So it was a frustrating night at the Emirates as the Gunners settled for a 0-0 draw with Everton when a win would have really upped the pressure on Chelsea and Spurs. Here are the ratings:
Wojciech Szczesny: 7/10 – A clean sheet on his return, caught everything cleanly and distribution appeared more accurate including one fantastic long throw to the wing.
Bacary Sagna: 7/10 – Did well to handle threat of Baines especially given he was left two-on-one a few times in first half. As always crossing is a lottery with him especially when he cuts back onto his left.
Kieran Gibbs: 7/10 – Got up and down the wing well but as with Saturday his distribution in last third was again pretty poor. Struck a fearsome shot in the first half but has some work to do if he’s to rival Silvinho and Nutty in the screamer stakes. Replaced in final seconds due to fatigue.
Per Mertesacker: 7/10 – Not unduly fazed that the bull-like Anichebe treated him like a lanky matador, the BFG won plenty in the air and was tidy on the ball.
Laurent Koscielny: 7/10 – Didn’t really put a foot wrong all game, has the quality to take the carry ball out of defence and needs to do so more often when teams sit back and slow tempo. Looking like his old self.
Jack Wilshere: 6.5/10 – Still a little off the pace, his first touch wasn’t as decisive as we know it can be and that took a toll on creativity. Did well to survive a physical going over by the Everton midfield in the first half and gets an extra half mark for rightly wanting to batter Kevin Mirallas at the break.
Mikel Arteta: 7/10 – His hesitancy about shooting in and around the box (penalties aside) is baffling for a man who has played further up the pitch in the past. Perhaps he didn’t want to have to not celebrate against his old club? Tick-tock tidy and marshalled the threat of Fellaini well. A standard performance.
Aaron Ramsey: 7/10 – Still prone to the odd ‘aarghfucksakeRamsey’ moment he’s increasingly confident in possession and doesn’t let crowd reactions get him down. He closed down Everton all over the pitch last night and looked one of Arsenal’s fittest players. Giroud should have scored from his fine first half cross and could have had a goal from a corner if he’d been composed rather than trying a flick after his header was blocked. Perhaps some things are harder to change than others!
Santi Cazorla: 7.5/10 – Very quiet stuck out on the left he only really came into his own in the last 30 minutess once Wilshere went off and he returned to the middle; it’s not the first time that’s happened. Quite how he manages to skuttle around challenges with the ball stuck to his foot is beyond me, he’s a treat to watch when he’s skips free of a marker and spreads play. Also had two decent efforts which were well blocked/saved.
Theo Walcott: 4/10 – His proclivity for running away from play is second to none. Went off after 70 mins so perhaps fitness had a part to play, but more likely he just wasn’t in the mood. Will probably have to write his next kiddie book from the confines of Baines’ pocket.
Olivier Giroud: 5/10 – Increasingly polarising figure judging by the reaction on the terraces. There are those who recognise his work rate and the fact he’s asked to do a lot of unglamorous work off the ball and in the air, which for the most part he does well. The rest can’t help but scream in frustration when he misses chances and think the rest is irrelevant as a consequence. Should and could have bagged the winner last night in either half. In tight games its impossible not to hold that against him.
Lukas Podolski: 7/10 – Terrific first time pass led to break which first sprung Cazorla free and then saw Chamberlain pass for Giroud. Could have been a decisive contribution had the Frenchman not been beaten by Jagielka to the ball. Lively enough but unfair to assume he can always pull it out of the bag off the bench.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10 – Made two great passes to Giroud either of which could have resulted in an assist but having initially showed real attacking intent he strangely took up a defensive position very close to Sagna for the final five minutes and barely featured.
Nacho Monreal: 5/10 – On in the last minute he gave the ball away on the two times he touched it in an Eboue-esque cameo. Luckily nothing came of it.