Arsenal’s fourth league victory in a row means they will spend at least one night as the league leaders. It was a nervy game played on the back of an exhausting mid-week game against Bayern so it’s no wonder Everton gave us a good scare until the final whistle.
Here are the key points from the game.
1.Petr Čech has shown once more that he is the best goalkeeper in the world.
Eight months ago, Čech was still keeping the wrong net in London. His former club won against Everton 1:0 and the Czech was the hero as he made an incredible save to deny Romelu Lukaku at 0:0. Gareth Barry got a red card and Čech’s former club went on to win the title afterwards.
While Gerard Deulofeu was preparing to pull the trigger in the 89th minute of the game, it felt like deja vu. Deulofeu’s late equalizer in December 2013 took two valuable points from us and I have always thought that the Spaniard’s goal was also a serious psychological blow for our players. However, I forgot one important point- in December 2013, Petr Čech was keeping the wrong net in London. In October 2015, Čech is always where he should be. Čech who denied glory for the Spaniard with a perfect block.
So, Čech’s club got a narrow victory over Everton thanks to his brilliant save, Gareth Barry was sent off…Can Čech’s club go on to win the title?
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2.Laurent Koscielny has finally opened his account this season.
If there has been one thing missing this season, it’s the presence of our defenders on the scoresheet. It’s no longer the case thanks to Laurent Koscielny. He hadn’t scored a goal since our victory, very similar to this one, against Leicester in February but Kos couldn’t have picked a better moment to score. He also did a great job at the back.
3.Gabriel fights for his statue in front of the Emirates.
Gabriel de Abreu has never had things easy. Life has taught him a lot of lessons and it seems the ‘fight until the very end or you won’t get a reward’ was one them. When he made a crucial sliding tackle to prevent Romelu Lukaku from causing trouble in the 93rd minute, his fist pump showed how much it meant to him. It’s easy to understand why, it was Gabriel’s attempt to block Ross Barkley’s shot in the first half that deflected into the net and handed the Toffees a lifeline. It’s hard to blame the energetic Brazilian for that goal though.
4.Santi Cazorla ran the show from deep.
It’s difficult to control the midfield against Everton as they have two defensive midfielders and the excellent Barkley who can suffocate their opponents. However, Santi Cazorla managed to avoid their traps and ran the show from deeper positions. His flourishing relationship with Özil is the cornerstone of our attacking play. Santi was rewarded for his display with a third assist to his name this season. The fact his team-mates needed 34 created chances for just three goals is certainly not Santi’s fault (via squawka.com).
5.Mesut Özil has delivered again against Everton.
Whisper it, Mesut Özil has been silently destroying one team after another for a while, moving like a well-trained ninja and throwing assists and goals at our opponents like shurikens. He has crushed every doubt over his ability to perform against big teams as well – you don’t need further evidence than his goals against Manchester United and Bayern.
One thing was always certain, even when he was adjusting to English football or the hideous pundits were all over him for his “body language”, Özil will do something against Everton at the Emirates. The German’s cross for Olivier Giroud was preposterously good. It looked like he was aiming for a specific hair on Giroud’s head and got it!
The German has been immense and deservedly leads the league in terms of assists and chances created (via squawka.com).
6.Olivier Giroud is more than just a super-sub.
The Frenchman has made a breakthrough into Top 10 goal scoring chart with his fifth league goal, however, there is a category where Giroud stands even higher – goals per minute played (via squawka.com). The Frenchman has scored a goal every ninety minutes on the pitch which practically means a goal per game. His record would have been even better if the crossbar hadn’t stopped him in the second half. His ability to hold the ball and link-up play is an important asset for us as it gives us variety in attack.
7.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t impress.
The Englishman got his chance due to Aaron Ramsey’s injury but he has only proven why Arsene Wenger insists on the Welshman to play out wide. His decisions in the final third were poor all night long and one might say he was to blame for Everton’s goal. The Ox should have released Bellerin on the right instead of an attempt through the wall of Everton players. Instead of Arsenal going three goals up, we conceded. Chambo did track back in an attempt to right the wrong but was easily beaten by Barkley and Everton got their lifeline.
Unless Wenger opts for Walcott as our right winger, Chambo will have at least a month of football to prove his non-disputable worth. He will have a big test next week against our jinx-team Swansea. It spells trouble for you when Mathieu Flamini replaces you and offers more in the final third during his cameo. Speaking of Flamini…
8.Mathieu Flamini is hungry for goals.
The Frenchman liked the taste of goals at White Hart Lane a month ago so once he replaced The Ox, he acted like a free-role attacking midfielder. He had a great chance to put the game to bed but his header was saved by Howard. He looked lively though. Perhaps he can give us quite a few successful cameos. With our squad wearing thin due to injuries, we need every soldier right now.
9.Kieran Gibbs did well.
There are two players that are going through a difficult period. Both Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs haven’t exactly grabbed their chances Wenger has given them this season and their rivals – Spaniards Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal – have been excellent. Gibbs, however, did something well against Everton. He managed to get Gareth Barry sent off and offered a few promising runs down the flank. Perhaps that’s where Gibbs can get more playing time – as a replacement for Alexis Sánchez on the left wing in certain games so the Chilean can get some rest.
10.We are top of the table after one quarter of the league race.
If Manchester United beat injury-stricken Manchester City on Sunday with less than a three goal margin, Arsenal will remain on top for at least a week. We have played one quarter of our league games and we look like the real deal.
The next game is in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield Wednesday. I hope for heavy rotation, especially Alexis who needs a rest.