A few random thoughts from the game from RockyLives …
What was Kola doing for the Everton opener? We have been excellent at holding a high defensive line on set pieces and on this occasion everyone did just that… except Kola, who went racing after Mina like a dog after a cat. It directly led to the goal as two or three Evertonians would have been offside from the free kick if he had held his position.
Luiz’s weak header didn’t help. But after the ball came back in I don’t understand how that goal was allowed to stand. I thought they had changed the rules about high feet in crowded areas, making it an automatic offence? Calvert-Lewin’s foot actually hit Luiz on the head (and if the Brazilian had gone down I’m sure the goal would have been disallowed). Have they rescinded that clampdown on high feet this season?
Maybe Kola’s injury (looked like a dislocated shoulder) was a blessing in disguise as it brought Saka on and led to our equaliser. Saka’s form continues to be spectacular (Sorry Sead…I feel bad making this point).
Xhaka played well overall (good pass to start the move leading to Eddie’s goal) but several times he passed straight to the opposition. Admittedly they were forward (progressive) passes, but I’ve noticed that he telegraphs his passes sometimes and oppo players are often able to anticipate them.
Richarlison is a nasty piece of work, but I loved how quickly Bellerin got in his face when he had the gall to start berating Ceballos after just clobbering him.
Auba played a captain’s innings today. Great work covering back at times.
I see Leno’s taken stick for Everton’s second. I’ve looked at it about 20 times and I think he was unlucky and pretty much did all he could have done. He made himself big and did all he could to make a block but the ball took an unlucky rebound. We need GiE to weigh in on this one from the Goalkeepers’ Union…
Ceballos and Ozil were excellent. Leno too.
Mustafi was a close run call for MotM in my opinion (I know RC disagrees) but it should go to Auba for his two goals and all round play.
Eddie took his goal so well. That was an encouraging moment.
Pepe is starting to feel like he deserves his place in the team.
I thought Torreira was sloppy when he came on. It can be hard to get straight into the pace of the game when you come on as a sub, but Terrier put us in trouble several times. Maybe explains why Arteta is not starting him?
Overall, we may have ridden our luck a bit at times but I felt we were the better team for most of the game, even though Everton played very well.
Project Mikel continues to inspire confidence!
And these Players Ratings from RC78
Leno had a great second half and kept us ahead. Bellerin seems our weakest player these days.
Mustafi and Luiz did not have a good day in the office but kept their cool and did not make any major howler. I was really impressed by Lewin and Richarlison – quality players.
Xhaka and Ceba did not play great in the first 15 mins and in the last 30 mins but Ceba put in a lot of efforts.
Pepe had a frustrating game I thought but he delivers an assist and did show some glimpses again – I think he really needs to read the game better in terms of pacing his runs because he seems at time either too far ahead or too far back.
The Saka-Auba axis on the left worked wonders again but Saka needs a rest. Maybe Soares will come in now.
As for Nketiah, he took his goal really well and could have gotten another one – his work rate was good but he also had many poor touches.
So another win but a more worrying one as we saw some of the ugly Arsenal face with the defensive gaps and playing too deep at times. Happy with the win but Arteta must find a way to make us more compact still. 4 points behind 4th place and 3 points ahead of 12th place – strange league this year.
Leno – 7.5
Bellerin – 5.5
Mustafi – 6
Luiz – 6
Saka – 7
Ozil – 6.5
Ceballos – 6.5
Xhaka – 6
Pepe – 6
Nketiah – 7
Auba – 7.5
Kola – no grades and Douzi neither, not enough playing time.