Well that proved to be less easy than, and then as easy as, expected. For almost all of the first half the Toffees kept the Gunners at bay, and they were even dangerous when going forward. We expected them to sit very deep all the time, but they mixed it up a bit.
And then there was guitar as the famous ACDC song has it. Bukayo received the ball, spins and then thundered the ball in the right top corner with his ‘weaker’ right foot. Boom, 1-0 to the Arsenal.
A couple of minutes later, Saka is cheeky and most alert to steal the ball and feed the hungry Martinelli. The Brazilian is in the same space that Bukayo was in just minutes ago. Will he do the same as the young Englishman or will he go low? It is the latter and Pickford gets beaten again. 2-0 to the good guys.
The second half is no contest other than that of beautiful football: it is totally one sided. The ball glides across the pitch like a steam iron over a cotton shirt, and everything has a glorious smoothness to it. The Toffees want to go home. The Gooners just want to sing and watch this exhibition forever and ever.
For a while there is no end product but then no nonsense Trossy feeds dynamo Ødegaard and with a little luck the ball finds the net. And late on Eddie finds Marti for his well deserved brace. 4-0 to the Arsenal and it could have been more.
Eight very short observations:
- Trossard is so mobile and has already doubled his season long assist count. A shot in this team’s arm.
- The Øde is such a pressing machine. He beats the drum for our team.
- Saka is so special. He looks after himself and his energy levels incredibly well. He is almost even with PL goals and assist this season: 10 goals, 9 assists. Such a balance between being selfish and a team player. Wow, WOW!
- Jorginho, what a vision and what a team fit-in by Arteta!
- Tequila produced some very fine mid-long passes. I have not noticed this before as much, but this man can pass a ball.
- So good to have Partey back and what a second half exhibition of midfield play he offered us.
- Ramsdale had little to do but he made a strong and vital safe in the second half. To be focused for ninety minutes is not easy but Aaron does it every game. And that’s why he is our Nr1.
- How good is the Zinch?! He was everywhere on the pitch and he can do simply everything possible on it. Wowowwow.
63 thoughts on “Arsenal v Everton Eight Observations: Do we Really Know How Lucky we Are?”
Thanks Total. Love the ironing imagery. I’ll be sending my shirts to the Emirates.
Another positive was that the boys earned the right to have a more peaceful and relatively stress free second half. A lot of games this season have gone down to the wire, many I have wanted the ref to blow the whistle as soon as we were in front. But this one I could have watched all night (or all morning as the case is here in NZ), the pressure was off and we could enjoy a cameo from Emile and Bukayu could even have a wee rest. What a goal he scored and what a bit of vision and tenacity he displayed with his assist. Hard to believe that he is only 21, younger than our boy Balogun in France.
Bukayu’s new song is another huge positive: “There’s a staaaaaarboy, Running down the right. His name’s Bukayo Saka and he’s dynamite”. Sigh. Yes, Total, we don’t know how blessed we are.
LG, it was a delight to be reminded of that most beautiful of French films and of Montmartre where it was set. I had completely forgotten that scene, Just’s photograph and that marvellous and tragic marble incident. Is not Tatou a creature of otherworldly loveliness?
“My Fathers glory” and “My mothers castle” are two other gems from your blessed domaine.
Thanks Stu for a fine comment.
Wow it is so quiet 🤫 on here. Tge better it goes the less we converse. Sad really.
The future of Arsenal’s left-sided No 8 – Xhaka, Vieira or someone else?
When Fabio Vieira jogged out to warm up during the first half of Arsenal’s victory against Everton, he was met with a loud cheer and a chorus of the song he inherited from his namesake, former club captain Patrick.
It’s entirely normal for that corner of the North Bank to serenade players as they go through their sideline drills. But the reception for Fabio Vieira felt particularly loud, particularly welcoming. After all, at the time the scoreline was 0-0, with a deep Everton defence frustrating Arsenal. Bukayo Saka was yet to break open the game with his blistering right-footed shot — and Vieira seemed a possible candidate to pick the lock.
He did get on later, with the game well won, as a substitute for Granit Xhaka. It was the fourth time in the last five Premier League matches that Vieira had replaced the Switzerland international. It’s a sign of the 22-year-old’s improving adaptation to English football — but is it also an indicator of the next step of evolution for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal?
It seems almost blasphemous to talk about the next phase of this team when the current one is performing so superbly. In pre-season, Arteta challenged Xhaka to change his age and become a player who can contribute in the final third. The 30-year-old responded by returning to training fitter and slimmer than ever. By October 23, he had contributed three goals and three assists in 11 league games.
But productivity has slowed somewhat since then. The 14 games since have produced just two assists, and no goals.
It’s a situation that Arteta is clearly giving some thought to.
“We looked at that and how many times he is arriving in the box, and the moment he is arriving in the box,” he said in February. “The kind of delivery he gets when he is in those positions. He could have had much better service on many occasions when he was in those positions. But to maintain our level, we need goals from midfield and that is a big target.”
As ever, Arteta is keen to focus on what his team can do better, but there are other factors at play here. Arsenal have lost the element of surprise — the rest of the league is now wise to Xhaka’s off-the-ball movements.
What’s more, Arsenal’s elevated state means they are frequently coming up against defences who sit in a low block. With space at a premium, Xhaka’s ‘small-space’ game is stretched to its very limits. As a ‘box-to-box’ player, he thrives — but some recent fixtures have been so congested that it’s been more like playing in a phone box.
That’s where Vieira comes in. Though he lacks Xhaka’s indefatigable stamina and defensive qualities, he has nimbler footwork and a better instinct for scoring and creating goals. After a relatively slow introduction to English football, he is beginning to find his feet.
“He is starting to give me big headaches because I see every day what he is capable of doing,” says Arteta. “A tremendous player. He now understands exactly what we want, and physically he is a condition to compete at the right level in this league. He brings qualities that we don’t have in the squad. I’m very eager to give him more (opportunities).”
What’s telling is that after playing in a number of different positions, he is starting to feature regularly as a left-sided central midfielder. When asked by The Athletic whether Vieira had the physical attributes to cope with the demands of that position, Arteta said Arsenal need to play a game that suits him.
“If he needs to compete for 30 balls in the air against certain players in this league, he is going to lose 28,” Arteta says. “But if we give him the ball in the right spaces, and if we ask him to do some defensive work he can do — if we put him in front of goal the amount of times that we want to do, he will do really well in this league. But if we do the opposite I don’t think he is going to do well.”
Another compelling factor in Vieira’s favour is his chemistry with left-sided forward Gabriel Martinelli — off and on the pitch. Martinelli played a key role in helping Vieira settle, and they have developed on-field chemistry too.
“Relationships and chemistry build naturally,” Arteta says. “When you see Martinelli play with Fabio there’s even more chemistry because they love each other so much and they have that way of looking at each other and understanding what’s going to happen.”
Intriguingly, it’s not only Vieira who is a candidate for that left interior space. Arteta has intimated that he also considers Emile Smith Rowe to be an option there.
Smith Rowe made his return to action against Everton. With Leandro Trossard having arrived as an option on the left flank, could he find himself competing with Xhaka and Vieira for a spot in the middle?
Come the summer, there may be even more options at Arteta’s disposal. Left-footed midfielder Charlie Patino has impressed in a loan spell at Blackpool. It’s also easy to imagine summer target Declan Rice slotting into Xhaka’s box-to-box role too.
On their recent way trip to Leicester, Arsenal fans plastered the trains with stickers depicting Xhaka’s name on a jar of Marmite. (For the uninitiated, Marmite is a savoury spread infamous for being incredibly divisive.)
For a long time, that was the place Xhaka held among the Arsenal fanbase. There were debates over his ability, his character and his discipline. To his credit, he has settled those. This has been the season in which Xhaka has been almost universally accepted by the supporters. But a different debate is emerging: are opposition defences beginning to ask questions that Xhaka is not well-suited to answer?
A title run-in does not feel like a good time for experimentation. Arteta is likely to change things up for the Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon but, in the Premier League, he may be loathed to change a winning formula. Xhaka brings leadership, stability and ball-winning abilities to the Arsenal midfield. It was telling that the only game out of the last five when Arteta didn’t withdraw him was at Leicester, when the team were protecting a slender one-goal advantage.
The Leicester game was unusually low on clear-cut chances, despite Arsenal’s dominance. Leicester desperately missed James Maddison but, in a funny way, Arsenal missed a similar profile of player: a quick-footed, creative central midfielder to carve out chances.
In the short term, Vieira and Smith Rowe provide Arteta with exciting options from the bench. Long term, they may feel they can make that position their own.
For now, Xhaka remains a very important part of Arteta’s side. But if the manager’s reign has taught us anything, it is that this is in a process of constant innovation. Arsenal continue to evolve.
Cheers Kev, yeah I think we all know that Xhaka will play in that role for at least two more years.
Eddie Nketiah with a right ankle issue. Arteta unsure when he will be back.
(don’t have a clue whether this source is reliable or not, though …)
About BigBill, who has indeed got back to his very best, L’Equipe has it his agent was in London tonight …
Dear Gooners, yesterday my local club Bengaluru Fc won a play off match against a rival team in Indian league. In the first half of extra time we got a free kick which was taken early after checking with refree when the rival GK and players were trying to build a wall. The goal was given and the rival team forfeited the match. The gaol scored was exactly like what Thierry score against Chelsea and Villa. The goal scorer was interviewed later and he did mention that the refree have a go ahead before he scored. He asked the player if he wants the whistle and wall the player said no and took the free kick.
Can anyone enlighten me what’s the rule says and after such goals from Thierry did the rule change in PL.
Congrats on the victory, Madhu. Was the game against the Kerala Blasters?
No, the law has not changed. A free kick can be taken quickly without the ref whistling, as long as it is from where the foul occurred. Here is the rule as written in our NZ Referees book of the laws of Football.
The referee should ask the offensive player(s) by the ball if they want 10 yards. Should they say yes, the referee points to the whistle and says so everyone can hear, “Wait for my whistle.”
Yes Stuart against Kerala blasters. It was Sunil Chettri who took the free kick. He said after in the interview that refree asked if needed the whistle and then yards he said no. He also said the rival player heard that so tried to stop him but he was able to take the shot and scored.
It was all a bit sour as the opposition coach took them to dressing room and refused to come out.
How does it feel to be on the side benefiting from referees’ decisions? For an Arsenal fan, there must be something weird about it …
Were you in the stands? and … what comes next?
Any chance to make it all the way to final triumph, you think?
Le Gall thanks , unfortunately i wasn’t there in the stand. After this we play the league leader in two legged semis.
This season has been a up and down for most part. BFC was 10th at half way mark in a league of 11. Then they went on a 8 match winning streak and finally ended up 4th in the table and qualified for the play offs. Coincidentally BFC ended the legaue leaders Mumbai City invincible dream. We are the only team to beat them this season. We face off now in a two legged semis. It’s anybody’s game but odds are in Mumbai City’s favour who has a tie up with Man City. BFC is coached by an Englishman Simon Grayson and who started this season by winning a Durand cup which is the oldest competition in India aka FA Cup.
Fine observations, TA; short and sharp too.
I felt it should have been more too but I can’t complain because we did show efficiency getting 4 from 5 shots on goal. Martinelli has benefitted from Trossard’s coming to reduce his workload and game time, as he is back in the goals again, after a barren spell. Trossard is so nippy and comfortable with the ball in tight spaces and under pressure; that’s the trait Martinelli must learn from him: being aware of what’s around you and spotting runs. Martinelli appears to always be head down, when he has the ball.
Partey came on to steady the ship and made the second half easier. Saka has scored a fine goal creating the magic we needed to break the visitors down. Odegaard was purring and pressing hard; a rare example of a luxury player with work rate. It was a game in which it was difficult to pick the most outstanding player for us.
Man city just got the second goal to calm things down for them, vs Newcastle, after a spell of Newcastle pressure. The barcodes had a few opportunities to draw level at 1-0 but just failed to capitalize or sort out their feet at the crucial moments.
We just have to focus on our own results and try to get City off our minds. We are in the driving seat and must remain professional for the next 3 games.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Vieira, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard
Subs: Turner, Tierney, White, Kiwior, Holding, Smith Rowe, Xhaka, Jorginho, Nelson.
Bournemouth: Neto; Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Stephens, Zemura; Ouattara, Billing, Lerma, H. Traorè; Solanke
Thank you, Eris and that’s a fine comment. All agreed too.
Xhaka gets a rest and Vieira an opportunity. Fingers crossed it works.
Bournemouth Subs: Travers, Randolph, Fredericks, Cook, Christie, Stacey, Moore, Anthony, Pollock.
Wake-up call, illustration
A statue for Aaron
80-minute attack vs. defence here we go
Jesus, Eddie, Trossard … Murphy’s Law all over again
I think the boys were surprised that Bournemouth have bombed forward from the kick-off but that’s no reason for the lads not to be focused. 0-1 so early may look like plenty of time to take control again but that depends on how quickly we get the equalizer as they play every dirty game to slow things down.
ESR on for the stricken Trossard. A huge blow for us, I have to say.
Saka needs to trust and use Tomiyasu when he offers that option. We must stay composed and patient, still.
Emil as the “false” 9, and Marti back on the left I’d like to see …
And VAR serves us another one in their repertoire of inconsistent decisions. How’s that handball not given as a penalty. I miss Nketiah for this game; that pressure on CBs.
Not sure ESR is fit enough for such a role today, LeGall.
They will wilt soon enough
This is not a bus they’ve parked, they’re more like an inflated airbag blocking the whole space of the box
The boys tried hard but puncturing (twice) the bloody thing won’t come easy
Fabio started well, he’s an elegant player alright, but he faded away as time went by, Granit should be coming on pretty soon
It’ll be a mind and nerve game, they looked like having a pen hangin’ over their heads imo, they’ve rode their luck so far but …
I have to watch this with the sound turned off, hope the crowd will be vociferous, the lads will need it
What’s going on. This is seriously worrying. Trossard going off not good. We were dire in the first half. Corners are useless we have try short routines. Putting into penalty box is no use.
MA didn’t like Tomi’s miscue on the right of their box one bit …
Tomiyasu looked match rusty but the 45 mins would have done him some good. When you were flavour of the month, got injured and have had a centre back seamlessly replace you, it does things to your confidence.
With City winning their game and we to go after, I had an uncomfortable feeling Bournemouth will come and make it hard for us. But we have to keep going till they concede. Martinelli shouldn’t have pulled out of that 50-50 with Neto. That was a chance to either get the goal or the foul (and potential red card for the keeper). Boy needs to learn..
0-2! It looks like it’s going to be one of those days. Poor marking from a corner kick.
Plenty of time to come back, still.
They’ve taken all their set pieces very well, but Tom should have done much better
Well, that’s an Everest the boys’ll have to climb now …
Jorginho-Granit could bring order, calm, and accuracy …
Tom the Redeemer
Bukayo, what a gorgeous CK that was, you beauty
That’s the spirit
Looks like Smith-Row may have picked up a knock as Reiss Nelson and it is an immediate impact. 2-2! Ben White.
Now, go for the jugular.
Ben sure knows to pick his moments
Unsurprisingly, Emil had been running on empty
Reiss, have you ever heard of defining moments in life, my boy??
What a bunch of brave lads we have
Is Granit injured too?
No, LG, Xhaka is on the bench.
But he would improve our defensive stability and midfield dominance, but wouldn’t have much impact on our attacks. He could have be brought on to replace Vieira, but that would be a slight step back from our goal scoring ability.
Unfortunately I have to admit that none of our handball claims were justified penalties. The 4 or 5 could pressure the referee or the VAR official to appeal the next one, but game on were the right decisions each time so far.
I’m delighted that both our academy players from the bench managed to provide an assist. Let’s go and squeeze in the third, guys.
Pawson-Swan has been WinslowLeachin’ us all day from behind his screen
Incredible come back. What a Howitzer by Reiss Nelson. One of our own!
Defining moments, Destiny …
Never shouted out so loud
Nothing will bring this squad down to their knees
What a season
A goal from Heaven. Rocket man Reiss.
In the stoppage time of the stoppage time Reiss Nelson destroyed Bournemouth.
With his weaker foot. But I wonder what is his right foot like.
Vitally important 3 points and morale boost.
(My family accused me of being crazy for my scream.)
This one is even better than the one at Villa.
That didn’t do my ticker any good. Guys, make these things easier for me, okay. Phew!
3-2 puts a gloss on it.
Wow boys, that’s just fabulous. Reiss Lightning! 😁
You and me both, LeGall. I had people coming to check that I was okay.
Gary Neville would hate our fans for all that celebration.
I’ve woken the whole family up!
I am in the car parked up in Glasgow. Just dropped daughter’s band off for a gig tonight. Got a shock when I started listening to the radio but yes so happy with the comeback. 🙂 Incredibly fighting spirit and so happy for the subs.
What an incredible performance from Reiss. It needed someone to put their hand up beacuse the entire team played really bad. Assist for ESR as well which was good. I cannot understand how Reiss can strike it so beautifully while everyone hot row Z in this match. I thought Saka and Martinelli had one of the worst games for a long time. But the Hale enders today saved us. What a proud moment for Arsenal Academy. Why do we need Mudryk when we have Reiss. Pls give him a contract. You beauty. These games are not good for the heart though.
What a game what a game hard on the emotions. I had belief but thought we might run out of time and oh my Reiss just in time to save us again after he was also decisive when he came on in the Forrest game and did the same. Emil was not great but a key contribution for the Partey assist how we have missed them. This is the mark of champions winning when you are not at your best. By the way have you guys seen the first goal should not have stood because two of their players were in our half at kickoff.
Total…… I just turned a long Reiss Nelson comment into a post and emailed you.
Really Makayah? I have to check Twitter and Reddit to see that.
That’s correct, Makayah. Goal should not have stood. One of those rules few bother to enforce these days. I bet that happens most kick-offs.
We are all Ian Wright
Nice vide, Legall.
J, I will post it in the morning. Cheers mate.
Kev, are you still alive?
Please drop a line, a word even, so we’re sure …
I’m probably the only fan that even noticed that Nelson wasn’t included in the last 2 matchday squads on the bench.
I noticed and I wasn’t happy about it. I know Smith Rowe is the golden boy, but for influence on the pitch right now, I feel like Nelson is much more of a handful for opponents at this time..
Emile could probably use more under 21 games to get up to speed. I was sure the plan was for them both to share minutes today and I was impressed he got in a good hour or so.
The very same split second, when time is made to stand still, so the hit with his so-called “weaker” foot may become perfection, art – as another Gooner, Sylvain Wiltord’s, 23 years ago (from 04’05”).
The split second that tells top-class players from “just” excellent players …
Welcome to the top, Reiss Nelson
New Post 🙂