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Everton v Arsenal: August 2014

Everton v Arsenal: 23rd August 2014

everton-v-arsenal

Two goals in the last seven minutes by Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud denied Everton as Arsenal fought back to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

It appeared that the Toffees were to give the Gunners’ title aspirations an early-season reality check as they took charge of the game with first half goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith.

Just as on their last visit to Goodison Park, a 3-0 defeat in April, Arsenal were being out-fought and out-thought by Roberto Martinez’s side and looked set to suffer the consequences.

As impressive as Everton were with their slick passing and fluid moves going forward, it was far too easy for them to find a way through the Arsenal midfield and defence, and the Toffees were rarely troubled at the back.

It would have been a familiar sight for the travelling fans, who saw their side ship 20 goals as they lost heavily in all four of their away games against the other teams in the Premier League’s top five last season.

But that changed when Olivier Giroud came off the bench at half-time, and gave Wenger’s side a platform up front to haul themselves back into the game and, eventually, salvage a draw.

Ramsey gave them hope when he converted Santi Cazorla’s low cross and the much-criticised Giroud capped a fine display when he headed home Nacho Monreal’s cross in the final minute.

The equaliser was a reward for Arsenal’s persistence rather than their performance but perhaps it also demonstrated a new resolve that they lacked last season.

Finding a way of picking up points when they did not play well is not something that has come easy to the Gunners in the past but, after beating Crystal Palace in injury time last week, they have managed to do so in both their Premier League matches so far this season.

They certainly did it the hard way here, falling behind thanks to some terrible defending when a quickly-taken Everton free-kick was played to Gareth Barry.

He had time to look up and bend a cross into the far post, where Romelu Lukaku was unmarked but left the ball for Coleman to run in unchallenged and power home his header.

The Gunners did not learn their lesson at the back and were lucky not to go 2-0 down moments later. Naismith’s flick-on found Kevin Mirallas surging into the area but he slipped as he shot and saw his scuffed effort roll wide.

Arsenal’s defensive problems were being compounded by the complete lack of threat they were posing at the other end.

Alexis Sanchez was struggling to make any inroads as a central striker and Mesut Ozil was almost completely anonymous on the left of the three players behind him.

Along with Ozil, Arsenal had another World Cup winner, Per Mertesacker, back in their line-up for the first time this season, but he was culpable in Everton’s second goal on the stroke of half-time.

Lukaku muscled him off the ball far too easily as the Toffees broke forward and the Belgian surged past Calum Chambers before playing in Naismith, who appeared to be offside, to make it 2-0.

Everton’s fans celebrated their dominance noisily at half-time and Wenger did not wait to act, hauling off Sanchez and sending Giroud on to lead the line.

The Frenchman had a chance to make an instant impression, but lashed Ramsey’s teasing cross over the bar with a wild volley at the back post.

At least he gave Everton’s defence something to think about, however, sending a skidding low shot wide from the edge of the area before finally forcing Tim Howard into a save after 69 minutes.

With Everton dropping deeper Arsenal pushed more men forward and, after Ramsey pulled their first goal back after 83 minutes, got their reward right at the end of the 90 minutes.

Monreal salvaged an over-hit cross and turned the ball back into the area where Giroud beat Distin and nodded home.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “We ran out of energy and it became a feeling of wanting the game to end. We are not that sort of side that’s not the way we play.

“I was delighted with the performance for 80 minutes. I thought the first half was phenomenal. We looked a real threat and kept Arsenal very quiet.

When you’re in a situation you’re close to three points, you get something to lose, you need composure to get on ball and take advantage of the opposition throwing bodies forward. Today we didn’t have that mental energy.”

Check out the best photos from today’s Premier League games on the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

LINEUP, BOOKINGS (5) & SUBSTITUTIONS (6)

Everton

  • 24 Howard
  • 23 Coleman
  • 15 Distin
  • 06 Jagielka
  • 03 Baines Booked
  • 14 Naismith
  • 11 Mirallas (Atsu – 85′ )
  • 16 McCarthy
  • 18 Barry
  • 22 Pienaar (Osman – 10′ )
  • 10 Lukaku (McGeady – 76′ )

Substitutes

  • 01 Robles
  • 07 McGeady
  • 17 Besic
  • 19 Atsu
  • 21 Osman
  • 26 Stones
  • 30 Alcaraz

Arsenal

  • 01 Szczesny
  • 04 Mertesacker Booked
  • 21 Chambers Booked
  • 02 Debuchy
  • 18 Monreal
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 10 Wilshere Booked (Cazorla – 74′ )
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Campbell – 74′ )
  • 20 Flamini Booked
  • 11 Özil
  • 17 Sánchez (Giroud – 45′ )

Substitutes

  • 06 Koscielny
  • 07 Rosicky
  • 12 Giroud
  • 19 Cazorla
  • 26 Martinez
  • 28 Campbell
  • 39 Bellerín
Ref: Kevin Friend
Att: 39,490

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