The Gunners suffered just their second premier league defeat of the season at Goodison Park and by the over reaction from some of our fan base you’d think the trophy was already on its way to West London. Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead through a deflected free kick and based on the opening twenty minutes you’d have backed the Gunners to take all three points. Unfortunately the following 70 minutes bared no resemblance.
Everton came into the game on a terrible run of form and last night’s victory was their first since October. I emphasized in the sofasportsnews.com chat room early on Tuesday morning that no trip to Goodison Park is easy, despite their poor recent run of form it’s worth noting the Toffee’s are yet to lose at home this season.
In recent times, Ronald Koeman has been a thorn in the side of Monsieur Wenger. The Dutch coach seems to have found a formula to disrupt Arsenal’s fluency and turned the game into a good old fashioned scrap, not for the first time versus the Gunners. Although this style isn’t something you’d normally associate with Koeman his ability to adapt his style and exploit the opponents weakness is a fine attribute for any manager to have.
Losing a game you had the lead in is always hard to stomach; the character of our side is once more being questioned and sections of our support have already conceded the title on social media. Over reaction? Absolutely!
What went wrong?
There isn’t a sole reason as to why we left Goodison Park with nothing. I put it down to a number of factors on the night.
Poor individual performances…
The Ox, Theo and Ozil were all below par on the night. Whilst I can forgive the German, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by the performances of Theo and the Ox. The Ox continues to be given opportunities despite not being able to perform on a consistent basis and having been anonymous for most of the weekends win over Stoke I was disappointed to see him in the starting XI. He tends to drift in and out of games, wastes possession and the fact he’s only scored 18 Premier League goals in more than 5 years at the Arsenal is just one factor proving he is a player who’s failed to develop.
Theo Walcott once again failed to perform, you could argue he could have done more to prevent Baines’ cross leading to the Everton equalizer. Defensive duties aside, the winger offered us nothing in an attacking sense and despite his impressive goal return so far this season he continues to drift in and out of games similar to the above mentioned Ox. The goals are there and based on that I can understand why the boss persists with the England international.
It’s not often I dig out Mesut Ozil and I’m probably wrong to do this based on just the one fixture, but I cannot help feeling disappointed in the way he performed last night. He failed to convert one of Arsenal’s best and only opportunities on the night and during the first half in particular he failed to execute the killer passes he usually makes with his eyes closed. I don’t want to make too much of it because his form so far this season has been sublime. Despite it being a one off, it did affect our chances of winning the game and so I decided it was worth a mention.
I don’t want this to come across as sour grapes but I find myself ruing a couple of poor refereeing decisions and not for the first time. The incorrect award of an Everton corner by Mark Clattenburg subsequently led to the Williams goal and ultimately decided the result.
Those of you who read this blog regularly and listen to the sofasportsnews.com official podcast will know I’m in favor of video technology and extremely passionate about it. Far too many results are dictated by incorrect decisions, I don’t blame the referee’s themselves, I blame the games governing bodies for not providing the support they require as demonstrated by plenty of other sports.
I guess you can sympathize with the officials when they don’t spot the slight deflections, like the one that led to the corner but what you can’t excuse is his failure to see the foul on Alexis Sanchez in the Everton box during stoppage time. Arsenal should never have conceded that corner and should have certainly been awarded a late penalty. No matter how much scrutiny the performance comes under the fact is that Arsenal would have at a minimum taken a point from the game had the officials seen the incidents clearly or at least had the tools available to refer to at their disposal.
It’s a minor setback in our title chase, just our second league defeat of the season and to write us off would be foolish.
We travel to Man City on Sunday and have a real opportunity to show our title credentials. A draw at the Etihad would be a fine result but with them playing the way they are of late there’s nothing to say we can’t take all three points. Perhaps this defeat will be the wakeup call we need. Arsenal have managed to stay with the pack thus far and in my opinion we’ve not yet come out of second gear.
Enough of the negativity, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.