Daily Archives: September 18, 2023
Final Result: Everton 0-1 Arsenal (Trossard 69′)
Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Raya; Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 80′), Saliba, Gabriel, White; Rice, F. Vieira (Havertz 80′), Odegaard; Saka, Nketiah (G. Jesus 66′), Martinelli (Trossard 24′)
The mere fact that Arsenal had not won in Goodison Park for six years must have played first and foremost in the mind of Mikel Arteta, a manager who garnered over 200 games for the club but somehow failed to get a positive result anytime he visited. It would have also played out in the minds of the players, but they would have taken confidence from the way they won against Manchester United before the international break, and everyone returned unscathed from their national team sojourns.
The Arsenal manager made some huge changes with David Raya making his Arsenal debut against Everton, ahead of the incumbent goalie, Aaron Ramsdale. The manager also favored the mercurial Fabio Vieira ahead of Kai Havertz, with Eddie Nketiah retaining his place ahead of Gabriel Jesus as the Brazilian works his way to full fitness.
Everton were okay allowing Arsenal have all the possession as they maintained a very low block, unlocking Satanball on full display, which was disgusting to say the least, but Arsenal continued to probe and carve out chances in the game. The first clear cut chance arrived when Fabio Vieira threaded in a delicious pass in behind the Everton defense to Gabriel Martinelli, and the Brazilian winger wasted no time in side-footing the ball past Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal, but the VAR chums ruled the goal out, as Nketiah was adjudged to have won the ball from Beto from an offside position.
It turned out to be a double whammy as Martinelli pulled up short and had to be substituted for Leandro Trossard. According to Arteta’s post-match press conference, it is believed to be a hamstring strain, which will certainly rule him out of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven, and the medical team will be sweating on his fitness ahead of the North London Derby against the high-flying Spurs.
Everton soaked up a lot of pressure and hit Arsenal on the break, and almost punished the Gunners when Abdoulaye Doucoure made one of those his trademark slalom runs and hit the deck in the box after William Saliba stretched out his leg. It was a heart in mouth moment for Arsenal fans because the inconsistency of the VAR system has seen such penalties given. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the penalty wasn’t given.
Martin Odegaard certainly put his shooting boots on and fired some stingers that were dealt with by Pickford and it was looking like one of those nights where everything Arsenal tried was repelled by Everton. The Gunners stopped floating in their corner kicks because of the height advantage the Everton defenders had, so they resorted to short passing and that was where the match clincher came from. After some intricate passing play from the right, Bukayo Saka teed up Trossard who blasted a one-time shot with his left that clipped the post and crept in.
Looking at the numbers, Arsenal had 74 percent possession to Everton’s 26. 1.02 xG, 13 shots, 595 passes (to Everton’s 159) and 11 corners. Pure dominance against a team that had nothing to offer but it bodes for the squad, as the changes galvanized the side and even the subs that came on put a good shift.
The win makes the North London Derby on Sunday very massive, but all business moves to Champions League football on Wednesday and we will preview the game in good time.
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