Arsenal bounce back from the disappointing midweek loss to Monaco in the Champions League with a 2-0 victory against Everton which sees the Gunners climb up to third in the Premier League and only four points behind second place Manchester City.
Arsenal made a slow start to the game as Everton had most of the ball early in the first half, however it was the Gunners who took the lead in the 39th minute through Olivier Giroud who volleyed in from Mesut Ozil’s corner to amend for a miss earlier in the half.
The second half saw Arsenal have their backs to the wall for much of it as Everton pressed for an equaliser as David Opsina was called upon to keep the Gunners lead on a few occasions. The Gunners then sealed the win late on as Tomas Rosicky’s deflected shot beat Tim Howard to cap off a successful afternoon for Arsenal.
David Opsina- 8- Arguably the Colombian’s best performance in an Arsenal shirt yet which only extends the calls for him to keep his place as the number one goalkeeper. He made some brilliant saves to lead Arsenal to a clean sheet and rushed out of his goal to make a fantastic sliding tackle to amend an error made by Gabriel in the first half and in my opinion was Arsenal’s stand out performer today.
Kieran Gibbs- 6- has earned himself two starts in a row after a spell on the side-lines. Defended well and didn’t allow Everton too much joy down the right wing. Couldn’t get forward as much as he usually does due to high Everton pressure in the second half.
Laurent Koscielny- 6- not the most commanding performance from Koscielny today, however he did defend well for large parts of the match and contributed well to an Arsenal clean sheet.
Gabriel Paulista- 7- a shaky start in the first half saw Gabriel made a couple of errors, on in particular almost costing a goal all be it for a brilliant piece of defending by Opsina. However, the Brazilian settled in to the game as it went on and put in some goal saving tackles to prevent Everton equalising.
Hector Bellerin- 7- it looks as if Bellerin is growing in confidence with every game played and he looked solid defensively today and looked to get forward every time Arsenal counter attacked in the second half, showing his blistering pace on numerous occasions in the game.
Francis Coquelin- 8- another great performance from Arsenal’s unsung hero this season. He won the majority of his midfield battles and headers to limit Everton’s chances and put his body on the line as two nasty knocks to the face saw the Frenchman forced off late in the game.
Santi Cazorla- 6- a quitter performance from Santi than usual, largely due to the amount of defending which had to be done by the Gunners. Didn’t create too many cutting edge chances, however still put in a decent shift.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain- 6.5- the Ox was given a place in the starting line-up following his goal against Monaco. He worked very hard both in the attacking and defensive thirds to provide cover for Bellerin. Posed a threat for Everton with his pace but couldn’t find the right final ball on a few occasions.
Alexis Sanchez- 6.5- not a classic Alexis performance by any means as his small goal drought continues. However, his infectious energy was again present as he put in yet another hard working shift for the Gunners.
Mesut Ozil- 6.5- although the German midfielder was quiet for parts of the game due to Everton’s pressure, he managed to add to his assists tally with two more today. The first coming from a corner as Giroud volleyed in and the second coming from an excellent drilled pass to Tomas Rosicky who doubled the lead.
Olivier Giroud- 7.5- a much better all-round performance from Giroud today as he continues his scoring form after a blip in the midweek clash against Monaco. Although his finishing was still slightly off key as a few chances went begging, he finished a difficult chance from a corner for the first goal and his general hold up play was almost faultless.
Tomas Rosicky- N/A- came on as a substitution in the 80th minute and made an impact as he doubled the lead and wrapped up the three points with his deflected goal.
Danny Welbeck- N/A- came on a substitute for Alexis but didn’t have enough time to impact the game.
Calum Chambers- N/A- used as a late substitute for the inured Francis Coquelin but didn’t have enough time to make an impact.
Arsenal respond to critics after a dismal display in the Champions League earning all three points and now face a busy schedule with QPR in midweek, Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter final and the second leg against Monaco still to come which will prove a tough test for Wenger’s men.