Arsenal v Everton
Kick off: March 08, 2014 12.45 PM BST
A fantastic start, followed by a slight stutter, but finished off with great aplomb. A game of counters, counter-counters, and tactical nuances. Wenger really got his right today, and the players put in a real shift. Into the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup. Here are the player ratings:
Lukasz Fabianski | 7.0: He couldn’t do much for the goal, but he was decent for the most part. He showed a bit of hesitancy at times, but made a couple of great saves.
Bacary Sagna | 7.75: Was a constant outlet, linking up well with Chamberlain on the right. Showed fantastic experience to set up Arsenal’s third goal, pausing and looking up, picking out Giroud perfectly rather than just lashing it in.
Per Mertesacker | 7.5: Struggled a bit with the pace of the Everton counters, but made a number of fantastic clearances.
Thomas Vermaelen | 7.25: A decent performance in a rare start for the Arsenal captain. He had a few shaky moments in the second half, almost gifting Everton a goal that would have completely changed the game. While Vermaelen is a fantastic CB, it’s certainly clear that Koscielny compliments Mertesacker far better.
Keiran Gibbs | 7.5: He had to get his attacking/defending balance right today, against a fullback like Coleman who likes to get forward, and with players like Barkley and Mirallas with lightning pace. For the most part he got it right, but was caught out a couple of times. He was getting forward well, but once again his end product was lacking a bit. Really needs to work on his crossing. He was withdrawn late on, hopefully it was just to rest him and wasn’t an injury.
Mikel Arteta | 7.25: Mikel had a distinctly average game for the most part, a couple of stray passes and getting dispossessed on occasions. That said, he showed fantastic composure and ability to slot in not one but two penalties. After the first was disallowed it was a big ask to step up again, but he produced two fantastic penalties to give Arsenal the lead.
Mathieu Flamini | 6.75: An early yellow card had a massive impact on his effectiveness throughout the game. When tough tackling is your speciality, being on a yellow is a huge handicap. He sat back well though, preventing us from being exposed more than we were, and holding up the Everton attacks so his team mates could get back.
Santi Cazorla | 8.0: Cazorla’s link up with Özil was phenomenal today, assisting him for the first goal, and being an integral part of many attacks. His shooting wasn’t quite up to scratch, but at least he was trying.
Mesut Özil | 8.25: (MotM) It was a great start from the German, putting Arsenal into the lead after just 7 minutes with a fine finish. His link up and general effort was great, and he was even tracking back a bit more than usual. He assisted the fourth goal fantastically, and assisted the assister for the second.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 8.0: The Ox was a necessity in today’s game, adding something different in the final third. His energy and overlapping runs were fantastic, and he was absolutely everywhere. He got the assist for the second goal, and was a constant threat. He gave the ball away in dangerous areas a couple of times, which is something he needs to eradicate from his game, but to his credit he raced back to make amends.
Yaya Sanogo | 6.0: Yaya looks like a great talent, but still a little raw. He looked out of his depth at times, but certainly put a shift in. He was withdrawn after an hour to be replaced by Giroud.
Olivier Giroud | 8.0: What an impact from the Frenchman, exactly what we needed from him. He was a marked improvement over Yaya, taking up great positions and putting his chances away. Scoring twice in quick succession, putting us out of sight and into the Semis
Tomas Rosicky | 7.25: When we needed a bit of zip and energy in the final third, he added it. Was a great outlet for the counter, and was heavily involved in Arsenal’s fourth.
Carl Jenkinson | N/A: Carl was only on the pitch for a few minutes, but slotted in comfortably on the left.