Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis, Welbeck
Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Chambers, Walcott, Campbell, Giroud
In the early kick off Arsenal blasted Everton away with two great first half goals. Starting the brighter, great build up play from Ozil and Sanchez fed Welbeck through to round the keeper and put us ahead. Then after a great ball from Bellerin man of the moment Alex Iwobi put us 2 up with a well taken finish. In the second half Everton switched formations to no effect as we controlled the game without really breaking a sweat. We made a few half chances but were content to see out the game with the first accomplished looking performance from Arsenal in a really long time.
We kept the exact same team and squad that travelled for our mid-week jaunt in Barcelona except that Francis Coquelin replaced the injured Mathieu Flamini in the defensive midfield role and Calum Chambers replaced Coquelin on the bench. There were starts again for Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck, who along with Mohammed Elneny we’re arguably our brightest sparks on Wednesday night.
The game got off to a lively start with Everton’s Coleman hitting the outside of the post in the second minute after a corner and Gabriel missing a header in their box, but then after fantastic build up play outside their box we took the lead when Ozil and Alexis combined, with the Chilean threading through Welbeck who rounded the keeper and tapped in. 1-0.
We almost had a second moments later then Iwobi had a great shooting opportunity but his shot was low and directly at their keeper.
Gabriel intercepted well from a dangerous looking cross on the 15th minute as the game started to get into a bit a of back and forth rhythm between the two teams, but with Arsenal slightly shading it. We looked sharp, if nothing else. The next ten minutes passed in similar fashion with no real chances being created by both teams, Besic had a shot from range but Ospina was more than ready for it. There was a lot of good passing fizzing around but no one really looked dangerous in the final third on either side.
Then in the 35th minute we had a clear penalty shout turned down when Sanchez was tripped by Besic then Jagielka cleared him out but nothing was given. Replays showed it was nailed on as well. As the half progressed Everton began pumping long balls to Lukaku which we defended well, probably because Elneny and Coquelin were dominating the midfield area as well.
Then on the 41st minute we countered brilliantly when we knicked the ball of them in our half and Bellerin picked out a long ball for Iwobi to run on to and he slotted the one on one away with aplomb for his first ever goal the Arsenal first team. Great stuff, 2-0.
This really got our tails up, and we continued to create chances with Welbeck and Iwobi combining with a lovely one two on the edge of their box but Iwobi’s finish was blasted wide. The half time whistle blew to the sounds of Arsenal fans singing “Oooh Alex Iwobi”.
Everton brought on John Stones for the second half to play three at the back with two wing backs, but even with the defensive bolstering we looked sharper in the first ten minutes, with us dictating the play in their final third, especially through Iwobi and our right hand side as well. They responded with a couple of quite nasty looking challenges that went unpunished with any cards by Clattenberg.
As the half went on Everton looked well, looked kind of like Arsenal have been looking recently with a lot of midfield bluster but no end product, with Arsenal happy to sit back and soak up the pressure whilst looking for the odd counter attack here and there. One such counter was from Bellerin as he poked the ball past their last man and beat him for pace but he got an arm in the face that again went unpunished by the ref.
Then on the 65th minute they took a quick free quick that exposed us down our left hand side and the resulting cross had Ospina bravely off his line to intercept, taking a nasty hit from Lukaku in the process. It seemed to have injured the back of our keeper leaving him hobbling around the goal mouth, and almost resulting in an Everton goal when Jagielka headed over at point blank range from a corner as Ospina timidly tried to punch away.
He carried on but Everton sensed maybe that we were starting to get a bit knackered and began pressing us with a lot more intensity. A challenge on Ozil on the 72nd minute left him clutching his ankle and he carried on limping until him and Welbeck were subbed off in the 75th minute for Giroud and Gibbs respectively.
When their pressure wasn’t having an effect Everton began really putting a few digs in, with Kos and Monreal feeling the weight of some harsh challenges. But the worst was on the 79th minute when again the ref missed a blatant off the ball trip on Giroud as we bared down on goal.
On the 86th minute Iwobi came off the Chambers, and a great game he had too. The game kind of petered out from there, Chambers set up Giroud for a half chance on his favoured left foot but he blasted wide. Then the ref blew his whistle and we recorded what seemed like out first comfortable win in as long as I can remember.