The first half ended goalless, but Mesut Özil gave the Gunners the lead when he tapped home from close range in the 80th minute. However their advantage lasted just four minutes as substitute Gerard Deulofeu’s dipping strike caught out Wojciech Szczesny and earned the visitors a draw.
The German international feels that it was their toughest challenge so far and insists that Arsene Wenger’s side are relaxed as they head towards the hectic festive fixture schedule.
Speaking to the Arsenal official website, he said:
I think that was the toughest game we have been through the whole season. They pressed us high up, all the way through from the start until the end.
We couldn’t play that much and in the second half everything was possible on both sides, with chances here and there so I think it was a fair result.
We have tough games coming up over the next week and over the Christmas period. We just want to go one game at a time.
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We are really relaxed, we don’t have to respond to anyone. We just have to do our job every single second of the game. That is our target, nothing else.
The game didn’t go according to plan for the Gunners as Everton signalled their intent from early on and their first half possession stats demonstrated their positive approach. Having said that the best opportunities fell to the home side with Giroud having 2 decent chances but weren’t able to convert.
Arsenal began the 2nd half with a lot more urgency, but it was only after Arsene’s triple substitution that things seemed to open up. Rosicky and Walcott combined to set up Ozil for his opening goal and briefly the prospect of a seven point gap at the head of the table loomed but to their credit Everton stormed back. We nearly snatched the points with a wonderful Giroud effort striking the woodwork, but it wasn’t to be.
The draw leaves us five points clear at the top of the Premier League table heading into next Saturday’s showdown at Manchester City. It wasn’t a bad result and we need to keep the spirit and belief high and continue to win games which we are expected to win. Next up is Napoli in midweek and we need something from the game to be sure of finishing top of the group.
Did you think yesterday’s game was the toughest of the season so far? Share your thoughts in the comments below.