Our game against Everton will need further analysis over the coming days, and I recommend everyone to watch the game again before jumping to big conclusions. From a tactical point of view, there is so much to analyse, and there were also a few Everton players on display who could become interesting transfer targets this summer. Fellaini really impressed, and is he perhaps the beast of a DM we have been asking for? Jagielka performed almost faultless and he could well be the extra CB many of us believe we need to buy this summer…. I was also impressed with Coleman and he could well be a good addition on the right. So, really worth watching the game again and discuss things further over the coming days.
I feel a bit deflated as there were good opportunities in the second half to clinch all three points, but I am also happy we did not concede this time round and got a valuable point. After a good run, we were bound to run out of a bit of luck to win another game, and it is now key to pick things up again against Fulham on Saturday.
Let’s start with the negatives, or ‘areas in need of improvement’:
- The obvious one is Giroud’s lack of end product today. In his defence I say at least he is there and works hard to get in those positions, and he was up against a very well organised and confident central defence today. I like Ollie: he works hard for the team and gives his all. If he had scored a goal today, he would have been our hero, but now many will hang him out to dry. Nothing new there.
- Jack, Rambo and Arteta were outmuscled a lot during the first half; with a lot of help by a very lenient referee. Rambo and Arteta bit by bit got more grip on the game but Jack struggled again to boss the midfield. It was a strange decision to select Wilshere again and not play Rosicky or Cazorla in the hole. Jack is really struggling with form and I hope Wenger makes the right selection decision against Fulham on Saturday.
- Our passing game and individual technical control of the ball was poor for large parts of the game. Everton’s game plan was to press us everywhere and make it difficult for us to pass the ball round. If and when we had the ball, our players were often fouled by overly aggressive Everton midfielders, with which they got away far too many times. But that does not take away that we allowed them to bully us, and it is in games like these that we can really see how much we need a beast of a DM to counterbalance this. Fellaini, like Ramires did a couple of months ago for Chelsea, made the difference for the Toffees today.
Further negatives were the lack of effective wing play by our ‘wingers’ Theo and Cazorla, and the lack of link-up play between Sagna-Theo and Gibbs-Cazorla
- The obvious one is our clean sheet and our defensive performance as a team. Everton might have won many a battle in midfield, especially during the first half, but except for a scary moment or two, our defending was solid and well organised. I was happy but also surprised Arsene left his captain out again, but I reckon he made the right decision. We might all feel a bit down for not winning this game, but at least we did not lose it, and our defensive performance deserves credit.
- The pivot between Arteta and Ramsey started to work better the longer the game went on, and especially in the second half the Spaniard and Welshman played very well. They are becoming the motor / driving force of our team and add a lot of spirit and stamina to the team. Long may it continue.
- Arsene’s first two subs made a real difference, and we created enough chances to actually win the game. Both Pod and Ox were very lively and full of attacking intent. It was a real shame Ox did not take a shot on goal but decided to pass it to Giroud, as I am sure he would have scored. The directness of Ox and Pod was a really welcome addition to our play and if they, Giroud, and also Cazorla had been more clinical we would have surely won. Ooh, and please don’t ask me to explain the third and final substitution…. 😕
Further positives were the drive and energy of both Sagna, and especially, Gibbs, who both never gave up and fought for the shirt. I also thought Cazorla was excellent, especially in the second half: he drove the team forward and added the much needed quality and inventiveness.
Although most of us, me included, feel more than a bit deflated with not getting all three points, I think we need to realise that after six PL wins out of seven, we need to take this mini-setback on the chin and move onwards to the next game. The team have done very well to get 19 points out of 24 and get themselves back into the top-four, but we are clearly not there yet. Nobody set it was going to be easy: squeaky bum times ahead!
Written by: TotalArsenal.