Arteta’s Arsenal 3 – 2 Ancelotti’s Everton
A very hard fought for win and three very precious points at the end of a week of three games in which we were victorious – two at the home of football and one at the home of ancient sports – is leaving us feeling upbeat and proud to be a Gooner. This was anything but straightforward, and we rode our luck at times, but a combination of excellent finishing, stout defending and team spirit got us to the end.
More game-analyses will follow but here are my player ratings:
Leno: 8.5 MOTM – At fault for the second goal but a very powerful performance in the second half with top-notch saves. Mistakes are human and the best make them, but to get over it so quicky and then put in that performance show us all what a great goalie we have.
Kola/Saka: 6/6 – Kola did not have a great start of the game and then he got injured. Saka needed a rest, so much was clear when he had to come on for the injured Kola, but he put in a shift. Defensively the 18 year old made a few poor decisions, but he was very important once again by producing an absolute peach of a cross for his mate Eddie.
Luiz: 7 – at fault for the first Toffees’ goal but recovered well after that. The whole defence struggled with having a grip on the game and both in the air and on the groud we were vulnerable. Luiz did not get the best full back support today and the midfield was less solid as well, but he did well to guide us to victory.
Mustafi: 8.5 MOTM – massive presence in defence with a large number of clearances and interceptions, also good involvement in our forward passing, out from defence. Not sure about the hair, though. 🙂
Bellerin: 5 – Hector is still finding his feet and offered little in attack today. I also found him wanting in defence. Big fan but he needs to up his game, especially after being rested on Thursday.
Xhaka: 8 – How many passes did he make today? It makes you wonder why some still doubt him – three games in a row; the first on the team sheet for every manager. He did not get the much needed support in midfield today, but he compensated for this all by himself. Always tried to aid the attack from deep, and support the defence as much as possible.
Ceballos: 5.5 – Like his fellow Emery-chosen-one Guendouzi, Ceballos likes to aid the attack and offer tonnes of positive energy, but positionally he is limited and he does not form a shield enough with his fellow deeper midfielder (Xhaka). As a result, our defence was exposed, especially on our right side and it could have cost us dearly.
Ozil: 6.5 – quite isolated in a strong Everton midfield, but came for the ball a lot and moved our game forward whenever he could do so.
Pepe: 6 – good assist for the goal but often isolated in attack and not did not offer enough support in defence, hence leaving Bellerin exposed. We need to see more ‘presence’ from him on the pitch: more physicality, more energy, more thrust, more balls.
Eddie: 6.5 – took his goal well: made the right run and did not fluff his opportunity. His back-to-the-goal footie remains a work in progress, and his involvement in the game was often inconsequential. But he scored and that goes a long way for a young CF.
Auba: 8.5 MOTM – a powerful and passionate performance. Scored two fine goals and worked his socks off to support the below-par Saka right till the end. Pepe needs to learn from Auba.. and fast. PEA is not just a cheque collector: he has intrinsic motivation to do well for the fans, the manager and his team mates and I love him.