On the other end, Olivier Giroud erased his embarrassment at not taking his chances against Monaco by scoring the opening goal, with Tomas Rosicky scoring at the death to seal the deal for Arsenal.
Here are a few things we learnt from the game.
Arsenala s counter attacks
Arsenal are fast developing a lethal counter attacking side to their game, drawing in the opposition team with deep defending, and then hitting them on the counter as soon as they get possession. This was fairly evident throughout the game against Everton, with the Toffees dominating possession but unable to do much with it, only for the gunners to quickly get the ball into the opposition box in a matter of seconds. One prime example for that was when Gabriel made an outstanding tackle to deny Romelu Lukaku in the box, and with the ball in their control, Arsenal raced away to the other end and almost got a goal through Giroud, who was only denied by a deflection.
Giroud gets a little something
Speaking of Olivier Giroud, it was a bold call by Arsene Wenger to retain the central striker after what can only be called an embarrassing game against Monaco, where he missed at least 3 golden chances to give Arsenal the much needed goals. However, Giroud did not disappoint this time around, taking the first goal cleverly from an Ozil corner, giving Arsenal the lead that gave a sigh of relief for the fans as much as the manager. Of course, there were other chances he should have taken, particularly two headers that he should have done better at directing towards the goal, but getting on the score sheet will do him a world of good.
Evertona s relegation form
For all their advancement in the Europa League, Evertona s current form in the Premier League is akin to a club that is about to get relegated. The number of points they have dropped have seen them go down to the second half of the table from a 5th place finish last season, and while they are too good a team to actually get relegated, they are dangerously close to it. Unless they start winning some games, they will be in real trouble sooner rather than later, with them only 6 points away from 18th placed Burnley.
Safe Hands Ospina
Ever since Wojciech Szczesnya s clanger in the game against Southampton, David Ospina has been keeping goal for Arsenal and has a string of clean sheets to show for his performances. He once again displayed why he should continue to keep his place in the team at the expense of Szczesny. Ospina ensured that Gabriela s mistake early in the game did not cost the team by blocking Lukakua s shot with his hand and then going on to make an excellent tackle. He further made some important saves in the second half which ensured that Everton did not find a way back into the game.
Tomas Rosickya s still got it
He may be 34 years old, but Tomas Rosicky has still got the zing in his game to make things happen. Not only was he in the right place to take Ozila s pass and score the goal, but for the 15 odd minutes that he was on the field, he was energetic off the ball and in one instance ran around to harry Everton players and finally take the ball off them. Arsene Wenger will likely give him another extension, considering how much he brings to the table.