Everton 1-1 Arsenal: Assurance and Efficiency Still Missing from Arsenal's Game

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Leon Osman (L) and Tony Hibbert of Everton compete with Theo Walcott of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and  Arsenal at Goodison Park on November 28, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsenal claimed another valuable point, but their 1-1 draw at Everton showed they are still missing assurance and efficiency. The absence of those two key elements led to another stunted performance that perhaps only merited a point.

Arsenal's biggest problem at Goodison Park was their inability to maintain possession consistently. Numerous Gunners players were guilty of surrendering the ball thanks to poorly executed passes.

That's because few members of the current Arsenal squad appear assured on the ball. They can move it neatly only in fits and starts.

They are losing the possession battle more often this season, with Everton controlling 53 percent of the play.

Sadly, that means Arsene Wenger's side are routinely creating problems for themselves and promising attacks for the opposition.

Despite an assist for Theo Walcott's opening goal after 52 seconds, Aaron Ramsey was one of the main culprits. The Welsh midfielder lacks confidence and a sense of urgency once he receives the ball.

Rather than calm and decisive in possession, Ramsey is ponderous, and opponents know it. Everton frequently pressed him as soon as he controlled the ball, and it led to many mistakes.

Ramsey does not bear that particular guilt alone, though. Mikel Arteta continues to look a shadow of the player who orchestrated Arsenal's passing last season.

Santi Cazorla frankly didn't involve himself enough, and every member of the back four looked accident-prone.

It's a shame, because Arsenal had the potential to control this game. They were comfortably moving the ball after surviving an extended period of Everton pressure following their early goal.

That was, until Ramsey gave the ball away in midfield. His error was compounded by Bacary Sagna, who contrived to do the same on the edge of his own box.

Toffees target man Maroune Fellaini gratefully accepted Sagna's gift and finished smartly.

That a player as experienced and usually reliable as Sagna has lost his composure shows the extent of Arsenal's problems. The team is playing jaded, and without the fluidity or daring that often marks Wenger's preferred brand of football.

The growing atmosphere of discontent among the fans isn't helping. However, it's down to Wenger and his players to find their swagger.

They can take comfort from some important positives that emerged from this result.

Jack Wilshere delivered a superb performance. There was certainly nothing wrong with his technique, passing and movement.

His partnership with Arteta and Cazorla is showing signs of the rapport every area of the team currently needs.

Wenger will also be pleased with his player's resilience. Arsenal applied plenty of graft and held several determined Everton attacks at bay.

The commitment is certainly there, but at the moment, the quality is not. That disparity is enough to leave Arsenal five points short of the top four.


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