Toffees unstuck at Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti went head to head at the Emirates stadium, in late February. It took just fifty four seconds for the Toffees to take the lead, after a foul on Richarlison by Dani Ceballos, and from a free kick at distance by Gylfi Sigurdsson, a poor header from David Luiz fell to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose over head scissors kick, flew into the left side of the net. The Gunners responded in the sixth minute, when Ceballos put the ball out to the right, and as Nicolas Pepe pulled the ball back, it was cracked over by Hector Bellerin. Three minutes later, Sigurdsson led the march for the Toffees, and Richarlison then found Alex Iwobi, who sliced his shot past the top left corner. In the thirteenth minute, from a Pepe corner, a header by Shkodran Mustafi, ballooned over. There was a delay as Sead Kolasinac collided into Djibril Sidibe, and required attention for his shoulder, before being replaced with Bukayo Saka. In the twenty fourth minute, through Pepe’s incisive pass, a strike by Eddie Nketiah, rocketed over the crossbar. Everton responded as Calvert-Lewin and then Sigurdsson on the floor, set up Iwobi, who blasted over. On twenty six minutes, Saka put the ball over to the right, and Pepe’s strike went into the clutches of Jordan Pickford. But within a minute, Arsenal were on the score sheet, as Granit Xhaka ran the channel down the left, and Saka’s pin point cross, was volleyed low by Nketiah, into the bottom right corner. The first card went to Morgan Schneiderlin for pulling the shirt of Nketiah. During the thirty third minute, the Gunners forged ahead when Luiz’s through ball was drilled into the bottom right corner by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as he ran forward. In the forty fourth minute, as Nketiah chopped down Calvert-Lewin, a free kick from Leighton Baines was headed out of play by Richarlison. In first half stoppage time, Richarlison was booked for a nasty tackle on Ceballos. But the Toffees drew level from a Baines corner, and flick on by Iwobi, as Aubameyang’s clearance was hooked back in from Sigurdsson, and Yerry Mina won the ball for Richarlison, who forced the ball over the line, just before half time. Arsenal were quick out the traps for the second half, as Xhaka started the move, before Mesut Ozil put a pass to Pepe, whose cross was met with a well placed header by Aubameyang, into the top right corner. In the fifty seventh minute from Richarlison’s dangerous low cross, Luiz and Calvert-Lewin collided into each other and required treatment, as Everton replaced Schneiderlin with Andre Gomes and Iwobi with Bernard. From a Saka throw in, as he combined with Xhaka, the pocket of Saka was then picked by Bernard, before Calvert-Lewin drove the ball into Bernd Leno, on sixty four minutes. Everton threatened on seventy two minutes, when Sidibe put the ball out to Bernard on the right, whose cross was headed on by Richarlison and a strike by Calvert-Lewin was driven into Leno at point blank range. A yellow card was then given to Sigurdsson for a poor challenge on Ceballos. On seventy five minutes, Ozil teed up Ceballos, who curled his strike over to the right, before Ceballos made way for Lucas Torreira. Three minutes later from a ball through by Fabian Delph, the quick feet of Richarlison struck a low shot against Leno, at a difficult angle. Then a cross by Richarlison, had a slight touch by Calvert-Lewin, as the ball went past him. Everton soon took off Delph for Moise Kean while Arsenal switched Ozil with Matteo Guendouzi. On eighty seven minutes from a poor goal kick by Pickford, first Xhaka and then Aubameyang won the ball off Sigurdsson, and from Torreira’s pass the ball was curled against the top of the crossbar by Nketiah. In stoppage time, Sidibe played a short corner to Baines, whose cross was played on by Bernard and headed narrowly wide from Calvert-Lewin. The last card went to Gomes for pushing over Aubameyang. At the end, through a Sigurdsson assist, Kean struck a low drive at distance past the left post to end a thrilling 3-2 victory for Arsenal against Everton.