For all of Everton’s passionate, sublime performance and our insipidness, it was Roberto Martinez’s tactical tweak that caught Arsenal unguarded. Arsene Wenger doesn’t change his approach depending on teams and it is always the same. Just a few instructions and his team’s supposed superiority will win them the game.
Martinez employed a false nine system with Naismith in the middle and moved Lukaku to the right. Lukaku’s positional change was a masterstoke as his physical and robust play completely unsettled Monreal. Mirallas and Baines ran rings around Sagna and it wasn’t entirely his fault. He was left unprotected by both Cazorla and Rosicky, when he swapped his position with the Spaniard. This is where Walcott is missed. Fullbacks choose their moments to attack fearing the pace of Theo in the counter and don’t always bomb forward.. His mere presence itself is a weapon for us. Cazorla isn’t gonna outrun you or overpower you. Chamberlain must start at Wembley on the right.
Everton’s movement also caused us numerous troubles. When in possession they slid balls in behind the centre back and the fullback disrupting our shape. The most impressive of Everton’s play yesterday was their structure when they lost the ball. Naismith dropped into midfield outnumbering Arsenal, wingmen tracked back diligently(Santi take note please) and Arteta was stifled throughout the game. It is the best kept secret in football, stop Arteta, stop Arsenal.
The second half our performance improved when we pressed them high up the pitch. We always play when we press as a team.(Napoli home) Everton were a bit tentative and started to commit mistakes. Young centre half Stones was the guilty party on a couple of occasions. However Everton looked comfortable after some jittery moments and that was what we could muster before our age old problems came to bite us. No I won’t brief that. Fullback caught high- dispossessed, I will stop there.
Arsene Wenger’s changes had a positive impact and in my opinion both Ramsey and Chamberlain should start at Wembley. Giroud looks woefully out of depth against the big clubs and Sanogo is no upgrade either. What’s even more baffling is that why Arsene took so long to make the substitutions when it was so clear that the team needed a change. After the third goal Everton were passing the ball around in a training ground mode under no pressure and we looked lost. That was a reflection of our performance, lost on the big stage.