Everton 0 -1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

That was something different, wasn’t it?! After a record run of come-from-behind victories, Arsenal showed they could also hold on to a lead under pressure against a side that had a very good home record in recent weeks.

This was a curious game in many ways. Arsene started with Ramsey and that too on the left side of the attack. It would seem Le Boss is serious about reverting to last season’s tactic of using a ball-playing midfielder on one flank instead of two direct wingers, at least for the away games.

It was a starting eleven that raised some eyebrows but the Gunners came out firing and killed any debate on that before it could even start. In the opening 25-30 minutes or so Wenger’s men produced some of the best combination plays that we’ve seen all season. The players were interchanging positions seamlessly, their understanding was almost telepathic, and Everton looked like they didn’t know what hit them.

Few would have been surprised if the score had been 0-3 at the half-hour mark. But it wasn’t. From a corner, Vermaelen scored what proved to be the match-winner, but Ramsey’s miss and a couple of vital blocks kept the hosts within touching distance.

And somewhere in the middle of the first half the game began to change. It’s difficult to say the exact moment when this change came about but a few factors made a difference. Moyes pushed Fellaini higher up the pitch and pulled Cahill deeper after his team had conceded. The Blues also started getting tighter on their man. Arsenal’s inability to add to the lead must also have given them some confidence. By the half-hour mark the game was a different beast altogether.

Arsenal’s combinations weren’t working as well. While earlier they were opening Everton up at will, now the Gunners were struggling to get past the midfield. Fellaini on the other hand was getting more and more involved, bringing Pienaar and Baines into play quite effectively down their left hand side.

Since the transition happened over time and it’s tough to pin-point to one moment, I have roughly selected the half-hour mark to compare some stats. The following table make the distinction fairly clear.


Legend: A-FTP: Total passes attempted in Final Third. S-FTP: Successful Final Third Passes(%). TS: total shots. A-TP: Total Passes attempted. S-TP: Successful Total Passes(%).

As a matter of fact, Arsenal completed more Final Third passes (62) in the opening half-hour than they did in the remainder of the game (59), which was at least twice that amount of time. They also completed 212 passes in total in the first 30 minutes as against 217 in the other 60+. No surprise then that they managed 8 shots in the initial burst but only 6 in the rest of the game.

In contrast, Everton only managed 1 shot in the opening half-hour and it’s not hard to see why. They only succeeded with 26 passes in the Final third in that period but more than doubled that (63) in the other hour or so which led to 6 shots on the Arsenal goal.

Essentially, the game became a lot more even. Both sides saw a drop in their passing success as there were a lot more duels. For Arsenal this was a lot more noticeable. The pressure from Everton also forced Arsenal into a number of long balls. The Gunners attempted only 7 long balls in the first 30 minutes but another 33 in the next hour. While the other passing numbers took a big hit, this was the only related stat that showed a remarkable jump.

The ball was hoofed up the pitch regularly but returned within moments. This created an impression of pressure, and the raucous atmosphere added to it – Kudos to the home fans, but the next interesting fact tells its own story.

Everton only managed one shot on target in the whole game. It’s been a problem for them all through this season as they’ve played a number of games where the opposition Keeper hasn’t had to make a save. A significant reason could be their reliance on wing play and crosses which are easy to cut out and are an inefficient attacking weapon, relatively speaking. Ironically, even if a tad harsh on the hosts, it would mean they were too one-dimensional in their attacking approach – a criticism usually leveled at Arsenal.

The Gunners too were not very efficient with their shooting as only 4 of their 14 attempts forcing a save. Of course, the Blues also protected their goal well with 5 blocks including a couple of vital ones early in the game. Ironically again, it was Arsenal who scored from a cross/corner!

In the interest of fairness it must also be said that the hosts had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled off-side. It’s hard to say whether that would have changed the result of the game. Everton fans will argue that their side would have gained in confidence but one must not forget Arsenal have responded superbly after conceding in recent games. At the other end, Rosicky too had a very good penalty should denied. All-in-all this will probably go down as one of the worst refereeing (including the assistants) performances of the season.

As expected most of the play was down one flank. For Everton Baines had the most touches, 72, followed by Pienaar with 63. In contrast Hibbert and Drenthe only managed 46 and 27 respectively. Arsenal too were keen to play through the right. Sagna had the most touches for the Gunners with 109. Koscielny also pushed out towards the touchline when the full-back went forward and the central defender had the second highest (90) touches. This included the most attempted and completed passes.

Arsenal had an interesting style of play at the back. Vermaelen usually held his position in a central area slightly towards the left. But Koscielny often moved all the way towards the touchline. Song or Arteta dropped between the two of them when the pressure was high. Arsenal were clearly more comfortable playing out through the right, as they’ve been for most of the season if I’m not mistaken. It’s was a bit surprising because Ramsey offered a good technical outlet on the left. Perhaps it was because the Welshman hasn’t played in that role before and the players naturally gravitated towards the area they’ve used before and are relatively more comfortable in. It’s understandable that instincts kick in when the pressure is high. But over the longer term one would hope the Gunners will develop other ways of bringing the ball out.

Arsenal’s back-line also deserves credit for its impeccable discipline that caught the visitors off-side on 10 occasions, often thwarting dangerous situations from developing further. Here too, there can be some questions raised about the officiating, certainly for the disallowed goal, but I haven’t seen the replays of most of the incidents from the appropriate angle so will give the assistants the benefit of the doubt.

On the whole this was a tough test for the Gunners, as one would expect at a venue like Goodison Park, and they did enough to secure the points. There were some breathtaking moves early on but mostly it was about fighting for the result. Just ask City, Spurs, or Chelsea what they’d give for a win away to Everton.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Was largely untroubled despite the intensity of the game. Distribution has improved a lot and it seems to be the result of some dedicated work on the training ground, particularly the balls out to Sagna. Had one iffy moment when his attempted chip towards Koscielny hit the striker but faultless except that.

Sagna: As noted earlier was the player with the most touches as he was constantly involved with the play up and down the flank. Won 14 of his 17 aerial duels, many of which were long balls from Szczesny. Also engaged in a stunning 27 ground duels winning 18 of those. As an aside, his opposing winger Pienaar won 1/10 Aerial duels and 4/23 Ground duels. Also made a team high 4 interceptions while winning 2 of his 3 tackles. Sagna’s performance was also one of the main reasons why Everton couldn’t convert their pressure – which was largely on that side of the pitch – into something more meaningful. MotM in my book.

Koscielny: He too saw a lot of the ball and made good use of it. Made a number of vital interceptions and clearances, and a couple of very interesting forward bursts with the ball.

Vermaelen: Wasn’t far behind his defensive compatriots in the passing stakes. Also made a number of crucial clearances and blocks. His forward runs and movement in the box are always a threat and, apart from the goal, he did produce a couple of testing crosses.

Gibbs: Does have a tendency to get caught up the pitch and the off-side goal was partially his fault. In some ways he’s still learning on the job as this is a tricky position. Wasn’t as involved as Sagna but did show the ability to take on and beat his man in the attacking areas. Won 3 of his 4 take-ons and 6 of his 8 ground duels. Also did a good job defensively for most of the game when he was in his position. A number of important headers/touches in or around the box stand out in memory.

I wouldn’t call this a great defensive performance as a unit but the back five were very, very good. Vermaelen and Koscielny seem to be developing a very good understanding and it’s good to see they’re taking responsibility in the box instead of waiting for the Keeper to come and bail them out.

Song: It was a more controlled effort from the Cameroonian and he did his bit in helping the defence with 5 tackles (3 successful), 2 interceptions, 12 ground duels (9 successful) and 3 clearances. The moment at the end when he took the ball to the corner was commendable.

Arteta: Nowhere near his usual near-perfect standards but still a solid shift from the player visiting a ground where he’s given a lot over the years. Kept the ball ticking but wasn’t able to influence the game as much. Another midfielder who provided good defensive support with 2 interceptions, 4 tackles (3 successful) and 9 ground duels (6 successful).

Rosicky: Was quite influential in the attacking areas and made the most passes for Arsenal in the Final Third. Didn’t have too many individual battles but work rate was good and offered himself to receive passes that relieved the pressure.

The midfielders were in complete command in the opening half-hour but they had to dig deep for the rest of the game. It was an industrious and battling display that helped the back four. I’m not convinced about the positions they take up at times but that’s a complicated discussion.

Walcott: Theo wasn’t as influential as he has been in recent weeks. Baines did a good job of marking him tightly. Everton also cut out the through-balls quite efficiently which took away his strength of getting in behind.

RvP: Finishing was not at the current otherworldly level. Work rate was again superb, dropped deep regularly in the opening half-hour. Also made a good contribution in the box while defending set-pieces.

Ramsey: He played as an auxiliary midfielder rather than a winger. Had the most shots of all the players and showed exceptional ability to take up dangerous positions in the box. Finishing will improve over time. Saw a lot of the ball and his movement created interesting angles early on and opened up passing opportunities later in the game when the side was under pressure. Decent defensive shift as well.

The front three were threatening in the initial phase of dominance but it reduced over time. Still the movement and understanding up front was encouraging.

Subs: Gervinho put in a decent shift running up and down the flank and showed good composure on the ball. Djourou had very little time on the pitch.

Wenger: Looks like he’s working on some tactical tweaks. In recent weeks we have seen the reintroduction of a midfielder on the flank, the long ball out to Sagna, Walcott making more runs in the inside channel and central areas, and so on. Has also created or facilitated a good spirit in the squad which is coming out in every game. Furthermore, small details like taking Walcott out towards the end and putting Ramsey on Baines show he’s always involved and reading the situation.

55 Responses to Everton 0 -1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Bennie says:

    I love Ramsey. There’s no doubt he has got bags of potentials, but for the time being he should be coming off the bench. We lacked width to stretch Everton because of him. For me, he disrupted our game upfront…that we had seen in recent games. He offered nothing but numbers. Technically, our play upfront didnt click. His movements didn’t help VP. Did u spot the difference when Gervinho came on? We should stick with 2widemen. Walcott and the OX or Gervinho and Rosicky in the middle behind VP. Or else, we about to go another losing streak!

    • Davi says:

      But Gervinho came on for Walcott, who was quiet for the most part as well. The problem wasn’t ramsey, it’s that the team as a whole wasn’t moving the ball quickly enough and Everton were closing down extremely well.
      Our CBs (and Sagna) really won us this game by withstanding the pressure with little problem. It was the sort of thing we’ve seen many times from Utd in recent years, and is promising for the future. If they can continue to defend with such confidence, we will always be the more likely to win any game.

    • zzzz says:

      well gervinho came up late in the game when everton were pressing much higher up the pitch which gave him a lot more time and space with the ball. And while i agree that he was wasteful he did draw defenders out of position and we can see that he has the ability to make the right runs and finishing will improve with more game and confidence.

      but he wasnt a total waste and of course he wouldnt be taking on players as he doesnt have the pace but his passing was decent.

    • Dhruv says:

      Ramsey on the flank made sense! A commendable move from Wenger

    • chris from Cambridge says:

      I DO NOT think we shoud stick with 2 wide men. It leaves us out numbered in midfield … with 2 dangerous but erratic players wide who lose the ball a lot and don’t win it back. Playing with only one genuine winger still gives us that attacking potential and grants us a lot more midfield contrel and possession. That said I agree your comments on Ramsey – who is not the best technically. He has tremendous energy but does not always know how to use it.

      • Bennie says:

        We have won our recent fixtures with 2wide-men. And we have won midfield battles. song, arteta and Rosicky have been key to that! And we had the OX and Walcott on the wings. Remember d Milan or Spurs games @d emirates??? They tried to pack the middle of the pack, but couldnt touch us!

      • santori says:

        You lot have got it completely wrong. Ramsey was not playing wide left. He was tucked in tighter (see my post below)

        This afforded Gibbs the chance to come out in suppport like the rook in a chess game.

        Ditto Sgana although in his instance, we had overloaded that flannk with Walcott (a Knight I suppose)as Sagna was played more conservatively in face of Peinaar and Baines.

  2. Davi says:

    It disappoints me how much of a bad rap Ramsey is getting this season. I thought he did very well yesterday, as he has done in most of his games. He just needs to add some finishing touches to his game. People compare him with negatively with Rosicky, but seem to forget the massive difference in experience between the two. Ramsey is already a very complete midfielder, who offers great movement in attacking areas, with great deal of technical ability, and contributes very effectively defensively. He has great confidence and work rate, and he adds a bit of power in the midfield. He only needs to keep his head in front of goal a bit more consistently and I think he will develop into an excellent goalscoring midfielder. He’s not far away imo.

    • Dhruv says:

      Yes, Ramsey has goals in him. Yesterday, sometimes he delayed a few passes but overall he is important.

    • Bennie says:

      its about doing well. We need a winning formular…not one that struggles. If we had a player to drag and stretch players on either wing, there would have been lots of space for VP in the middle. and Rosicky could have heard more damage. We’re less effective and dangerous in our attack with Ramsey there. A natural wide-man would do more damage.

      • Davi says:

        Perhaps, but with another natural wide-man, we could also have been caught more easily on the break, and maybe couldn’t have withstood the excellent closing down from Everton in the way that we did. We might have ended up putting in more worthless crosses, as opposed to Ramsey having a few shots on-, or just off-, target. It’s not a simple situations and the margins between winning and losing are fine.

      • santori says:

        I think you have to put the game in context and give the gaffer credit for having an alternate way of playing for once.

        There was a real and persistant threat from Everton’s left as atest by Desi’s statistics.

        We were overloaded on our right to counter this.

        Added to the fact that we saw more of our fullbacks coming forward to provide width thereby affording the mids (Ramsey included) to tuck in and crowd the middle, it lead to our dominance of the ball and made it very difficult for Everton to compete.

        There is no winning formula. But there are details in which we must get rightif we are to thread the fine line between success and failure.

  3. zzzz says:

    my only regret from that game was that rvp didnt score but that was just to show the world that even he is human. But if we can defend like that for the next nine games then third position is ours for the taking!!

  4. Matt says:

    Bennie, did you read the review or just plug in a couple of cliched thoughts?

    • Bennie says:

      I’m not responding to anyone’s review pliz. I’m giving my thoughts on my observations yesternite…in reference to our recent run and bad run.

  5. Dhruv says:

    Wonderful results all around yesterday with Chelsea and Spuds dropping points and we winning a very difficult match. A big thanks to the players for keeping the momentum going. Next week against A Villa, time to introduce Santos.

  6. nickfromprotugal says:

    Great performance. Ramsay is annoying at times because of the missed chances but he gets into those positions and the goals will come. I agree we look more dangerous with two wingers but the first 10 minutes we were sublime. Sagna was incredible, he always wins the header from the goal kick, Theo had one of those games..we should put 6 past Villa but as Arsene says, keep focused, stay humble..

    • santori says:

      Ramsey, everyone’s current favorite whipping boy. Honestly. GIve him a bit of leash, he is still learning his craft.;)

  7. raghugovind says:

    I felt when we were under pressure we should have shifted Rosicky to the left and brought Ramsay at the Centre !! That way we could have held on to the ball better . I feel Ramsay brings both the flanks more to play than Rosicky .

    • Dhruv says:

      You have not been watching carefully, right now Rosicky is showing better technique at retaining the ball and creating chances, so he is ahead of Ramsey in midfield. Ramsey has his plus points but currently Rosicky is on form.

    • jeff says:

      Raghugovin.. I’m sorry but you’re dead wrong if you said ramsey could bring the the flanks more to play than rosicky.I thought Wenger has learn from his experience when he put ramsey on the centre n others like rosicky or benayoun on the flanks for half of the season.. Recently,he sticks with Rosicky in the centre n it paid off.. No disrespect to Ramsey but Rosicky simply has better technique and ,more importantly,better vision n creativity in which you either have it or you not. Only a few can match rosicky for that,as the captain said. But I thought ramsey did OK yesterday on the flank.

      • santori says:

        As I have mentioned below, because of our tactical change in formation, Ramsey tucked in and saw a lot of the opportunities fall to him, in part becuase he was good getting into those positions.

        He has to improve defensively and needs a bit of confidence in front of goal at the moment but I am not quite sure why he is the new whipping boy, part from the fact that Andrei is on sabbatical in Siberia at the moment:D

  8. pat says:

    agree with bennie
    Ramsey conversion rate is what is letting the lad down

    • chris from Cambridge says:

      Yes … it is almost as though he is trying too hard. He will get there but needs to use his energy more intelligently.

      • santori says:

        What he needs to improve considerably is his defensive side of his game. He is simply too nice.

        OTOH, good to see Song up for it and biting back a little. Seems to be another one mautring and adding some character to his game.

  9. nicky says:

    Desi G,
    Re Ramsey, I liked your comment that “finishing will improve in time”. As one who has felt for some time that our shooting attempts are too rare, the fact that we had 14 shots is very promising. Only 4 on target means more practice is needed and the coaches will have taken note with their beady little eyes.

  10. ebrahim says:

    ramsey is a not a starter for me but we do need him off the bench and maybe 10-15 starts. The main problem is Theo, he is such an average player and should be on the bench and not starting. His best games have come up against weak teams with weak RB. Apart from Chelsea when ever he comes up against a decent RB he flops it. Bench or sell him. He destroys our flow of football because he cant controll, cant beat a defender 1 on 1 and he losses possesion. Aslong as he is a 1st team player we got no hope.

    • Davi says:

      I think walcott is starting to turn all that around. He clearly wasn’t good enough 2 or 3 years ago, but he’s a dangerous addition to our attack, and currently no one is better than him for the right wing position. I didn’t agree with the amount of matches he was playing 2 or 3 years ago, but that’s not exactly HIS fault. Wenger should have dropped him when he was younger. Potential is not enough to be playing 1st team games, especially when the player can be a liability, as he was. This is in contrast to Ramsey who is NOT a liability to the side, and does contribute well overall, even if his shots aren’t all hitting the target.

      • santori says:

        In Walcott’s defense, he has weighed in with a fiar share of goals and more importantly assists.

        He was given instructions in this game to cut in in support of RVP leaving some width out wide for Sgana to operate.

        It is an area in which he is still trying to finesse so he will need time. That said, I am not thouroughly convinced that he is the most suitable person to play support striker. I still hold to the belief that as good as he has been, he is still better suited to his main role of running at defenses from out wide.

  11. diabyearnshowmuch says:

    top post, very insightful and a reaaly good analysis of a tuogh game, 3points in the bag from one of the toughest away days. Rerally need to get focused on Villa now, this time last year these home games were where we really screwed up.

  12. Very good analysis, agree with you that Sagna was the MoTM, though Vermaelen was solid and scored the winning goal too.

    On Wenger you write: “Furthermore, small details like taking Walcott out towards the end and putting Ramsey on Baines show he’s always involved and reading the situation.” – Rich endorsement for the tactical nous of Arsenal’s most successful manager? 🙂

    • santori says:

      Not sure I agree entirely but Le boss was tinkering with a slightly modified formation.

      That said, he is slow to enforce change. Moyes moved Fellaini forward in reaction to our set up before the half and Everton was instantly more competitive. But for tired legs and dodgy offsied decisions in our favour, we could have easily found ourselves in a spot of bother.

      Here’s where statistics don’t necessarily do justice. You may say the Everton had less shots on our goal but it would only take one in the net to change the game completely.

  13. boyo says:

    I don’t see Ramsey as a Passing player- His vision and speed on the ball are poor. He is however going to turn into a great goal scoring mid.

    The problem is that I don’t see how we fit that in at arsenal. Our style doesn’t allow for him and Arteta to be effective together as both as both are to slow on the ball. Arteta has great defensive qualities though and is seldom dispossessed and that is why at the moment Ramsey has to be benched IMO.

    We could play 4-4-2 and hope that long balls and crosses will create goals and he will score as a attacking Mid but that isn’t our style more a Chelsea diamond approach with Song at the tail and Ramsey the head.

    • santori says:

      In some ways, you may have hit the nail on the head.

      Ramsey is effectively a younger version (and less experienced) of Arteta. They are too similar.

      But i think we played him to contain the threat out right and also provide enough competition through the middle.

      We switched to our more traditional 4-3-3 with Gervinho wide left later on. That said, we had taken Walcott off by then and had Ramsey switched to cover Baines. It was at that point (with Djourou on) an exercise in containment albeit we had a couple of great opportunities with Gervinho on the break.

      Good to see the gaffer mixing tactically but I though he could have made changes earlier.

  14. Borntobeagunner(btbag) says:

    ebrahim, am sure you mean walcott flop against decent LB, assou ekoto from tottenham is not a weak lb from weak team and that match,is not chelsea v arsenal at emirates stadium but Arsenal v 5pur2. How could you asserts that walcott flop against decent LB from a decent opposition team when Walcott is mostly involved in most of the goals our captain RVP has scored. Drop your hatred mind of walcott and you will adore Walcott for what he has in him football wise. Just ask messi of Barca with defence of Abidal,Puyol,Pique and Alves calibre, and you will know that your Walcott assertion is far from the truth. Walcott is a big game/match player if you must know. Desi, once again, nothing in return but to say well done.

  15. rabiu_gunner says:

    Welldone Desi gunner 4 dat comprehensive details, but u seemed 2 hav heap too-much praise on Ramsey. He is d problem now 2 d best of my knowledge and wenger is stil blind 2 see dat. Wen last did we win any match by starting ramsey. He is too wasteful and i think we need a more ambitious midfielder. What hapens to d team if Song is not available and he’s slotted in. I’m sory 2 say dis dat i alwaz celebrate once ramsey gets injurd. So let get anoda or play coqueline instead. The COCO (as we fondly cal him in my village in Nigeria) only need few game b4 he blends into any position. Thanx.

    • santori says:

      Yet at the same time, you make too much of a meal by castigating all our ills on Ramsey alone. Don’t think that’s quite fair either do you?

  16. Insyder says:

    Ramsey proves me correct every time.He does not deserve to don a gunners shirt, his commitment is below par

    • santori says:

      I don’t doubt his commitment.

      Where he lacks at the moment is his defensive game. He is not competitive enough.

      But going forward, he isn’t afraid to shoot which for an over comlicated team at times is to our merit.;)

  17. Tee Song says:

    Other than poor finishing, Ramsey had a good game. Yes, he tended to drift in centrally but that actually caused a lot of problems for Everton because they often didn’t track him well and his late runs into the box resulted in several great opportunities. He ended up in great positions but didn’t finish them. Counterintuitively, Ramsey’s tendency not to hug the touchline and make late central runs was part of why we should’ve had the game put to bed by half.

    Personally, I think Arsene wanted Theo to stay high up the pitch and stretch Everton vertically but thought the game might be a little stretched defensively if he put a striker out left. Ramsey did a decent job defensively as well and his role in attack was to make late runs which he did effectively. Yes, sometimes his offensive positioning was poor and there were times he should have stayed wider in possession (or Rosicky should’ve rotated out to the flanks which he sometimes did) but at a tough venue like Goodison Park, I thought the tactic worked well. The fact that we overwhelmed Everton and could’ve been two or three goals up after twenty minutes showed how effective it was. Moyes is a good manager and adjusted his team well but that is a tacit admission that Arsenal dominated the game initially.

    • santori says:

      He wasn’t drifting centrally. That was his position. We were not playing him out wide. See below.

      • Tee Song says:

        Who defended the space in front of Gibbs? It was Ramsey. Therefore, he was playing left wing. In possession, he had a freer role, and I agree he played almost as a central midfielder. His late runs were a large part of our ability to create as many chances as we did in the first 20 to 30 minutes of the game. Players have both offensive and defensive responsibilities. In defense, he played in front of Gibbs and when we regained possession, he drifted inside from the left.

      • santori says:

        Yes but he was tucked in as the corresponding threat from the fullback HIbbert was less and Song was available to slot in behind Gibbs.

        You really ought to watch arsenal player. Stuart Robson disects it better than me.

        Ramsey was not playing wide by any means.

  18. Greencard USA says:

    A little harsh on Gibs being culpable for the “off-side” goal and a bit of tunnel vision imo since it was Szczesny that made a poor choice in distributing the ball to Song who was under pressure in the middle from at least 3 Everton players; and consequently lost the ball through a failed pass.While TV5 and Kossielny were closely shadowed Szczesny should have sent the ball further inflield than Song.

    • santori says:

      I think so too.

      I thought Gibbs had a good game and that the tinkering in formation afforded him the opporunity to go forward which he did with some aplomp.

      OTOH, (as I will mention below), we were overloaded with a bias toward our right which meant Sagna had more support on his side to counter their main threat of Baines/Peinaar. But that would also mean that Gibbs was pretty much covering on his own out left.

      On the face of it, it was Koscielny who kept Everton onside on several occasions which but for the kind linesman (Presumably from the good half of North London) we would have been punished.

  19. santori says:

    I think you can get caught up with statistics a little too much. Useful but they don’t necessarily paint the entire picture.

    We had some iffy moments at the back which had Everton not been quite as heavy legged (due to the match against Sunderland), we would have been punished. Special mention must also go to us getting caught on the offsied trap several times which if we hadn’t bough the linesman a couple of beers, may have necessitated another of those five minutes into extra time come backs.

    With regard formation, I think you are erroneous in assuming that Ramsey was being played as a winger.

    Ramsey was tucked in to afford Gibbs the opportunity to come forward. Which is why Arteta and Song in some ways played as an extra man in a tight triangle between TV and Koscielny.

    More importantly, I think you may be missing a point in that this could in a way be Wenger tinkering with a ‘Plan B’ given the return of our full complement of fullbacks and our growing number of options in midfield.

    thereby I thought we played the game more in this manner with an overloaded bias to our left in part to counter Baines and Peinaar :


    In effect, Walcott was the extra man on our right as the main threat coming from Everton (as bourne out by the statistics…they are of some use after all) was from their left.

    That said, I thought it worked well as it quite obviously confused Everton with having to deal with our extra numbers in the middle.

    That we dropped somewhat in effectiveness (and I think this occured 10 minutes or so before the half) was a tactical switch by Moyes who pushed Felainni further forward to put pressure on our CBacks earlier and prevent them from playing the ball out from the back.

    I didn’t think Walcott particularly effective yesterday but the overloading on our right did open some opportunitites for our left side (which goes back to what I had mentioned previously about both flanks having a converse effect on each other)

    Ramsey in particular had a number of shooting opportunities and the one thing you can say to his credit is that this lad isn’t afraid to have a go at distance. But for his confidence at the moment, I thought he got himself (offensively) into a number of good positions.

    It is defensively (and in some ways his combativeness) that he has to improve by a mile at the moment.

    OTOH, the fact that Wenger has decided to experiment away from his usual 4-3-3 in favour of using the fullbacks more (as flybacks) to provide width points to coming variation to our arsenal and maybe a hint of perhaps accomodating a future second striker in the hole behind RVP.

    An interesting game to say the least but one that seems to provide promise and may need further kinks wored out.

    But 3 points and third. Never doubted that we would get back into the CL and a bonus to pip the Spuds so early on. Onwards and upwards as they say. Cream rises to the top.:D

  20. santori says:

    BTW, MOTM……. the linesman by a mile.;)

    • JJ Pittman says:

      Know you are joking, but there’s a little karma from last season’s goal by Saha that should have been offside. Ice hockey was my first sport(from 5 hrs. old) and I really would like the offside rule more to match hockey whereby ANY offensive player behind the last defender makes the play offside, not just the player to whom the pass is intended. Certainly the keeper can be distracted by such a player and he doesn’t have the angle to tell.
      I thought TV 5 was MoM, but whole team was very encouraging. Laughed out loud at your remark about AA in Siberia!

      • santori says:

        Hockey rules?… god forbid…there would be too much contact and we would have less than half our team standing at end of match if we are lucky. We are carrying enough injuries as is don’t you think?:D

  21. JJ Pittman says:

    Just the offside rule, there’s enough clogging as it is.

  22. JJ Pittman says:

    Goal line technology too!

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