Seems like Christmas came early for the Gunners, as their wish of seeing AOL (Alexis, Ozil, Lacazette) play together finally came true on a day when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger turned 68. Happy Birthday, Arsene!
Coming off the back foot of last weekend’s disappointing game against Watford, the Gunners needed to bounce back to winning ways; though they haven’t won an away league match, as they travelled to Liverpool to face opponent Everton who are in bad form at the moment.
Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette made up the starting line-up to face Everton, in a match where both teams are in sheer need of the points.
Arsenal started brightest of both teams and could’ve easily gone ahead in the first ten minutes of the match when Ozil threaded a sublime pass to Ramsey who found space for himself but couldn’t find the corner of Pickford’s net.
The Gunners continued with their strong tempo in the match and this time broke Everton’s defence but was denied a goal by a leg save of Jordan Pickford. Bellerin played an attacking pass to Aaron Ramsey who was loitering deep in Everton’s penalty area, square playing a pass to Lacazette who did well to open up his body as he easily displaced his marker, but like Ramsey was denied by a close-range Pickford save.
Soon after a moment of controversy took place, leading to the build-up of Everton opening the scoring of the fixture as to whether Xhaka was fouled or not. Gueye tackled Xhaka in an attempt of dispossessing the ball of him which most people say was a foul, but to me certainly didn’t look like a foul and had every right to make that tackle – seeing Xhaka have so much space with the ball at his feet.
Rooney, however, gained possession of the loose ball and thumbed in a nice goal to the top corner of Cech’s goal, using Mertesacker as a human shield for Cech.
Arsenal got themselves back into the game in the 40th minute following an unconvincing save from Pickford. A long ranger effort by Xhaka was palmed away by the Everton goalkeeper, falling into the strides of Nacho Monreal and made no mistake in levelling the Gunners in this match. Need I mention that the Spaniard had a very wonderful game yet again for Arsenal that seems to go under the radar; let’s forget the blooper that happened at the death of the match.
Arsenal started the second half just like the first and found themselves ahead in the 53rd minute of the match, courtesy of a Mesut Ozil superb goal. Alexis was able to pick out the run of Ozil and played in a delightful cross to Ozil who made no mistake, heading in Arsenal’s second of the day.
Gueye would have himself sent off in the 68th minute, following an unreasonable challenge on Xhaka. The Senegalese midfielder earned himself a second yellow and was rather fortunate to have remained on the pitch, as he should’ve been sent off earlier than he was.
Lacazette soon after got his first league away goal following an Alexis Sanchez pass which opened Ozilup for a counter attack, with the German square playing the ball to Lacazette who made no mistake this time and thumbed in Arsenal’s third of the day. These three players look so deadly playing together and should have enough firepower to carry the team on.
Xhaka, like we know, can be deadly with his long-range shots and came close to getting himself on the scoresheet – but was denied by the crossbar.
The surviving duo of Arsene’s British core combined well in the 90th minute to register Arsenal’s fourth goal of the day. Jack Wilshere who has played well in the few matches he’s played thus far, opened up Everton’s defence with a pass to Ramsey, who made no mistake extending Arsenal’s lead and sent Pickford the wrong way.
A shabby mistake from Monreal and Cech in the 93rd minute would have Everton pull a goal back. A sloppy pass from Monreal to Cech was intercepted by Niasse, who was free with an empty post and the attacker made no mistake in ensuring the ball crossed the line.
El Niño Maravilla ensured Arsenal’s three-goal advantage stood and sealed off his performance with a superb goal in the 95th minute. Alexis Sanchez ensured he took Everton’s defence on a run with himself across the eighteen-yard box, before bolting in a shot into the right corner of Pickford’s net, making it a 5-2 away win for the Gunners and a birthday present for the Arsenal manager.