Report: Arsenal 2 – 0 Everton


Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Cazorla, Sanchez, Giroud, Ozil

Subs: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Chambers, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck

Arsenal followed up their midweek debaucle with a nervy start to the first half that had some heart in the mouth moments for both Koscielny and Gabriel. The nervous crowd were only quelled when Giroud put us ahead with a scuffed volley from a Cazorla cross. Ospina made some excellent saves in the second half to keep us in the game, only for Rosicky to come on a finish it off with a deflected shot to finish the game 2 nil.

Pre Game: The big news was that Per Mertesacker was dropped and Olivier Giroud kept his place after their respective mid-week shambles against Monaco. New man Gabriel started at the back with Oxlade-Chamberlain being brought in to replace Welbeck on the wing. Andre Marriner was also in charge of refereeing his first Arsenal game since the Chelsea 6 nil drubbing last season, with a potentially terrifying prospect for him of Gibbs, Walcott and the Ox all being on the pitch at the same time.

First Half: The game started slowly in the first 10 minutes with both teams probing but ultimately fluffing their lines in the final third.

A Cazorla corner went over everyones heads in the 11th minute and when Sanchez picked it up at the back he jinked past their defender but his cross was well high.

Arsenal were looking a tad nervous and making things very compact in midfield, with Everton keeping most of the possession.

In the 16th minute some nervous defending from Gabriel let Lukaku through on goal but Ospina blocked his oncoming run and then followed up with an aggressive tackle outside his area to clear the danger. Great goalkeeping.

Throughout the half we kept losing possession and defending nervously, Gabriel especially making a few dodgy decisions that did nothing to quell the anxious home crowd.

On the 26th minute we had our first real chance of the game when a lovely dinked ball into the box from Sanchez found Giroud and his brave header in the face of an Everton boot went just wide.

Koscielny then made a great professional foul to halt Barkley as he was away in our half, somehow not getting a yellow card when he was pretty much the last man.

On the 34th minute a great flick from Cazorla set up Bellerin in the box but his shot was blocked by some last ditch defending as Arsenal started to exert some more concerted pressure in the Everton half.

Then after Koscielny made a horrendous missed tackle high up the pitch Lukaku went free into our box but a superb last ditch tackle from Gabriel quashed the danger.

Then a wave of relief spread round the stadium as Giroud converted a Cazorla corner in the 39th minute with a scruffy volley of his shin that crept in the corner to put us ahead. 1 nil.

Cazorla again was the main creative danger for us in the middle and he flashed a shot that Howard had to tip over the bar. The resulting corner was almost turned in by Besic but Howard was alert to the danger.

We finished the half looking a lot more assured than we started as we took our lead into the break.

Second Half: Straight after the kick off Giroud picked up a yellow card for a professional foul on the half way line. The resulting cross was very dangerous and Ospina had to pad it away at the last minute.

In the first 5 minutes of there was consistent Everton pressure with a number of corners and free kicks bombarding our defence but we remained resolute.

Some great strength from Giroud to shove off Jagielka gave him space the box to shoot but a potential handball may have blocked his shot.

Again both teams packed out the midfield which meant a lot of the action was back and forth possession in the middle of the park as we tried to find as much space as we could.

Bellerin showed some excellent pace down their right hand side with a bursting run overcooked it in the box and lost control.

A fine one two between Cazorla and Giroud gave the Spaniard room for a shot on the edge of their box but he blasted well over.

Some more Arsenal trickery on the edge of their box in the vein on the Wilshere Norwich goal almost came off but the final pass was just over hit.

Then on the 64th minute Ospina made a brilliant close range save after Lukaku got in front of our last defender and blasted a strong half volley towards goal.

A nasty clashing of heads between Giroud and Coquelin resulted in a long pause in play while Coquelin received treatment.

Ospina made another great save from a short range Lennon shot, gettting down well and holding onto the ball when Lukaku was ready to pounce on any delfection.

Gabriel seemed to be growing into the game more and more and produced a great sliding challenge on Barkley to clear a dangerous ball, winning a free kick in the process.

Another professional foul from Koscielny about 35 yards out resulted in a yellow card but their cross came to nothing.

As the game hit the 80th minute both teams were making a number sloppy mistakes and the game became a lot more end to end with a lot more chances. One such chance was a great tackle on the halfway line by Sanchez that resulted in a 3 on 2 but Ozil took too long when through on goal and allowed Everton to make a last ditch challenge.

Around about the 82nd we made our first sub with Rosicky coming on to replace the Ox.

Ospina was having a great game and made another brave punch from an awkward cross, taking a heavy hit the ribs in the process.

Soon after Sanchez was replaced by Welbeck, which was quickly followed by Coquelin coming off to be replaced by Chambers after the Frenchman took another knock to his badly bloodied nose.

Straight after that Arsenal killed the game. A lovely header from Giroud flicked on to Ozil on their left, who found Rosicky on the edge of the box and his piledriver shot deflected off an Everton leg over the goalkeeper, 2 nil.

We almost made it 3 straight after a great Bellerin cross found Giroud but his header glanced just wide.

We kept the pressure up till the final whistle and well into the 7 minutes of added time, as Cazorla almost dribbled his way through in their area and Rosicky had another strong shot that their keeper could only parry away.

All told a much stronger showing than midweek and Giroud especially going some way to redeeming himself with a man of the match performance. Some good momentum going into the midweek QPR game.

Match Report by @williamwasteman

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