The menu of the day featured a main course of Arsenal vs Everton at the Emirates in London on Tuesday April 16, but it failed to live up to expectations. The rather uneventful match saw both teams drop two valuable points in a 0-0 draw. Arsenal remains in third place for now and should be regretting the missed chances they had in the game, especially for French international striker Olivier Giroud. It was the second draw between the two teams this season.
Arsenal has played 33 league matches so far this season and has 60 points from them. However, their lead over London neighbours Chelsea is just two points and Rafael Benitez’s squad have a pair of games in hand. They’re also two points ahead of Tottenham, with Spurs having one game in hand. Everton remains in sixth place in the table after the draw and are four behind the Gunners.
The game wasn’t a complete dud as there were some scoring chances carved out by both teams. Everton’s Steven Pienaar could have opened the scoring early, but his close-range shot sailed over the crossbar. Arsenal slowly started to take over and Aaron Ramsey set up Giroud late in the first half, but the striker pushed the ball wide of the net after keeper Tim Howard came rushing out toward him.
Arsenal started well in the second half with Kieran Gibbs looking dangerous when attacking down the left side of the pitch. He set Santi Cazorla up at the edge of the penalty area, but the Spaniard’s half volley was saved by Howard. Everton came close again in the 64th minute when Barkley let fly, but his shot curled around Wojciech Szczesny’s post by about a foot.
Other than that, Everton didn’t really threaten at all. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tried to inject some added life into his squad and after 70 minutes he put Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the pitch for Jack Wilshere while Lukas Podolski replaced Theo Walcott. With about 10 minutes to go Cazorla fed Gibbs with a pass and the left-back’s low cross was aimed for Giroud, however Seamus Coleman was there to intercept. Other than that and Giroud shooting over the bar from in close, the changes didn’t really result in anything and the match sort of fizzled out until the final whistle was blown.
The Gunners will now have a few days to prepare themselves for a London derby at Craven Cottage on Saturday April 20 against Fulham.
Arsenal Player Ratings vs Everton on April 16
Wojciech Szczesny 6
The Polish keeper returned to tend goal tonight, but really had nothing much to do other than make a couple of routine saves.
Bacary Sagna 6
A steady and uneventful performance for Sagna.
Per Mertesacker 6
Did well in the air and kept Victor Anichebe at bay for the game.
Laurent Koscielny 6
Didn’t make any mistakes and was steady throughout.
Kieran Gibbs 6.5
One of Gibbs’ best games of the season up to now. Was a threat on the attack all night long with his runs and passing. Was taken off after 90 minutes for Nacho Monreal.
Aaron Ramsey 6.5
Ramsey’s second good game in a row. His tackling was fine and he also chipped in offensively.
Mikel Arteta 5.5
This wasn’t one of Arteta’s best matches. He had trouble with Marouane Fellaini most of the night and didn’t contribute as much as he usually does.
Santi Cazorla 6.5
Cazorla had an effective match and was quite creative. Forced Howard into making a good save early in the second half.
Jack Wilshere 6
This was Wilshere’s second match back after a six-week absence and it was a lot better than his first game back in the lineup. He’s still not at his best, but didn’t have a bad game. He was taken off after 68 minutes and replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Theo Walcott 6
Walcott wasn’t much of a threat to the Everton defenders and had a rather quiet night. It was also his second match back and like Wilshere, was taken off after 68 minutes as Lukas Podolski replaced him.
Olivier Giroud 5.5
Giroud had the Gunners’ best chances, but failed to capitalize on them. He could have been the hero tonight, but wasn’t able pull through to earn the three points.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6
Came on for Wilshere after 68 minutes. He fit in okay, but didn’t really make much of a difference. Not through lack of effort though.
Lukas Podolski 6
The German international came on for Walcott after 68 minutes, but like Oxlade-Chamberlain, didn’t have an impact on the proceedings.
Nacho Monreal NA
Came on after 90 minutes for Kieran Gibbs and proceeded to get a yellow card.