Arsenal succumbed to yet another routine(yes routine)away defeat to a tophalf side. Everton fully deserved the win and Arsene Wenger can’t have any complaints about the result. His side were completely outplayed, outfought and outmanoeuvred by a sprightly Everton side that were spurred on by a vociferous home support. The Toffees close the gap on Arsenal to a point with a game in hand.
Everton started brightly and as expected targeted our fullbacks. Osman had a pop at goal and was extremely unlucky. Baines and Mirallas found joy on the right as they repeatedly outnumbered Sagna on that side. I felt Cazorla put in a encouraging second half display against City but today the Spaniard was abject. Were I Wenger I would drop him for the FA cup game. He is a brilliant player no doubt, but he is increasingly becoming a liability. Baines rolled in a ball from the left to Lukaku whose shot was saved by Szczesny but it rebounded to Naismith who would not score a easier goal in all his career. Why Vermaelen let the ball roll to Lukaku without intercepting is beyond me. No wonder he doesn’t play when Kozzer is fit.
Podolski drove it wide from the left and Flamini’s fierce shot brought a good save from Howard. Everton were menacing going forward and were solid at the back. The Gunners hardly tested Howard and the home side doubled the lead taking advantage of another piece of shoddy defending from us. Lukaku picked the ball on the right tiptoed past Monreal and Vermaelen and belted it into the bottom corner. Naismith was offside impeding Szczesny’s line of vision when Lukaku shot and shouldn’t the goal be chalked off?
Flamini’s yellow card summed up Arsenal’s day. The Frenchman was booked for a challenge similar to the one Naismith made on Arteta earlier in the game surprisingly, the Everton man was unpunished. Arsenal, decisions, Refs – you get it. He will miss the Wembley trip and the West Ham game. Fantastic. The half ended with Arsenal on the front foot but overall the home side were deserving of the two goal lead.
We started the game a bit better after the break and were pressing them and creating half chances for ourselves. Just when we looked to get back into the game, Mirallas pickpocketed Sagna and drove right into Arsenal’s midfield and he slid in for Naismith, Szczesny reached the ball first but it squirmed towards the penalty spot and was inadvertently touched into goal by Arteta, under pressure from Mirallas. 3-0. Game Over.
Wenger sent in Ramsey, Ox and Sanogo but it was too little too late. I find the rest of the match with all the oles and cheers so distasteful to report. The only positive in a glum day was the return of Ramsey. Arsenal at the end of January were top of table and could well find themselves in fifth if Everton win their game in hand. It is Arsenal, you just got to live with it.