Amidst pessimism and dismal mood, Arsenal were the visitors and Everton were the hosts at Goodison Park. Arsenal were definitely going to be a huge test with the visitors carrying their proud unbeaten streak since the 2nd match of the season. Everton, meanwhile, were on the back of an embarrassing 3-2 defeat at the hands of Watford.
The match started on a balanced note but the away side enjoyed large chunks of possession. Alexis Sanchez got the break-through after his free-kick aimed at the far post went in between the leg of Ashley Williams, got the deflection and even the strong hand of Stekelenburg couldn’t prevent it from going in. Everton started to turn the tables after a brief period of Arsenal’s attack. An uncharacteristic right-footed Leighton Baines’ cross saw Seamus Coleman rise up and beat Cech with a fabulous header. Goodison Park was on its feet and Everton had equalised which no one probably saw coming.
The second half was all about reversals and box to box play with both sides going at it as the game started to heat up. Everton won a late corner with nearly a quarter to play and Ashley Williams scored from Ross Barkley’s delivery beating Cech with a terrific header again. A degree of controversy did ensue as it was not a corner but there is no reason as to why Arsenal should have let a towering defender unmarked.
Everton pinched a sublime victory and here’s how the Evertonians have been rated:-
1) GK: Maarten Stekelenburg – 6/10
Unlucky to have conceded the initial goal but he came alive in the second half and made some notable saves and punches. Overall a decent performance with positives to take from.
2) RB: Seamus Coleman – 8/10
A wonderful header got Everton back into the game. Fought till the last minute as passion flowed through him. A fantastic performance from the Irishman.
3) CB: Ashley Williams – 6.5/10
Unlucky to have conceded the first goal but made amends with a terrific, well-timed header.
4) CB: Phil Jagielka – 7/10
Was sent off very late in the game but showed good fight throughout. Will miss the Merseyside derby due to suspension but he was commanding and looked his best.
5) LB: Leighton Baines – 7/10
Vibrant and energetic down the left. Took the set-pieces very well. Everton needed their key players to step up and Baines did.
6) CM: Idrissa Gana Gueye – 7.5/10
Was all over the pitch fighting throughout the ninety minutes. Gueye is probably Everton’s best signing this season and once again he showed it why.
7) CM: James McCarthy – 8/10
His energy and command got Everton going in the middle of the park. Man of the match performance for sure!
8) CAM: Ross Barkley – 7/10
Tried his best and got an assist with a superb delivery. Must have impressed the manager. Needs to put in more of performances like these to cement his name in the playing eleven.
9) LW: Aaron Lennon – 6/10
Tried hard but couldn’t deliver from his chances. Can improve.
10) RW: Enner Valencia – 6.5/10
His pace down the flank and creativity showed just what Everton needed. Needs to be more clinical, though.
11) ST: Romelu Lukaku – 6/10
Had a hard game but did decently. Nothing extraordinary.