The Gunners secured their sixth straight victory in the Barclays Premier League to jump up to third spot after Spurs dropped points in their clash against Stoke. With Chelsea also losing to City it was a good weekend for Arsenal’s campaign towards at least a top-four spot. As we are now at the stage at the season where every game is vital, it was a great victory today considering the other fixtures this game-week.
Very surprisingly Arsene Wenger named a changed line-up this week with young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain named on the bench and Welshman Aaron Ramsey taking his starting spot. While many would have thought Ramsey would have retained his central role, the recent form of Rosicky saw the Czech drift in-field often leaving the flank un-manned. While it was fruitful in the opening exchanges, it did leave Arsenal’s defence open to a degree.
It was fortunate that Vermaelen that broke the dead-lock in the opening exchanges because as the match wore on Everton began to be the dominant side, although in saying this they never really actually tested Szczesny due to the quality of our back four. Perhaps things would have been different if both Ramsey and Van Persie had taken their great opportunities, although the Toffee’s disallowed goal proved to be a decisive factor in the outcome of the match.
On the positive side, an ugly win is a great sight to see for Arsenal who have often been criticised for not being able to do it regularly in the past. We now look forward to Aston Villa and hope to continue our winning streak!
on the performance…
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I felt if we scored a second goal maybe we could give a psychological blow to Everton. We had a brilliant start and slowly Everton got back into the game after 30 minutes. In the second half, for the most we did hang on until the last 15 minutes when we started to create chances again. But it was all Everton [until then]. We were resilient, focused and with a great desire to defend. Our defence played very well tonight. I felt it was a bit psychological – we refused to play because we just wanted to keep the score. Credit to Everton they played very well in the second half.
on the team’s resilience…
We showed a side of us that usually people don’t know. It was the only way to get a result tonight. It was good to know that we can do that as well. We didn’t panic, we did well on crosses which is usually not our strong point. We didn’t panic and that is good for us.
on moving into third place…
We have learned in the last [few] months. For example we have taken six ponts in Liverpool in two weeks and it was 180 minutes of intense fighting. We want to keep going. We must keep our humility and focus and fight for each other. That is what we had to do here.
on how far the team has come…
I was always optimistic, because if you look at our results from October onwards we only had one bad spell when we lost three times on the trot because we had no full backs. The attitude of the team was always good, so I felt we could bounce back. We needed to be strong because we were under a lot of pressure and we will need that until the end of the season. Where we come from, we know what suffering means because in some press conferences I had to answer ‘are you playing not to go down’. We know we have a difficult battle in front of us.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Ramsey Rosicky
Van Persie (c)
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.5: While Everton had the territory, the Pole still managed to be relatively untroubled as Arsenal’s back-four dealt with everything Everton could conjure up on attack.
Bacary Sagna | 7.0: The reliable and consistent right-back put in another solid performance keeping both Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman at bay while also contributing on attack down the flank.
Laurent Koscielny | 7.5: An absolute rock at the back. The pairing of himself and Vermaelen never looked like budging for Everton’s constant waves of attack.
Thomas Vermalen | 8.0: The Belgian proved to be the difference in the tie at both ends of the pitch. His early headed goal proved to the match winner and his rock solid defending kept a probing Everton at bay.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.5: Provided an attacking outlet at the back in the absence of Drenthe, who often didn’t track back. Proved to be a thorn in Everton’s side.
Alexandre Song | 7.0: With Arsenal on the back-foot for a large majority of the match, Song was integral in his primary role of screening the back four breaking up numerous Everton attacks.
Aaron Ramsey | 6.0: While he was efficient in midfield in the opening exchanges, his atrocious attempts at scoring with great opportunities does his performance no favours.
Tomas Rosicky | 6.5: As Arsenal were gradually pushed more and more on the back-foot, Rosicky’s primary attackinginfluence on the match also waned.
Theo Walcott | 6.0: Another tough game for the Englishman who is enduring an up-and-down run of late. To his defence, Arsenal were on the back-foot for much of the match.
Robin van Persie | 6.0: Missed a couple of great chances, which is really uncharacteristic of the Dutchman. Although did provide some excellent link-up play, especially for Ramsey’s great opening chance.
- Notable substitions
No notable substitutes
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