Arsenal’s cutting edge proves to be the difference

Sunday, 23 September, 2018 1comment  |  Jump to last
Arsenal 2 - 0 Everton

Richarlison makes a welcome return to the side after serving a three-match suspension

Everton's wait for a first win away at Arsenal since 1996 goes on as they were left to rue missed chances and a man-of-the-match display from Peter Cech by two Gunners goals in three second-half minutes.

Bouncing back from last weekend's 3-1 home defeat to West Ham in encouraging fashion, the Blues harried Arsenal out of their passing game during the first 45 minutes and really should have gone into the half-time break ahead.

A combination of poor finishing and inspired form from Cech meant, however, that the match was goalless as the game approached the hour mark and Unai Emery's superior attack proved to be the difference as Alexandre Lacazette broke the deadlock.

A clearly offside goal, scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but apparently unseen by the referee's assistant, less than three minutes later was the killer blow for Marco Silva's side, although Cech would deny Everton a route back into the contest with a good save from Michael Keane's header.

Silva made some unexpected changes to the side that had started against West Ham a week ago. Keane was deemed fit enough to start, albeit with a padded head band to protect his head following the hairline fracture he sustained at Bournemouth a month ago.

In midfield, Tom Davies came in for Morgan Schneiderlin and was handed the captain's armband, while in attack, Dominic Calvert-Lewin moved into the centre-forward role instead of Cenk Tosun and Richarlison returned in the wide left role.

Everton made an excellent start to the game and should have gone ahead inside two minutes. Calvert-Lewin sprung the offside trap and found himself with a clear run on Cech but with Richarlison steaming into the middle, he elected to go it alone and was eventually tackled by the keeper as the ball held up under his feet.

Jordan Pickford was called into action at the other end six minutes later and did brilliantly to save from Nacho Monreal before terrific work by Richarlison to trap the ball and then surge away from Hector Bellerin opened up his first effort on goal, a drive that Cech parried away to his left.

The Brazilian performed a similar manoeuvre a few minutes later but saw his attempt to curl a low shot home skid wide of Cech's left-hand post.

Then, when Theo Walcott was chopped down in full flight by Sokratis Papastathopoulos, it set up a direct free-kick opportunity for Lucas Digne than he whipped towards the top corner but found Cech equal to it as he pushed the shot over the crossbar.

And Cech was there again in the 38th minute as Walcott was released behind the Gunners' back line and sprinted in on goal but the Czech stopper darted off his line to save with his leg as the former Arsenal winger tried to lift the ball over him.

Emery's men enjoyed their first spell of sustained pressure as the game moved into the final few minutes of the first half but it was the visitors who finished the stronger of the two sides. Walcott knocked a long ball forward expertly to Richarlison who took off towards goal again but his left-foot shot was palmed behind once more by the goalkeeper.

Having made such a good account of themselves, Everton were undone by the first moment of striking quality from Arsenal. Lacazette ghosted into a hole behind Jonjoe Kenny on the left side of the penalty area from hosts' perspective and curled an unstoppable shot in off the far post.

Then, while Everton were still trying to regroup, a mistake by the otherwise impressive Kurt Zouma allowed the Gunners to pour through the Blues' defence where a low centre looked to have eluded Aaron Ramsey as he slipped but he was able to flick it into the path of Aubameyang. The Gabonese forward was a yard offside at least but, unpenalised, he tucked the ball home to make it 2-0.

That was effectively the knockout blow for Silva's men. Keane's header from Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick looked to be sneaking inside the far post but Cech saved low and then a shot from the Icelandic midfielder deflected narrowly over.

Tosun, on for the last 18 minutes as a substitute warmed Cech's hands with a decent shot from outside the box and Digne hit the woodwork with an attempted cross from the byline but it wasn't to be Everton's day.

The result means that Silva has started his Blues reign with just one win from six in the Premier League but he will have taken heart from a spirited display that was undone by a lack of quality up front.


Reader Comments (1)

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Pat Kelly
1 Posted 23/09/2018 at 19:01:49
There's always next season. Or the one after that. We just need patience. And someone who can score a goal now and then. You know, a striker. Like Premier League Clubs have. And maybe a revolutionary approach to signings: look for uninjured players.

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