Iwobi reminds of Thierry, Wall of ElCoqNy boss midfield, Alexis has his bite back: Everton v Arsenal Review


Two nil to the Arsenal against the Toffees 62 hours after the battle against the Catalans is nothing to sniff about. It was a welcome win that keeps us in the race for the title, and with this the remainder of the season is still meaningful. But that is the calculating TA speaking: and there is more to life than just results and gaining three points. Achievements are great but experiences are what really matter, and experiencing the real, three dimensional game in open air at Goodison with AB was much more enjoyable than those three points.

Goodison is a cosy ground that breathes football. The supporters know their football and appreciate the good game. I have watched quite a few Everton games this season and they are always enjoyable to watch, with fine and well-structured football. It is fair to say that the Toffees were not really overly bothered about playing us yesterday. They have bigger fish to fry as they are just two FA cup wins away from important silverware and a ticket to Europe and they are safe in the league.

We started with the right energy levels and focus and this rubbed off on the away supporters. The singing was great, especially the Mesut Ozil song: ‘Mesut Ozil, Mesut, I just don’t think you understand – He is Arsene Wenger’s man, he’s better than Zidane, Mesut, Mesut Ozil’ was sung time and again. The team looked different to me without the BFG and Ollie, but it worked, as there was plenty of hunger and movement to give the Toffees a game. Ozil and Iwobi were changing positions a lot and Danny and Alexis were also very mobile. It all paid off soon, when Ozil and Sanchez combined in front of the Toffees’ ‘D’ and for the Chilean to deliver a fine through-ball that Danny pounced on and then put away with fine composure. It did not take long before the fans sang ‘one nil to the Arsenal’.


We expected a response by Everton, but the wall of ElCoqNy supported by the industrious full backs and ‘mid-wingers’, made us play very compact and thus hard to penetrate. AB and I were positioned half way between the Arsenal ‘D’ and the middle of the pitch and had perfect viewing of how well Elneny and Coquelin controlled the midfield. Coquelin read the game well and added the much needed physicality to our game which was a joy to watch; Elneny read the game even better and was a master in keeping it simple: even when operating in tight areas, Mohammed was able to gain himself a bit of time and pick the best possible pass time and again. The Egyptian also operated as back up for Coquelin, for those moments when the Frenchman lost an individual battle. Together they were awesome: they offered great support for our defence and moved the ball quickly to our attacking four. Just to watch these two play together live for the first time was enough to call the day a success.

The attacking four played some lovely football which was full of energy, movement and penetration. Iwobi offers a lot of ‘close-controlled thrust’ and he was brilliant at using his body when battling with the Toffee defenders and midfielders, often much older than him. Danny was very mobile and very much less of a central presence than Ollie, but effective in another way. Alexis seems to have re-blossomed on our right mid-wing position and his assist for Danny’s goal will have done him good. We saw less of Ozil in this game but that is not necessarily a bad thing; and his class still oozed out time and again.

Even though Arsenal had the ball a lot in the first half, we struggled to make it count at times. Iwobi had a fine chance to put one past the keeper from a calmly picked pass by the impressive Alexis, and the Chilean should have had a penalty after being fouled twice inside the box. Everton eventually started to press us back in our half a bit but that was exactly when we sprung the counter through a fine ball over the top from Bellerin to Iwobi: the Lagos born new Arsenal sensation did very well to allow the Spaniard’s ball to bounce and roll through before making his first, very controlled touch; he then made the touch of the game with his second one: that one made the eventual goal and was one of great feeling and balance. Alex also used his body and speed well to move into the box and take a cool shot past the goalie with his third and final touch. There was a bit of Thierry Henry in that run, control of the ball, use of his body and coolness of his finish: what a first PL goal to score!

After that the game was over. Simple as that. The supporters sang their heart out and teased the home support with: ‘Is this the Emirates, Is this the Emirates, psssssssssh!’ hahaha. Everton did not really press us and only had some half chances, except for a good header by Jagielka that narrowly missed the target. We had some half chances too and it looked to me that Ollie scored a good goal, but we were also happy to play out the game and avoid further injury.

Some games you forget quickly but I am sure that AB will agree that this was a special one: great to watch it with a fellow Bergkampesquerer, first PL goal of Iwobi, and the fine combination of ElCoqNy in the centre of the midfield…. It does not get much better than that for me!

By TotalArsenal.

16 thoughts on “Iwobi reminds of Thierry, Wall of ElCoqNy boss midfield, Alexis has his bite back: Everton v Arsenal Review

  • Good review as always TA,

    We needed our defense to be well defended and Le Coq and Elneny is everything that protected the clean sheet, bar the wasteful Everton attack.

    Plenty of questions to the ref as always, and we want to put the most in form striker to start the game. Hence the choice of Danny as the CF.

    He has done that before, when he switched Theo and Ollie in the start of the season.

    My question was to why the banner loving b******s fight with the Gunner loving fans?

    We are known for peace loving fans. Those banner guys are not fans. They are people who jumps from club to club.

    Thank you guys who wants Wenger out, and I want to send them this message:
    “Get out of this club. You are not welcome here.”

    Even though we want the club to go back to winning ways and seeing ourselves 6 points behind spuds, its bonkers to see the fans against the players and the board.

    If we do a role reversal, what would you like to do if you were being bombarded by boos every week??

    Or do you prefer the fans to get behind you and stay like bad weather friends who stay behind when you are down??

    Things are different in perspective if you see yourselves the other side, and we must see from all sides of the situation to warrant any sensible comment.

    Good that the international break is here, let the lads recover and lets play the next 8 games with 100% commitment.


  • TA, worth the wait… Very nice description of your trip down there…Also (obviously) no problems that I was a lonely fella watching the Sunday matches (from the previous post)…

    For me, it’s great to see Elneny play in Rambo’s spot, and, now that he got the goal with the fine finish at Barca, you get the sense that he can cover going back and be a threat–if needed–up front. He cuts a fine figure with the I-can-run-all-day and towards the ball (if that’s what is needed) kind of attitude. Offering the easy pass makes defenders worry about the tougher ones to other folks. To me, his style, thus far, seems like the definition of unselfishness, but the opposite of hiding…

    Coq does likewise, of course, except when he wants to show his range of passing and take a pot shot just to keep the defenders honest. One day he’ll score one and it’ll be a fine moment for all he’s given us. Ramsey, Jack and Santi, and the guys from the old folks home (Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky), if any of them play before the season is done, will have a decent standard to try and match.

    Of course, I was impressed by Iwobi’s goal and his overall play is not at all hesitant, which seems good. He doesn’t always get it right but when he did (the very well-described goal–I think he nutmegged the tall keeper…) it was very impressive. He’s come a long way since he had (probably) the best shooting opportunity on the night (but otherwise looked very peripheral) at Sheffield Wednesday in October and elected to pass. That was my night in the stands, yours sounds a whole lot better…

    Anyhow, I could go on and on (with opinions on the individuals)…but scoring early against a team that doesn’t enjoy the support of their own fans was the real key. It WAS just like the Emirates, which is the most ironic (and saddest) bit of all. Unlike JK, above, I’m not against well-reasoned arguments about why Wenger is holding us back, but just trotting out blame and (worst of all) turning against the team in order to support a personal agenda seems misguided (at best).

    Cheers again for the report…

  • 17ht, please do not get me wrong.

    I watched the game only for the last 20 minutes or so, and so i did not realise that Everton was facing the same issue of fans not backing their team.

    Negative comments make the team stronger as a unit, but when it descends into fights then it makes no sense no matter how much sense they make to getting their agenda right.

    I was just commenting on the fighting incident. To those who commented negatively here, if you see on both fronts, you cant really say much as everyone is trying their best to make the club tick with their fans.

    That was my intention, so no bad blood here.


  • njk84sg, on the contrary, fans like you who passively tolerate stubborn loosers like Wenger and cold exploiters like Kroenke are accomplices to Arsenal’s misery.

  • Great review TA glad you boys enjoyed the game. As Kev mentioned earlier Goodison is one of the great atmospheric older stadiums. Credit to Wenger for changing the side around recently and keeping faith with Iwobi. I am convinced that changes in the side have freshened the squad up. Similar things going on at Old Trafford with Rashford etc.

    Lots of credit to Ospina, if Cech wasn’t the legend he is, L think Ospina would be difficult to replace. Anyone brave enough to stick their body in the way of Lukajku deserves a medal.

    With regard to the fans protest, I think that is probably best dealt with under a separate post as I think 17HT had suggested he might do. Despite the banner I read that most of the protests was against Kroenke, not Wenger Maybe TA or AB can confirm? Comments like .kroenke made the other day will never be well received. It may be a business to him, but the paying public will never see it that way

    Lastly I once wrote a letter to a client suggesting I would diarise an event. The client came back to me stating that the word diarise was not in the dictionary ( it may have changed now). And was I referring to a movement of the bowels? Now I don’t profess to be up to 17HT”s standards of grammar etc and I do appreciate that many of the posters here only have English as a second language, it is however time to understand that all you loosers out there are in fact losers. Amongst other things looser may well refer to a movement of the. Bowels

    TA , 17Ht sorry couldn’t resist it

  • Hahaha Retsub 🙂

    It is true that the protest singing was aimed at the owner. I have no issue with people expressing their opinion in a decent way but of course the timing seemed wrong and it is dividing the support. It was quite an experience to hear the anti Kroenke song being overpowered by pro-Arsenal songs and then vice versa. I also respect that some will want Arsene out as they want a new chapter, but again: is the end of the game at an away game, when the players have fought like lions, the place to express those sentiments?

  • Cheers 17HT

    I don’t want to get into a Rambo v Elneny comparison dialogue, but if and when we want to play compact, and when don’t we?, playing the latter makes sense. He might run constantly but he does it without being frantic: always reading the game well and full of composure. But it is the combo with Coq that was so exciting to watch: I don’t think the defence ever felt better protected and the attackers must have felt there was a constant, solid wall behind them. It was great to see this right in front of us. 😜⚽️💣👍

  • I guess the Everton supporters sensed the team was saving itself, so I wouldn’t read too much into their relative silence…they are usually a noisy bunch.

  • Cracking review TA. You bring that ‘live’ experience to it so well … you should go to games more often … 😀
    Apologies to HT … It must have been an extremely lonely couple of hours for you, after getting up so early. As I have said previously, when I can watch live games on television, my computer is turned off because my TV is my monitor. Hence, I just enjoy the various aspects of the game.

    In the preview comment I attempted to assemble the various combinations that would be under discussion, and asked Arsene Wenger to assemble the pieces into a workable/winning jigsaw.
    To my relief, and much more to AW’s credit, he did just that.

    Andreas – You seem to have got yourself wrapped up in a Utopian dream where everything would be wonderful .. ‘if only …’, that you miss out on so much that is the reality?
    The team put out yesterday was so far from an example of ‘Wenger’s stubbornness’, although there were examples all over the field where he could have retreated back to players ‘he knows’. He didn’t. So what do you do? It appears that rather than appreciate a thing of beauty, you lash out at the fans who have another viewpoint?
    Unlike JK, who, wrongly as I understand it, has the ‘banner waver’ as a ‘fairweather’ supporter, whereas he goes back to beyond the ‘good times’?, I deplored the use of that banner after our splendid win over Hull, not to suppress the alternative view, but because of the effect it might have on the players? Can you imagine how they felt when they came over to applaud the ‘fans’ only to find they were appearing to applaud the banner waver in their midst. They had just played their hearts out for their manager, yet here was someone condemning their boss to the sidelines???

    I am with HT on this, reasoned arguments are one thing, but your one-liners Andreas, don’t cut it.

    I confessed to TA in a post that did not turn out to be a post, that it was a line from Pony Eye that drew me back to this site ….
    ‘Tolerance, and intolerance of tolerant are the same sin …’
    To which I admitted I was probably guilty of both!

    We could all learn to be better humans if we could follow PE’s quietly spoken Buddhist philosophy?

  • Cheers Gerry, there were more experiences to share but I was quite tired writing this last night after a hill walk with Henry and swimming for a couple of hours with daughter, and I don’t want to cover too much as AB is writing a post about his/our experiences.

    Agreed PE has a nice balance to him and his love for beauty in the game is very apparent. 👁

  • As for my match comments …

    The welcome return of Coquelin’s A-game is a big positive.

    The complimentary energy that Iwobi and Elneny bring, is as infectious as to what Alexis brought last season. Happily has now picked up the bug too 😀

    The gladiatorial approach that, when ever so slightly restrained, is refreshing, because without it our defense can be a little more reactive. No disrespect meant to Mertersacker, who I am sure will be better suited when we may looking for a more deeper defensive line?

    The overall result of the above was a joy to watch. The same ‘free role’ offered to Iwobi as to Ozil allows triangles to be created anywhere on the pitch, and when the passes are successful, the speed of transition from turnover to attack is fantastic.
    Just one slight negative on that is that is the movement from one wing to another is some what slow as it takes two or three passes to achieve? In other words … we are missing Cazorla?
    Although who he might displace is a tough call. Heaven forbid it is Iwobi!

    One strange stat from yesterday was; Alexis had NO shots on goal??? Yet he had a brilliant game.

    My mind goes back to a game I watched recently in Ligue 1. The home side were playing a game they should be winning comfortably. But in reality they struggled. The thing that caught my eye was for all the wonderful triangles being played across the pitch, it seemed like whoever was carrying the ball expected to be on the end of the final pass. There was no ‘team unity’ here. Better options to play the ball out of one triangle were invariably not used ….

    Our game yesterday was the total opposite. To which I would say the most credit goes to the Iwobi/Elneny pairing, and has spread throughout the team faster than the ebola ever virus could?
    Long may it last.


  • Typos alert …
    …(Happily) he – Alexis …
    (‘gladiatorial approach) by Gabriel …

    I’m late …

  • Alexis could be found in the hole regularly, as Ozil’s movement and positioning meant there was space in front of the opponent’s D. His through ball to Danny was very good and he could have had an assist for his square, edge of the box, ball for Iwobi. I really liked it that he chose the best option rather than to take a chance shot. So shots on target, just like you, don’t bother me at the slightest 😌

  • Hey there, sorry to be such a looser, heheh… but I just couldn’t get excited about trying to find new nappies for our friend Andreas…

    I’m still hoping we get a (2nd) man-at-the-match report from AB, but, to tide us over (like a grounded ship on a sand-bar…) until it appears, here are some maths from retsub in a…


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