Sunday, December 8, 2013

Arsenal 1 - Everton 1

The first 35-40 minutes of the first half were just about the worst Arsenal's midfield have played this season, particularly Ramsey and Wilshire, neither of whom could manage to either keep or pass the ball. Fortunately, Arsenal's defensive duo of Mertesacker and Koscielny were on top of their games and prevented Everton, which had the ball nearly the entire time, from creating a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Finally, in the last five minutes of the half, some niggling fouls by Everton seemed to light a fire under the Arsenal players, who mounted more and more pressure (albeit without a goal) as the half came to a close.

Arsenal started the second half as they finished the first, in the ascendancy. But Everton are a very good team (having lost all of one game on the season before today) and they were not going to go down easily. Both teams finally got  some decent shots on goal, but as the game reached  the final 20 minutes neither team had managed to breakthrough. 

Finally, in the 80th minute, Arsenal went up 1-0 as one substitute, Thomas Rosicky, fed a deep cross, which another sub, Theo Walcott, headed down to the feet of Olivier Giroud, who completely missed it. Fortunately, Mesut Ozil was there to clean up after him by lifting the ball into the roof of the net. In all fairness, it was pretty soft goal for Everton to concede. But all credit to Rosicky for picking out the long pass, and to Walcott for heading the ball into a dangerous area. 

Three minutes later, Everton were right back in the match, scoring on a very well taken strike by the poorly marked Gerard Deulofeu from the right side of the penalty box. The Arsenal team and fans were stunned. 

From that point on, the game was wide open with both teams looking to collect all three points. But the game ended, fittingly in my view, in a draw.

Arsenal could not take advantage full of the good fortune handed them by Man U, Man City, and Chelsea the day before. But they increased their lead in the Premiership to 5 points.

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