Arsenal 3 Everton 2 … thoughts from the game …

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 Have they rescinded that clampdown on high feet this season?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.



62 Responses to Arsenal 3 Everton 2 … thoughts from the game …

  1. There was quite a bit of discussion about who should get the MOTM award ……… interesting that there were a few candidates.

    Here’s what FFG and LB had to say on the subject

    fatgingergooner says:
    February 23, 2020 at 11:18 pm (Edit)
    Auba was motm for me. Not only did he score the goals but he did it whilst playing most of the match as an old fashioned left sided midfield player. He was always in front of Saka when he was needed and given that Everton had lots of the ball he had to do a hell of a lot of defending for someone who is supposed to be a striker. He never seems to complain and is always willing to get back. Not many strikers in the world with his sort of record would be willing to do what he’s doing for this team. I questioned the captaincy when he got it but it’s starting to make sense now as he certainly leads by example.

    LB says:
    February 23, 2020 at 11:44 pm (Edit)
    Giving MOTM to a player for simply scoring a goal makes no sense to me but today was different, Auba was special.

    A lot of contenders though, Mustafi excellent, Ceballos superb and Xhaka, never mind what has happened in the past, he was outstanding today.

  2. Mikel A says:

    Was Ozil that invisible? 😅

    An average of 6.5 for a team that gave all for the win, after three games in seven days, and
    scored three fabulous goals smells of a lack of perspective or a person who was brought up by severe parenting. 😳

  3. Sheila says:

    I think your ratings are a little on the low side, & no Ozil,? who I thought had another good game. I thought the whole team played well ( except perhaps for Sead & Torreira ) I think Ozil, Dani & Xhaka works well in midfield . I loved the game showed a lot about our spirit , by the end our team was knackered ( Don’t forget Everton had no mid week match) but we held on, under Emery we would have lost that game I am sure. Great atmosphere at the ground this time I really do think we have our Arsenal back

  4. Ooops sorry all, Ozil has now been added

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    PEA gets MotM for the 2 goals. He doesn’t do much else but when he’s in on goal he’s lethal.

    It was noticeable how the tempo of the game picked up when Saka came on for Kolasinac. He really is quite special.

    Everton really went for us down Bellerin’s flank. He was exposed many times, but he didn’t get much help from his team mates, Pepe in particular.

  6. LBG says:

    Agreed wholesale with your comments last night Rocky, and ditto this morning.
    Following a couple more people gently disagreeing this morning, hesitant to make my comment, but……. you know sir we all love you and respect your football knowledge….I would rate all players graded, higher than you except Bellerin who I would rate lower!!
    Just opinion, of course, and clear evidence if ever we needed it that everyone sees something different at a footie match!

    PS Definite corner for Everton’s second goal…..our error, but a good excuse to abuse a bald linesman!

  7. LBG says:

    While I remember, and back to our recent conversation on “posts,” and the Crystal Palace fan I chatted with on train on way home last night, two interesting sources of footie discussion that might be ” stretched out” by someone intelligent to make a said post.

    At our goal kicks/when Bernd had ball in hands yesterday, Everton played a tight four man press. Two players wide left and right marking Luiz and Mustafi, one centrally on edge of 18 yard box, presumably to stop our Gk from rolling ball out to himself, and one directly behind marking Xhaka or Dani who were waiting to break the press. My Crystal Palace traveller asked, apart from kicking long, how do teams break that kind of press?

    This traveller knows David Dein and his family personally as a friend and was interesting in his comments on a number of fronts. Firstly, while accepting that Dein “backed the wrong side”, he felt Arsenal did not treat him justly and how he thought a “Club like Arsenal”should have done, when the bust up came. ( He acknowledged that Dein did very well out of it!)
    But he also said something I agree with wholeheartedly. Even with the debt hanging over the Club from the building of the Emirates, if Dein had still been at Wenger’s right hand side, a good number of those “top players” ( ? RVP, Fabregas, the Manshitty brigade), “would not have been sold.” ( his words). Interesting!

    I personally cannot wait for that promised book from Arsene detailing what “really happened during his reign”.

    Sorry this comment seems disrespectful of today’s post, Jo. Please remove and use in future only if of any interest.

  8. LBG says:

    Happy 80th Birthday to the second best, non Arsenal, striker I ever witnessed – Denis Law.
    Despite being a Manure player, our own blonde God DB10 was named after him, so I’ll forgive him.

  9. RC78 says:

    I suppose I was just annoyed that Lewin and Richarilson could have scored another goal each and of course the defenders are the first on the firing line. The important thing is that Leno did some great saves, Lewin did not hit the target with his free header and that we won in the end.

  10. Sheila says:

    LBG I was REALLY interested in your chat with the CP fan, & what he said about D Dein. I have heard him speak several times, & spoken to him afterwards as well, & he is often at the club at games .He was a BIG miss when he left. I wish I knew more about what REALLY went on at that time and what he really thinks about the Kronke’s

  11. Pete the Thirst says:

    @LBG interesting comments about David Dein. I remember him travelling on the Arsenal away trains back in the late 80s. He is a genuine fan.

    He had definite business acumen that dovetailed nicely with Wenger’s natural caution. One example was signing Sol Campbell. Without Dein’s dealing Campbell would never have come. Wenger was unwilling to pay the wages being asked for.

    Despite all this he let himself down badly in the legacy planning of the club. He was the one who invited Kroenke into the club. He then sold out to Usmanov for a serious amount of money (£75m?).

    In addition to this his son was heavily involved in stripping our players away to pastures new. Without his Dad’s position I doubt he would have been in that position.

    Anyway his ship sailed long ago…

  12. LB says:

    Sol is a good example but a bad one is how he cocked up the Ashley Cole deal. AC caught the blame for that but it was poor negotiating on DD’s side.

    Still, I suppose no one gets them all right and he certainly did far more good than harm.

  13. RA says:

    Good Posts Guys, and unsurprisingly very different views from two solid, sensible fans, and I find that I agree with some of Rocky’s points and also some of RC’s, meaning, I suppose, that I also disagree with both of them in some of their opinions too. 🤪

    The result was very satisfactory, and however imperfect the play on a windy night, it is not a game to make too many criticisms as the Olympiacos game on Thursday took a lot out of our guys.

    There were a couple of things I observed from viewing on TV, rather than in the ground, is certain parts of the match when Cebbalos and Saka beautifully demonstrated the ‘push me, pull you’ aspect of so many things in life.

    For all his skill and balance, Saka, who is worth his place in the team for his breathtaking crosses alone, seemed to be wearing ice skates, in part of the 2nd half, when he received some passes, or tried to move the ball on, he did the splits or fell on his face leaving the ball for the Everton players to go on the attack.

    Whereas Cebi, when he received the ball just outside our penalty area, seemed to have his bootlaces tied together, or was so mesmerised that he remained stationery, unable to move his feet, and allowing the oppo forwards to take the ball off him and say ‘thank you very much’ as they attacked our goal.

    Solution? New studs for Saka — Kick up the ass for Ceb for showboating – maybe.

    I know there is a temptation for all fans to say (after a win) that their team deserved to win, and that their team outplayed the visiting team, and all the team were all round good guys, and in our case, after three wins in 7 days that is a fair point, but truthfully, we also had luck on our side last night, and as tiredness bit at weary legs we were really hanging on, while a pretty good Everton side tried desperately to claw a draw out of the game.

    But football is a results game, and three points were our just reward!

    Just saying. 🙄

  14. LBG says:

    Ant and I felt the grass was slightly longer on Sunday, or let’s say less slick, despite watering before and at halftime.
    Saka’s slip looked to me, like exhaustion kicking in.

  15. RA says:

    I suspect you were right, LBG, as tiredness seemed to be affecting all of our players, and Saka was not under pressing pressure at the time — just legs not doing what was expected — probably the same for Ceba

    You were also right by the way, as regards Mesut. He was having a chuckle on the bench with the other players – quite a change – and he really should always play when not injured – in my opinion!

    Regards to Ant and Duck — they are missed on AA for their traditional match day journeys — and beverages. 🤪

  16. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the combi-post.

    This was my comment from yesterday … Auba is equal top EPL goal scorer despite his 3 match ban. I only saw the second half but what stuck in my mind was a string of headers and clearances from Mustafi when the rest of the team seemed to have become drained of energy … so I’d give it to Mustafi. He’s now put together 4 solid performances in a row.

    …. on reflection it has to go to Auba, not only for his attacking but for his defending and work rate. I’m still very pleased for Mustafi.

    On the subject of CB’s, if Mikel saw the potential in Mustafi, why did we sign Mari except for back-up I suppose? Competition is good. As it stands, it looks like Socrates and Mavropanos will be first in line to be sold in the summer to make way for Saliba and the returning Chambers

  17. RockyLives says:

    Where do you think Holding fits in?

  18. LBG says:

    Dont give up on Mavrapanos yet, although he got injured again at weekend. Will Chambers come back and worthy of a squad place? For me, Sokratis can go, and just to resurrect an old one, will Luiz keep his place as a centre back next season?

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky & LBG

    I had high hopes for Holding … I can’t remember if Mikel took over whilst he was still fit He looked rusty in the game of the injury, but for a short time after his previous injury I could see faint shades of Tony Adams about him. But then Chambers improved a lot and it seemed as though Holding was back to 4th of 5th choice.

    Again with Mavro, there was a very short spell when he looked very promising … but the he picked up another injury. I’m afraid I think he’s injury prone. Bouncing in and out of the side if you’re a midfielder or attacking player … but for a defender it is more significant I think. CB’s cat afford to be less than 90%

  20. LB says:

    Saka’s cross was, of course, world class, I have almost come to expect it (that didn’t take long) but what has also equally impressed me has been his near flawless passing out from the back — until about three quarters of the way through the game when he made a mistake which I remember feeling surprised about but I thought hey ho he has set the bar so high, one small mistake shouldn’t matter.

    And then he did it again, and then he slipped and we lost possession; he seemed to loose confidence and the rest of the team stopped passing to him, interesting, maybe a bit of tiredness is creeping in, that could explain why he was on the bench rather than starting……………….

  21. RockyLives says:

    Funny LB, I had the same feeling when he made that first mistake.

    As you say, he’s set his own bar way high.

    In my team prediction I had him starting, but I’m sure Mikel and the coaching team know when their players are close to running on fumes and I suspect he was put on the bench for good reasons.

    He’s played a lot of footy lately and he seems to always play at a hundred miles an hour.

  22. LB says:

    Your welcome.

    I know Canada is a big place but I am going there in June, Banff to be precise, I hear it is very beautiful, I am then cycling along the Continental divide to Mexico, 2800 miles. I am as much excited as scared out of my mind.

  23. Rasp says:

    I’ve just heard that wham are 2:1 up against Pool ….

  24. fred1266 says:

    Yea they are rasp, really hope they can hold on

  25. fred1266 says:

    Come fabianski let nothing pass

  26. Rasp says:

    25 minutes to go Fred … keep everything crossed

  27. fred1266 says:

    Fabianski let in one damm

  28. Rasp says:

    Shit … 2:2 … 😡

  29. Oh dear Fabianski, drifted through his legs 😔😔😔

  30. Sue says:

    Bloody hell, I was getting ready to blow bubbles. Can’t see them winning now 😩

  31. Sue says:


  32. Sue says:

    Jammy s-bags, the lot of them! 😡

  33. LB says:

    Bubbles must be disappointed…………..

  34. There I was hoping that tomorrow was going to be Happy Invincibles Day …. oh well 😔

  35. Le Coq Monster says:

    I know Michael Jackson had a statue out side Fulhams ground, but I thought he was a West Ham fan as he was forever blowing Bubbles!

  36. RockyLives says:


    Banff is absolutely stunning. You must go up to the Banff Springs Hotel for a drink on their terrace – wonderful views.

    That sounds like an amazing trip.

  37. RA says:


    Banff National Park is fantastic.

    I have walked the paths thru the forest for some miles on my own, and the silence is absolutely wonderful, although the occasional twig snapping nearby can make one a little apprehensive as there are bears in that there forest, some of them are grumpy. 👀

    You should be OK, as far as avoiding Elk, as they only start to get frisky in August looking for a nice Elk lady – so you will probably be in Mexico by then??

    Altho, cycling thousands of miles is also a fantastic project – but if you are starting in June 2020 — maybe we’ll see you back here in June 2025. 😜

  38. LB says:


    I am making sure I ride it off season so I don’t miss a game.

    How do you do those great smily faces.

  39. RA says:

    To be honest, LB, the smileys look like very small faces at this end! 🙄

    When I use an Apple MacBook there is a row of icons that come on when I am typing, and I just click on the one that seems appropriate.

    Another way is to use the keyboard, : )

    They must have spaces at each end of the colon and the bracket but the colon and the bracket should be together,

    So 🙂 😦 and then compare them with the Mac smiley – 🥺

  40. RA says:

    I was wondering (foolishly) which came first, LB – Arsenal or a wonderful cycling holiday? 😡

    Clearly a silly question! 😀

    June would be a very good choice for the Rockies. 👍

  41. LBG says:

    Happy 37rh Birthday, Eduardo. Good luck for your future.

  42. Pete the Thirst says:

    Now here’s something completely different…

    Does anybody recall Stan Flashman? The long departed King of the Ticket Touts and chairman of Barnet? I have a funny Arsenal related story about him.

    Even though he was a Spurs fan I saw him at Highbury a few times in the East stand. Generally surrounded by a mob of heavies as he was a man that needed protection.

    Stan was notorious as the man that could get hold of tickets for any event you wanted. The question was always ‘How did he get hold of the tickets’…well here’s how:

    A friend of mine was well connected at Barnet FC and knew Big Stan (he was very fat). On one occasion this guy had a meeting with Stan at his house in Totteridge. While he was there somebody arrived at the door. Stan’s wife let this gentleman in and told Stan that he was waiting in the other room to conclude some business. Stan excused himself from the meeting with my friend to sort out this bit of business. When Stan came back into the room to carry on the meeting with my friend he shouted to his wife:

    ‘Helen go to the safe and fetch Mr O’Lery’s* money for the tickets’

    As you probably guessed Mr O’Lery was a top footballer for one of North London’s biggest clubs.

    At the time footballers weren’t paid the outrageous amounts of money that they are today so there was an unwritten rule that they would get a certain amount of tickets for each game for their ‘family’. These tickets would generally find their way to Mr Flashman who would then sell them on for many times their value.

    *Not his real name

  43. Sorry everyone ………… I’ve got a post waiting to go up but there’s something strange going on with the tech stuff and I can’t get it to launch. Chat amongst yourselves and I’ll try again in a while.

  44. LBG says:

    Remember all the kerfuffle over Flashman (was that his real name?) In those days, collecting all the tokens from every home programme, by-passed the need to ever add to the fat man’s riches. Proud to say I have never bought a ticket from a tout for any of the thousands of sporting fixtures and venues I have attended in my life.
    As an active rugby supporter, my one story about rugby supporters and touts is a true one. Walking to an England International at the old Twickenham when fracas in front got our attention. A tout had objected to being jostled as he tried to rip off one or two desperate to get a ticket. A monster of an individual ahead of us picked the tout up and held him, literally by the ankles off the ground. The touts tickets fell to the ground and were “given” to the young individuals looking for a ticket, who shot off sharpish. Seemed like perfect justice to me, and the tout decided not to argue!!

  45. Pete the Thirst says:

    @LBG A friend was a beneficiary at Everton years ago. He lost his ticket for the game so decided to see what was available near the ground. We got searched by a senior policeman close to entrance to the away end at Goodison Park, where my friend couldn’t produce a ticket. We explained what had happened so the copper produced a ream of tickets he had confiscated from a tout earlier and gave one to my friend.

    We were totally amazed because our experience of police generally at football was pretty bad. This policeman was one of the good guys.

  46. LBG says:

    Takes you back to the days of Dixon. When men were men, and coppers were straight.

  47. Sue says:

    Gnabry is back in London……couldn’t happen again could it??!! 😜

  48. RockyLives says:


    You mean Lee Dixon of Dock Green.

    Multi-talented, that fellow…

  49. RockyLives says:

    He was often on the beat with Inspector Merse.

  50. Giroud or Gnabry to win tonight? Got a house full of baby spuds here …..,, I love how the commentator keeps reminding everyone how Gnabry destroyed the spuds 😂😂😂

  51. fred1266 says:

    Gnabry back at it again

  52. Sue says:

    Gnabry loves playing in London 😉👍

    ESR has assisted for Huddersfield 👍

  53. Sue says:

    Can lightning strike twice??!! GNABRY!!!!

  54. fred1266 says:

    Gnabry loving to play these London sides

  55. fred1266 says:

    6 goals all in London

  56. Gnabry it is then 😁😁😁

  57. Sue says:

    Oh it gets better… bye bye Alonso 👋

  58. oz gunner says:

    Phew, glad we got rid of Gnabry… :/

    Not sure Arsene should be coming out and saying Gnabry didn’t train hard enough. Comes off like a jealous ex. That sale was always going to bite us in the arse, just didn’t think he’d demolish teams that badly…

    Still only 24.

  59. LBG says:

    Every sale has the potential to “bite us on the arse”, ( most havent of course), and since we cant keep every player we initially sign, seems futile post event speculation.
    Gnabry never showed us, or his loan club, his future true potential.

  60. oz gunner says:


    I agree every sale does but how long had we been crying out for a decent winger?

    He had a lot of injuries but before we sold him he was the joint top scorer in the Olympics for Germany. 6 goals was a decent effort. Like Ox he showed a lot of promise. Of course 35 million for Ox was a no brainer but it was a strange decision to let Gnabry go. One of those “I don’t want to get in the way of a players career” when Arsene hung onto players for far longer.

    For some reason, Arsene persisted with Iwobi…

    Thank goodness he is gone. 35 million for him is the biggest theft in premier league history.

  61. Sue says:

    Hear hear!! With regards to Iwobi…..

  62. New Post everyone …………..

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