By Walter Broeckx
Another last match of the season in the Emirates and again I was there. Just as in recent seasons. Alas that gave me no chance to write the fast as lightning live match report Untold readers are used to for most of the time.
And so no real live feeling about the report. I sat in block 120 with my wife Carine who also has joined me for the last match last season. And with my brother Eric and his partner Nicole. And despite the final outcome of the day was that we didn’t enter the CL it still was a great and entertaining match to watch.
Arsenal started at a great pace and within the first minutes Welbeck should have put us in front but he missed from close range after a cross from Bellerin.
If that miss was embarrassing for Welbeck worse was to come. Arsenal attacked wave after wave rolled towards the Everton goal and you just knew a goal would come. Özil got the ball and crossed it low to Welbeck who only had to push it over the line but to his and our amazement he somehow managed to pull the ball away from goal… but there was Bellerin on hand to push it over the line.
Arsenal 1-0 in front after 8 minutes and completely in control. You felt that more goals would follow if we would keep on putting pressure on Everton.
But then came a few seconds of madness from Koscielny. He went in too wildly and missed the ball with his tackle. A red card was the result. And he will miss the cup final also as a result.
Now I can agree with the red card but why does it seemingly only happen to Arsenal players when they make such fouls? I think I have seen dozens of fouls like that where no red cards were given by many refs. And how the ref later managed to keep all Everton players on the field is still a mystery to me.
But with more than 75 minutes to go… 1-0 up and one man down. Arsenal adjusted a bit at the back and then we kept control of the match. Everton had a man more on the field but it wasn’t really visible. Alexis took a shot that bounced off a defender against Welbeck who hesitated slightly and then rounded the keeper and when he was too wide he just rolled it back to Alexis who had followed up the attack and scored our second goal.
2-0 in front still a man down.
But Everton now with Barkley on the field going forward more and a real goalscramble followed, but Holding managed to get in a block and in the end Cech dived on the ball. That was a real scare. Williams and Jagielka got yellow cards for poor tackle on Alexis. But some other fouls like an arm to the face of Monreal were not punished by the ref. Cech with some good stops at the end of the first half as Everton upped the tempo and Arsenal had to lean back a bit more. 2-0 in front at half time.
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The first notable thing in the second half was a double chance for Welbeck and Özil but the Everton keeper saved both efforts and then followed the injury from Gabriel. From my position it looked that he played the ball and then overstretched but the ref saw a foul and gave Gabriel a yellow card and allowed the stretcher to take Gabriel off.
Now Wenger had to make a substitution and Per Mertesacker got his first playing minutes in the PL. I was there in Lens when he got his bad knee injury so I was glad to see him back on the field again.
Per played as Per does, stopping an attempt to go past him on the side line with one of those long legs from him. But a bit later a ball went in the penalty area and touched the hand of Holding. Oliver does what he always does these days: give a penalty against Arsenal. This time he was right as it was handball but I have seen him give wrong ones this season so I thought he would even things out but he didn’t. Lukaku scored from the penalty spot.
Schneiderlin tackled Xhaka and got a yellow card but Xhaka had to go off with an injury. Coquelin came in his place. A yellow card then against Holding for a foul after the ref let go a foul on an Arsenal player first.
Özil saw another effort stopped by the keeper. Alexis being kicked all afternoon then had to come off and went straight in to the tunnel also. Never a good sign. Iwobi came on.
In the last 20 minutes Arsenal were holding back and speculating on the counter attack. Led in a marvellous way by Özil and assisted by Bellerin who seemed to have found his best form again. But Iwobi and Welbeck managed to miss the chances to give us a 2 goal lead again. At the other end Per was showing why I rate him so highly by heading away a lot of balls and by being so calm and cool as a cucumber when under pressure. And if something passed Cech was in the right place.
Five minutes of extra time followed because of the Gabriel injury. Arsenal broke away a few times and when Özil glided past a few players he gave the ball to Ramsey who curled it majestically in to the top corner. 3-1 in extra time. What a wonderful goal that was. And have to give credit to the ref giving an advantage in the build up after a foul on Welbeck.
Arsenal broke a few times again but again the finishing lacked precision but it didn’t matter in the end as we won 3-1.
A very entertaining match with some players having some excellent performances. But a suspension and some injuries were the downside of this match. Up to the cup final…. and again no live match report from me….
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