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Confidence Restored as Gunners win the Battle of Goodison Park

Welbeck

Everton 0-2 Arsenal

Match Report Match Highlights Post-Match Press Conference

There was something about that mid-week loss to Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Arsene Wenger’s men were probably aware of the fact that qualification was going to be impossible after that dismal first leg performance but they gave it a go and played to the best of their abilities. Despite the poor efficiency in front of goal and school boys that led to the Barcelona goals, you could feel the confidence flowing as Arsene Wenger fielded a revitalized squad bereft of those underwhelming performers like Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, that rightly deserved their places on the bench.

With that wisdom, the manager opted for the same squad that played at Nou Camp and many wonders what cult hero, Joel Campbell, was going to do to get into the team. This also meant that the onus was on the players on the pitch to do what was required of them and the goals from Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi justified the manager’s selections of them over Giroud and Campbell. Yes, Alexis Sanchez is still struggling with his form but he still managed to get an assist on the day.

What impressed me about yesterday’s performance was the solidity the team had at its spine. David Ospina was relatively untested and suffered a nasty knock but Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista ensured that their goalie was to have a hassle-free day. Both defenders took turns on who was going to put Romelu Lukaku in their pockets as the Belgian hotshot was quite for the entirety of the game. Nacho Monreal and birthday boy, Hector Bellerin did their bit defensively and offensively, with the young Spaniard lofting the pass that led to watch proved to be the match clincher.

Then what can I say about this…

Boy! The Coq is back! Since his return from injury, the Coq had struggled and people started questioning whether his exploits of 2015 was a fluke but it was good to see the Frenchman issue a reminder to his critics that he’s still the real deal. Then there was Mohamed Elneny, a gem of a player at Arsenal. The Egyptian covered every blade of grass at the Goodison and always made himself available for a pass. The best thing about that Coqneny combination was how they kept complementing each other and their positional discipline was top notch.

Up front, Welbeck made himself a nuisance to the opposition defenders and he harried them into making errors. His own moment of glory arrived when he latched onto Sanchez’ pass, rounded the goalie and dispatched the ball neatly into the net. Had that ball fallen to Giroud, he would have lashed it straight at the keeper or out wide. To justify what I was saying, Giroud had such a chance late on and he found the side netting with his effort.

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck celebrates his opener against Everton in the early Premier League clash at Goodison Park

Welbeck celebrating his opener

Iwobi showed his improved and naive side of the game but I would take nothing from what was a brilliant solo individual effort to score his first senior goal for the club. After receiving a cross field ball from Bellerin, he did so well to wade off a more physical Funes Mori before playing the ball through the goalie’s legs. The player is focused and has stated that he’s enjoying the moment.

This win has gone a long way to restore some measure of confidence to the team and the players will go into the international break with some optimism. Leicester’s narrow win over Crystal Palace didn’t help the team’s title hopes but there is still some glimmer of hope for everyone associated with Arsenal.

Sayonara.

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Everton Preview: Time to Pick Up the Points

In 2016, Arsenal has failed to muster up any form of consistency. According to the stats boys, the Gunners have won just four out of 15 games in the turn of the calendar year and it was against lowly Burnley, Hull, Bournemouth and 10-man Leicester City. Since then, it has been a flurry of disappointing draws and painful losses along the way.

There was a very familiar feeling when the Gunners crashed out of the FA Cup and Champions League in the same week, but Mesut Ozil has urged the team to fight on, as there is still a small glimmer of hope for their fading title challenge. For Arsene Wenger’s men to win the league this season, we have to win all their remaining games while hoping for other teams to do them favors against Leicester and Tottenham.

The record books favor Arsenal in this fixture, as Everton has one just once in the last 18 meetings (D6 L11), but Wenger’s side have won none of the last three league trips to Goodison Park (D2 L1). When both sides met earlier in the season, the Gunners ran out as 2-1 winners.

Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last five games in all competitions against Everton, including in each of the last three Premier League meetings.

Arsenal Team News

 

Wenger shared some insight on the wretched injury situation ravaging the club at the moment,

“Well, the other night we lost Mathieu Flamini with a hamstring injury, so he will be out. Wilshere is showing good signs now of recovery, Santi is a bit slower. The players who will definitely be back from injury [after the international break] will be Ramsey, Cech and maybe Flamini. But I don’t think Cazorla or Wilshere will be straight after the international break.”

The injuries continue to disrupt the squad but there are some players that will seize the opportunity to make their mark. Mohamed Elneny will want to build on his good performance at the Nou Camp and I don’t mind if he gets a two or two today because goals have been hard to come by nowadays at Arsenal.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Santi Cazorla (knee), Tomas Rosicky (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Carl Jenkinson (knee), Petr Cech (calf), Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Everton Team News

 

Romelu Lukaku was the star attraction when Everton eased past Chelsea to book a place in the semifinals. They have had the luxury of a week’s rest before todays encounter, unlike their opponents that had some mid-week action in a wet Camp Nou. However, the Toffees have somewhat struggled in the league this season, and they would be without a couple of players – most notably, Gareth Barry, that earned himself a red card in the FA Cup victory over Chelsea.

Everton Injury / Suspension News

Tyrias Browning (knee), Tony Hibbert (knee), Bryan Oviedo (illness), Steven Pienaar (knock), Darron Gibson (knock), Kevin Mirallas (suspension), Gareth Barry (suspension)

Everton Predicted Lineup

Everton 4-2-3-1 football formation

 

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: L D W L L
  • Last Result: Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal
  • Leading Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud (20)

Everton

  • Last Five Games: L W W L W
  • Last Result: Everton 2-0 Chelsea
  • Leading Goalscorer: Romelu Lulaku (25)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 0 win for Arsenal.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 2-1 Everton: The Gunners Go to the Top of the League!!!

Olivier Giroud scores (GETTY)

Arsenal 2 (Giroud 36′, Koscielny 38′) – Everton 1 (Barkley 43′)

Match ReportMatch Highlights Post-Match Press Conference

Late Premier League fixtures can be quite enjoyable especially when you’ve witnessed what has happened in earlier fixtures. Chelsea’s slump continued with another disappointing defeat to West Ham and one wonders whether Jose Mourinho has what it takes to bring his team out from the very depths they’ve found themselves in. It’s not like I care though.

The Gunners were in a great run of form and with their win against Bayern Munich dominating the back pages, Arsene Wenger had to ensure that the players had their feet on the ground with Everton coming to town. The Emirates was becoming a fortress in the Premier League again with the Gunners failing to concede at home since that shocking opening day reverse against West Ham. I thought it was going to be a case of if it’s not broken don’t fix it, but with Aaron Ramsey out with a hamstring injury, it was a no-brainer seeing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replace the Welsh Jesus. Per Mertesacker had another bout of illness and he was replaced by the ever-ready Gabriel but the major change in the team was seeing Olivier Giroud get the nod ahead of Theo Walcott.

This battle between Giroud and Walcott has brought out the best in both individuals and a Giroud that was struggling to score goals suddenly saw himself with two goals in the week coming off as a substitute and many wondered if he was going to get another goal, now that he has gotten the nod over his English rival. Giroud gladly answered everyone with a peach of a finish from another excellent Mesut Ozil delivery. The German schemer followed the trajectory of Giroud’s path and threaded an inch-perfect lofted effort that was flicked home by the bearded hunky chap. Giroud spoke afterwards of how he’s developing a good understanding with Ozil and it was on show in the game.

Arsenal extended their lead with yet another set piece as Santi Cazorla dinked in a superb ball that was headed home by Laurent Koscielny. The last time the Boss got one was in the home win against Leicester and it’s fair to say that the defender has a penchant for scoring in front of his home fans but I will take nothing away from another wonderful delivery from a player that has curbed his attacking instincts for the good of the team. He was also the skipper of the day with Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker unavailable and he put up a combative performance in midfield with the tenacious Francis Coquelin.

Everton pegged one back when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lost the ball further up the pitch and the Toffees launched a counter attack that saw Ross Barkley fire a deflected effort past Petr Cech in goal. The cross bar and post were made to work for their money too as both chances had efforts that were clipped off by the woodwork. Giroud almost got a brace when his left-footed curler beat Tim Howard hands down but hit the cross bar. Romelu Lukaku had a torrid game for being in Laurent Kosielny’s pockets but he managed to get a header that clipped the cross bar and went over with Cech rooted to the spot. Mesut Ozil almost got the match clincher with a shot that beat Howard but not the post.

It was yet another resilient display from the Gunners and they most be commented for having enough in the tank to defeat following their midweek exertions against Bayern Munich. With the Manchester derby coming up, the Gunners can revel at their new position on top of the league, albeit temporarily.

Sayonara.

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