Howdie folks, and what a game…
Arsenal 3 – 1 Everton
Osman (9), Nasri (48), RVP (70), Theo (90)
It was classic Arsenal in the first half, with us going behind but our second half response was pretty emphatic, and secured three vital points to take us third in the league. Arsene opted to play Alex Song at right back, a slightly unfamiliar position for the Cameroonian, the full line up was:
Song – Toure – Silvestre – Clichy
Eboue - Cesc – Denilson – Nasri
Adebayor – Van Persie
With Gallas and Sagna, it was a debut for Silvestre and Eboue was drafted into right wing as Theo Walcott was rested.
Everton started with a 4-5-1 and debuted young Jack Rodwell in the holding midfield position.
Hibbert – Jagielka – Lescott – Baines
Pienaar – Fellaini - Rodwell – Osman – Arteta
Everton started the game well and although it was end to end for the firast five minutes, our makeshift defence was a little all over the place. Everton’s first real attack of the half resulted in a goal, when a simple 1-2 between Osman and Pienaar from central to the left wing, let Osman in before Silvestre to poke the ball into the back of the net. Silvestre no doubt would be kicking himself, he should have closed the player down much better.
That goal seemed to spark us into life and we started to pile on the pressure… A great ball from Cesc, a great run from Van Persie saw the Ducthman in front of goal, but Howard stopped the volley. Everton always seemed dangerous on the counter attack though and Osman went close shortly afterwards, a deflection by Silvestre keeping the score down.
The Toffees did well to clear a corner when Kolo Toure, who injured his shoulder in the process, went close to restoring parity. Lescott thwarted Nasri down one end, and nearly scored down the other, but Clichy chesting off the line to keep it 1-0 at the half.
Toure’s shoulder injury seemd to get worse as the half drew to a close and he was subsituted at half time, with Walcott on for the Ivorian, Eboue to right back and Song in the centre of defence.
Now the game really got started.
It didn’t take long for us to get the equaliser when a great lay off from Silvestre saw Nasri smash the ball in the back of the net and there was a sense of relief around the Emirates. With such an unfamilar back line, it was clear to see that the midfield were aware to protect them by going forward, and Song, Eboue and Clichy ended up playing more like midfielders as we shifted the game play into their third.
We created chance after chance and Walcott and Nasri were being at their creative best. Van Persie blazed high from 12 yards, where hitting the target seemed easier. A few late challenges saw Hibbert go through Denilson, Clichy getting involved, and both him and Hibbert being injured.
We soon went in front when Ade laid off to Cesc whose shot was saved by Howard, but for Van Persie to head in the rebound. To be fair, we had dominated the second half and played some quick incisive football. Walcott wrapped up the win by scoring the third at the death, a neat one-two with Diaby and a good finish from the young Englishman.
Arsene spoke after the game and said:
“I am very proud of the way we came back with pride and we got a deserved victory. In the last 20 minutes of the first half we were on top of them. We had to reshuffle the team because we have a compact squad but everyone can play. It was vital that we won for us to stay in the championship race.”
It’s amazing how he can use the phrase “stay in the Championship race” in October, but our shaky start to the season means we’ve still four points off the leaders.
Overall, a good result, three points, and a smile on my face…!]]>