Injury doubt, Lucas Torreira, was declared fit to make his first Prem start replacing Matteo Guendouzi but apart from that, an unchanged Arsenal were set to face their next challenge in the rebuilding process.
Again it was a case of not much happening at all. Everton harried and chased with extreme vigour and application, though without really troubling the helmeted one, partly due to their own jitters in front of goaL At the sharp end Arsenal were blunt, with even the Terrier struggling to make much of an impact. Nacho Monreal had the only effort on target for the Gunners in the first period but could only place the ball well within Pickford’s reach.
Greek philosopher, Sokratis, left the arena after half an hour having damaged his hip mopping up after his prone centre back partner. Rob Holding looked reasonably assured and confident entering the fray which was a great relief. Mustafi grabbed the senior partner role with both hands and made no further obvious blunders.
Everton produced a few worrying moments for the Arsenal defence but Petr Cech stood firm.
The first goal when it arrived was of such quality that it shone like a sparkling, golden nugget sifted from the silty detritus of the river bed. Ramsey’s first significant contribution to the whole game was to find Laca inside the box. The Frenchman produced a curling finish of stunning execution quite unlike anything up to that point. A real beauty.
A few minutes later and we were two up as PEA finished off a 3 on 1 break. Did we care that he appeared a yard offside when Ramsey flicked the ball forward to him?….did we heck as like.
The Toffees huffed and puffed but our Czech in goal made sure his performance put him strongly in the running for MOTM.
Theo got a bang on the eye and was replaced after looking one of Everton’s least effective players. The defence held firm with Torreira marshalling the area in front of the back four in a fashion quite unlike we’ve seen for many a year. A clean sheet against all the odds. Wonders never cease.
After some nervous moments in the first half for those of us with dodgy tickers, the team consolidated in the second with two well taken goals and a clean sheet. Job done.
Cech – Outstanding, MOTM by a country mile, and noticeably so much more commanding with his feet….10
Bellerin – so much better both attacking and defending. It was possibly the Terrier who made this all work….8
Nacho – workman like performance, no frills, no spills….7
Mustafi – bizarrely got better when Holding came on. Absolute pants before that….5
Sokratis – I thought we were doomed when he went off. Interesting to watch him starting to tell Mustafi off, much improved….7
Terrier – hard to really believe that he is still only 22. If that is what he can do in his first start we have good things in store….7
Xhaka – nightmare start with school boy errors at every turn. But, he is a very experienced player and he started to find his range as the game went on….6
Ramsey – looked lost in the first half but after the half time magic orange juice, started to look the player we are trying to persuade to stay at the club….6
Özil – I have said so many times that there are 2 Ozils, the one you see on telly and the one you see live, I was not at the game and he looked under the weather….6
Aubameyang – always happy when he scores, he plays so much like TH14 down the left, I keep on expecting him to accelerate past the defender and am confused when he doesn’t….7
Lacazette – picked himself up from his horizontal protest in the week and found the net with a very important breakthrough goal. Crap celebration but will gladly suffer it as much as he wants to do it….7
Holding – Thursday obviously gave him some confidence and he was an able deputy….7
Iwobi – added fresh legs, he looks a big old unit these days….6