It looked like a day more suitable for diving equipment and rubber ducks than playing the beautiful game. After the effort put in against Bayern on Tuesday it seemed rather unfortunate that Mother Nature should give Everton a weather advantage to go with many tired legs on our side. Even our Duracell bunnies seemed a little off the pace. But this Arsenal is a different animal to many we’ve seen before and fully deserved the 2-1 win.
With three changes to the side, we still looked sharper than the toffees and Mesut proved he has one of the finest football brains on show. Equally Petr Cech proved that he is truly in a class of his own with some outstanding keeping.
And what about Olly Giroud? Replacing Theo in the line up he also had a stunning game which deserved better reward than his one headed goal from the Wizard of Oz’s pin point cross. His shot that hit the bar in the second half deserved a goal.
Within a minute or so, Kos doubled our lead from Santi’s cross and bearing in mind their performance against ManU perhaps some of us started thinking back to the 7-0 hammering we gave them several years ago. This was not to be regrettably and from one Everton breakaway started by the Ox’s mistake, Barclay went through and scored via a massive deflection from the Archangel who in my mind should be credited with our 5th OG of the season as Petr had the ball well covered. In fairness, Barclay probably deserved to be credited with the goal, he played as well as he was allowed and Gabriel had such a good game that to sully it with a negative may be an unfair reflection. Certainly his late in the game tackle on Lukaku followed by such a happy flashing of his tombstone teeth was a joy.
A thought on the Ox…is he perhaps trying too hard? He’s a far better player than his performances suggest and neither his attacking nor defensive roles are in tune at the moment. He probably needs a good run to get his confidence back.
Despite going into a far more defensive mode in the second half, we still created several chances and apart from Olly’s hitting the bar, Oz was also unlucky with a shot that clipped the outside of the post. The defensive duties were ably carried out by all concerned, Le Coq unperturbed by a soft yellow card that Mason gave him early doors, maybe in retaliation for the second card that he hadn’t given him earlier in the season.
Barry getting a red card was unfortunately too late for us to take advantage.
So top of the league for the time being, a chance to rest many against Wednesday and maybe to see some new faces, and then the Swans. A definite need for a bit of payback there.