The Toffees are unstuck at Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal were unbeaten in twenty four home matches against Everton in all competitions prior to their duel in late September. The Toffees created first as their club captain, Tom Davies slid the ball through to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but a brave block was made by Petr Cech with his outstretched leg, as Calvert-Lewin tumbled over him. The Gunners threatened in the twelfth minute, when from Hector Bellerin’s cross it deflected off Michael Keane back to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who put the ball over to Nacho Monreal, whose first time strike was kept out by the agility of Jordan Pickford, who leapt into the air to make the save. In the twenty first minute, an over the top ball from Theo Walcott fell to Richarlison, and it took a sprawling save by Cech to turn the ball over for a corner, which was taken by Lucas Digne, as Cech was required to again push the ball over, as it flew into the area. In the twenty eighth minute, through a Digne assist, the ball was bent narrowly past the right post from Richarlison. In the next minute, after Walcott tumbled over Sokratis Papastathopoulos, a free kick by Digne in the thirty first minute, had to be tipped over the crossbar by Cech. After Keane combined with Gylfi Sigurdsson, it opened up space for Walcott, but quickly out of the traps was Cech to turn the ball over against the body of Walcott, in the thirty eighth minute. The Gunners made an enforced change as Rob Holding replaced Sokratis. In the forty second minute, a rising delivery on the left by Aubameyang crashed against the Toffees upright, as Pickford, pushed the ball against the bar. But in the forty fourth minute, Everton hit back as Sigurdsson and then Walcott cleared the way for Richarlison, whose strike deflected off Bellerin, before Cech pushed the ball over. Two minutes into the second half, Jonjoe Kenny’s looping pass was kept in at the corner flag by Sigurdsson, but the ball bobbled wide off the head of Keane. In the forty ninth minute, from a Mesut Ozil corner, a low drive by Aaron Ramsey, was clasped upon from Pickford. Arsenal had a penalty appeal turned away for Aubameyang’s header against Kenny in the area. But the Gunners finally got the breakthrough on fifty six minutes, when Ramsey slid the ball into the left side of the area and Alexandre Lacazette, bent the ball into the top right corner off the inside of the post. It soon became two when from Lacazette’s pass, an incisive run by Ozil, ended as the ball ran through the legs of Ramsey, and it left Aubameyang with the task of turning the ball into the middle of the net, and the goal was given despite the suspicions of offside. In the sixty fifth minute, after collecting a pass from Ozil, a drive from distance by Bellerin was easily caught by Pickford. Arsenal soon switched Aubameyang with Alex Iwobi. Following a foul by Lucas Torreira on Richarlison, from a free kick by Sigurdsson, a header by Keane had to be clawed behind from the palms of Cech, in the seventy first minute. The Toffees then made a double substitution of Cenk Tosun for Calvert-Lewin and Bernard on for Walcott. Arsenal later replaced Ramsey with Danny Welbeck. In the eighty third minute, Bernard combined with Sigurdsson, whose rising effort cannoned over off Torreira. Within two minutes from a Sigurdsson headed pass, a low strike by Tosun, had to be turned away by Cech as he dived to his right and made a save towards the bottom left corner. The Toffees then went even closer, as from Sigurdsson’s assist, the ball spun onto the crossbar off Digne. In stoppage time, Ozil and then Welbeck teed the ball up for Granit Xhaka, whose strike drifted out to the right side of the target. The whistle was then blown by referee, Jon Moss to signal a two nil home win for Arsenal at the Emirates stadium, as the dismal away record for Everton at the Gunners continued leaving the Toffees manager, Marco Silva much to ponder afterwards while the Arsenal head coach, Unai Emery was happy to see a clean sheet after a crucial performance by goalkeeper Cech, with important saves.