League leaders Arsenal welcomed high flying Everton to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday night in what was clearly the match of the week. The big guns like Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea had all dropped points, and it was Arsenal’s golden chance to open up the lead at the top to a massive 7 points. Everton themselves had a spring in their step after their morale boosting 1-0 win against United at Old Trafford during mid-week.
With Arsenal also in great form, the game was poised to be a thrilling encounter between two sides who were playing at the top of their game. The match did not fail to deliver one bit as it delivered a pulsating encounter which ended 1-1. The Toffees started the game brightly and the away side took the game to Arsenal, fearless in their approach. They dictated play in the first half, as the Gunners took their time to find their feet in the contest.
They finally managed to find their groove and broke the deadlock in the 80th minute through summer signing Mesut Ozil. Victory was not meant to be as the supremely confident Everton pulled themselves back on level terms just 4 minutes later through substitute Gerard Deulofeu. The crowd were treated to a footballing spectacle. Manager Arsene Wenger praised Everton’s resilience, but added that he was not very happy with the approach they adopted throughout the game.
Wenger feels that Roberto Martinez sent his side out to play a more physical game in an attempt to overpower and break the silky and smooth play of Arsenal’s midfielders. He spoke after the game and Metro reported him as saying, “When we got out of the pressure and got into the passing, they stopped us every single time with a foul,”
“To just make a foul without being punished by the referee is a huge advantage because after that you play ten against ten in one half again.”
Wenger may not have been happy with some of the tactics employed against him but the Everton encounter will have prepared the team for the type of intensity they will come up against in the game with Manchester City so Arsenal will only have improved after the Everton challenge.