Robin Van Persie was Arsenal’s saviour once again but it was Arsenal’s lack of creativity more than Everton’s defending than denied more chances.
Everton 1-1 Arsenal
It took 92 minutes for one of the Arsenal midfielders create a chance of quality as Abou Diaby’s delightfully floated ball was equally delightfully chested down by Van Persie, before volleying home.
Once again the Dutchman was key as he tried to make things happen and when he dropped deeper to get the ball and then burst forward, the Gunners looked better. This was typified in a chance where Nasri, for the only time in the match went to his left foot and whipped a great ball as Van Persie stretched for the shot. Interestingly the partnership between he and Adebayor is still yet to click as both are two supremely talented individuals and when they do, it has the makings of a potent partnership. The Togolese striker drifted to make things happen but was on the whole isolated.
It wasn’t Arsenal’s worst performance as credit must also go to Everton who were very organised and tactically strong. David Moyes had Arteta and Phil Neville back at all times as the midfield shield allowing the front four to attack and the full backs to get forward as the secondary threat. Cahill was tireless and when the Toffees defended played as a 4-6-0.
Fellaini and Cahill were the danger in the air and it was the latter who got the goal as he peeled away from the centre of the box to the far post to head home. The Belgian on the other hand looked to use his physique at all times necessary to make it hard to challenge against him in the air. By leaning on the player without using his arms made it hard also for the referee to give a foul.
In the second half Everton were the better side and had a period of twenty minutes where they had most of the ball. Football is about lots of different battles on different parts of the pitch and the Toffees tried not to give Arsenal a sniff of opportunity. When the goal did go in, it allowed Everton more gaps as Arsenal looked for the equaliser. It is the second time this season where the Gunners have had less possession than a team outside the so called ‘Big Four’ (Aston Villa away the other match).
In Alex Song and Abou Diaby, are two players who can bully the central of midfield but cannot dictate play. The two had the better of the first half but as nothing dangerous was coming from the centre more was required out wide. However as Denilson is not a winger there was a lack of dynamism while Nasri was non-existent in the second half as he spent most of his time too far out wide. Arsenal are still nine games unbeaten and could have done with a win but one must stay optimistic as the players are improving each day.
Arsenal: Almunia (6), Sagna (6), [Eboue 72 (6)], Djourou (6), Gallas (6), Clichy (6), Nasri (6), Denilson (6), Song (6) [Bendtner 72 (5)], Diaby (6), Adebayor (6), Van Persie (8).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Toure, Vela, Ramsey, Gibbs.
Booked: Diaby, Nasri.
Goals: Van Persie 90.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Neville, Pienaar, Fellaini, Cahill* (Anichebe 86).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling.
Booked: Arteta, Hibbert.
Goals: Cahill 61.
Ref: Andre Marriner
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