By Walter Broeckx
A few changes compared to our last match. Gabriel comes in the team and Mertesacker drops to the bend and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in the place of Danny Welbeck. Cazorla will be the captain for this match today.
So the team was : Ospina, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud. On the beach we had : Szczesny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Chambers, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck.
A rather slow start to the match from both teams. Everton had lots of the ball but didn’t really go forward but was more working on possession than threatening the Arsenal goal. Arsenal didn’t really moved the ball around very well in the opening 10 minutes. The first 15 minutes ended with a tame shot from Everton from 30 meters out that almost reach the second tier of the stands.
Gabriel then with a moment of not being sharp enough and Lukaku could go towards Ospina but the keeper kept his head and punched the ball out of the feet of Lukaku and then kicked it over the line. Great goalkeeping. Another good attempt from Ospina to launch Giroud after a quick restart but the Everton defender could stop the ball from reaching the Frenchman. Arsenal didn’t manage to keep the ball in team for longer spells.
Mirallas with a dirty kick on the achilles of Alexis was punished, he sure has a habit of these needles fouls. And finally the first real chance for Arsenal when Alexis crossed the ball to Giroud who headed wide. The foot of Jagielka close to his head might have distracted him but it was a low header. Arsenal suddenly being a lot better now in the next minutes with some better movement but not leading to big chances.
Gabriel now getting the better of Lukaku a few times in a row and Bellerin with a shooting chance but a defender gets in the way. Lukay with a dangerous run but a great sliding tackle from Gabriel denied him a shooting chance.
Arsenal getting a few corners after some pressure. Özil behind the ball and Giroud burried it in the net with his right foot. What a relieve that will have been for him. And for us. 1-0 to the Arsenal after 39 minutes.
Everton tried to reply immediately and raised the tempo but didn’t come to a shooting chance. Meanwhile Oxlade-Chamberlain was having an unlucky first half. He was clearly strugglin with the ball, the weight on the passes and misunderstanding his team mates. In short the things you see when you come back from injury.
Cazorla with a dipping shot that was pushed over by the Everton keeper and an Everton player almost headed the following corner in his own goal. At half time Arsenal was 1-0 in front after a slow start but we slowly grew in to the match.
The first action the second half was a yellow card for Giroud who stopped a promising Everton attack. The free kick resulted in a corner given away by Ospina and then some Everton pressure but the final shot went over. Everton playing for the free kicks it seemed at the start going down and getting the fouls. And a series of corners but Arsenal defended their goal and kept the ball out. Coquelin his shirt was then pulled to pieces and the ref gave a free kick to Arsenal.
A low cross then found Giroud, he turned Jagielka who threw himself in the line of the shot and blocked it with his arm. The ref didn’t put the ball on the penalty spot but gave a corner. Everton trying to pressure us high up the pitch and at times it brought us in some trouble. Ospina coming way out of his penalty area to prevent an Everton chance on the hour mark.
Cazorla then with 1-2 with Giroud but his shot went over. On the other side suddenly Lukaky with shot but Ospina managed to get his finger tips against the ball and put it over. The match then stopped for a head collision between Giroud and Coquelin. That looked bad. Lots of blood coming from the nose of Coquelin.
After the restart a chance for Lennon but his low shot was well stopped by Ospina. Coquelin clearly suffering from the blow and looking slow and sluggish. Luckily Gabriel with a good challenge to stop Barkeley and then getting the foul in his favour when he was dragged down.
Gabriel with a sloppy pass, Koscielny having to make the foul and collect a yellow card. Alexis sneaking in to a backpass and going down but the ref saw no foul. Alexis then again winning the ball, Oxlade-Chamberlain giving it to Özil but the shot was deflected over by a defender. With 9 minutes to go Rosicky came in the place of Oxlade-Chamberlain. After a difficult first half he became better in the second half.
Lukaku going in hard on Ospina and after a while the ref gave the free kick, a good punch from Ospina. Alexis went off with 4 minutes to go and Welbeck came on. Coquelin then getting a ball against his nose and again he was bleeding and then taken off. Chambers came in his place. Well he gave it all today Coquelin.
Ospina then had the ball a long kick , Giroud with the header giving it in the path of Özil who gave it immediately to Rosicky and his shot took a kind deflection and went over the Everton keeper. 2-0 in the 89th minute.
7 minutes of extra time and with the injuries on Coquelin this was understandable. Bellerin with a great run, a good cross but the header from Giroud went just wide. Arsenal trying to score a third and almost succeeding but the shot from Cazorla was blocked and then he couldn’t get passed 4 defenders. Rosicky winning the ball back but his shot was stopped by the keeper.
Arsenal kept Everton away from scoring, scored two goals themselves and won the game. A hard fought victory but against Everton it has always been that way in the last seasons in the PL.