Arsenal 0 - 0 Everton
As Arsenal looked to extend their lead in the race for top four. Everton were looking to cover some ground of their own. With just four points separating the two sides, both The Gunners and The Toffees were desperate for all three points.[quote_right]”Despite being goalless, the first half was a real spectacle…”[/quote_right]
Despite being goalless, the first half was a real spectacle.
Everton had set out to flood the midfield via brute force, and that’s exactly what they did. Fellaini and Gibson in particular threw their weight around very early on in the second half, but were met with the resistance of Arteta, Ramsey & Wilshere.
Challenges were fierce and the tempo of the play was tantalizingly high. Aaron Ramsey was working tirelessly to win possession and make runs forward whenever he could, whilst Mikel Arteta was held his ground in the middle of the park against aggressive opposition.
The chances were numerable, but Szczesney was largely untroubled throughout the first period. Tim Howard on the other hand, had to be alert to a long-range effort from Santi Cazorla.[quote_left]” Laurent Koscileny in particular was first to every ball, commanding his defensive area with dominance.”[/quote_left]
The second half was surprisingly similar to the first. Very rarely do such highly intense games bubble over for so long. Chances upon chances were begin created for both sides, yet the goal simply wouldn’t come.
Anichebe was doing a good job of harassing Mertesacker & Koscielny, but the two centre backs were doing an even better job of keeping him at bay. Laurent Koscileny in particular was first to every ball, commanding his defensive area with dominance.
Arsenal threw on Podolski & Oxlade-Chamberlain to try to unlock the solid Everton back line, but to no avail. Oxlade Chamerblain, Olivier Giroud & Mikel Arteta all had Golden opportunities to finish Everton off, but each chance was agonizingly missed.
As the game progressed to its final stages, it seemed that both sides had resigned themselves to a draw. Energy levels were low, and the final whistle eventually called time on an epic battle, of which there was no victor.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Thanks to some stellar defending, Szczesney had a quiet return to his duties. Had to handle the ball at his feet under pressure a number of times though, and he thankfully refrained from any Cruyff turns.
Bacaray worked tirelessly all game, thanks to the lively Mirrallas. He held firm under pressure and did well to link up with Theo Walcott & The Ox when coming forward. Can’t cross a ball.
After serving his ban, Per returned to put in a solid performance. Anichebe & Fellaini put him under a lot of pressure at times, But he kept his cool and denied them every time. Read the game excellently as always.
MOTM As different players battle for positions in the back four, Koscielny has cemented his position with yet another dominating performance. He won numerous aerial battles and put in strong challenges to deny goal scoring opportunities. A pleasure to watch.
Kieran did excellenty when coming forward with the ball, managing to skip behind the Everton defence on a number of occasions. Needs to work on his defensive positioning.
Mikel did brilliantly to hold his own in a packed out, aggressive midfield zone for the entire game. He tussled with Fellaini for the ball on a number of occasions and passed the ball well. Unfortunately, his performance loses its shine due to a terrible, timid attempt at finishing a chance off in the final minutes.
It’s great to see Aaron playing well again. He worked tirelessly all game, making great challenges across the field of play. He made numerous runs forward to help attacks, and looked lively off the ball. However, some poor passing and crossing let him down at points.
Evidently still unfit, Jack put in the best shift that he could. He passed well and held up play in the middle, but struggled to skip past players with the usual ease he enjoys. Should be at full fitness for Saturday.
Cazorla’s passing was excellent for large patches of the game, but some sloppiness crept in during the second half. He pulled out of challenges on a number of occasions, and looked off the pace at times. However, he certainly came alive when he was moved back to his favoured central position.
Theo’s pace is vital to Arsenal’s attacks, and he used it to trouble Everton all game. However, like Jack, he looked unfit after returning from injury. Needs to drift inside more to pick up the ball.
Olivier worked hard as usual, but missed far too many chances. He does well to knock down headers for runners, but is regularly out of position when a cross comes in. Needs a game on the bench.
Lukas came on and looked lively, but wasn’t given much of an opportunity to get involved. Helped win a few corners. Needs to start more games.
The Ox: [5.5/10]
In the dying moments, The Ox had a golden opportunity to bury the game, but instead decided to pass the ball across goal to a heavily marked Olivier Giroud. Didn’t offer Sagna much when coming forward.
[title]Sharing The Scraps[/title]
A point is not ideal for Arsenal by any stretch of the imagination. However, it must be noted that Everton are no push overs. They battled for their point, and they sit - deservedly, four points behind The Gunners.
In the race for top four, Spurs play Manchester City next, as Arsenal face Fulham. The Rollercoaster has taken yet another twist, but the spirit shown by Arsenal today was nothing but promising. The quality in front of goal however, was not as encouraging.
What did you think of the Arsenal Vs Everton match? Share your views in the comments section below!