Arsenal's scoreless draw with Everton leaves a lot of mysteries unsolved.
Arsene Wenger's side—which has never finished outside the Premier League top four under the Frenchman's guidance—still has a real chance of toppling Tottenham for a coveted Champions League spot. Everton remain outsiders for a place in European football's top competition, but have done their chances little harm with the acquisition of a point at the Emirates.
David Moyes' team arrived with a specific gameplan. The Toffees deployed Marouane Fellaini in central midfield and intended to halt Arsenal's passing game with uncompromising tackles and physicality. Despite the home side's best efforts, the Gunners failed to add a definitive touch to a string of second-half chances.
Which players put in a key shift? Let's take a look.
Arsenal Player Ratings:
Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10
Kieran Gibbs: 7/10
Laurent Koscielny: 7/10
Per Mertesacker: 7/10
Bacary Sagna: 7/10
Mikel Arteta: 6/10
Aaron Ramsey: 8/10
Santi Cazorla: 7/10
Jack Wilshere: 6/10
Theo Walcott: 6/10
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6/10, Podolski: 6/10, Monreal: N/A.
Key Player: Aaron Ramsey
In a team full of explosive players, Aaron Ramsey's importance can often go under the radar. The Welshman put in a fantastic performance against a combative Everton side and showed exactly why Arsene Wenger continues to utilise him in big matches.
Jack Wilshere's lack of fitness was noticeable from the outset, so Ramsey's role incorporated greater responsibility in both defensive and attacking duties. Ramsey made five successful tackles, a statistic only matched by Kieran Gibbs for the Gunners. More impressively, the 21-year-old put his body on the line around Arsenal's area, completing two vital blocks within the six-yard box.
It's interesting to note Ramsey also equalled Olivier Giroud with three attempts at Tim Howard's goal. Although only one tested the keeper, this represents half of Arsenal's shots on target for the match.
Worst Player: Olivier Giroud
It will take the most optimistic Arsenal fan to suggest Olivier Giroud had a decent game against Everton. The French forward has performed admirably since joining from Montpellier, but he missed three massive opportunities to eliminate Everton's threat in the race for a Champions League spot.
The first wasn't far away from being an open goal. Ramsey played a perfect cross towards the onrushing striker's feet, only for Giroud to lunge towards the ball and knock the chance wide of goal. All Giroud had to do was hit the target from six yards.
Into the second half, Giroud excellently spun his marker only to blaze over from inside the box. Again, his failure to test Howard let Everton off the hook. While the lone striker did miss another certain goal from close range, the brilliance of Seamus Coleman's last-ditched tackle takes the blame away from a player who showed decent energy with little result.
Giroud hit the target from one of his three shots, gave the ball away five times and completed just 67 percent of his passes. Arsenal need an alternative goalscorer, that's for sure.
Everton Player Ratings:
Tim Howard: 7/10
Leighton Baines: 6/10
Sylvain Distin: 7/10
Phil Jagielka: 8/10
Seamus Coleman: 9/10
Steven Pienaar: 5/10
Ross Barkley: 7/10
Marouane Felliani: 7/10
Darron Gibson: 6/10
Kevin Mirallas: 7/10
Victor Anichebe: 5/10
Subs: Jelavic: 6/10, Naismith: N/A, Oviedo: N/A
Key Player: Seamus Coleman
Although Phil Jagielka played a massive part in preserving Everton's clean sheet, Seamus Coleman posted yet another excellent performance in the right-back position. A few weeks back I likened the versatile player to a young Gary Neville; a comparison that seems to become more relevant with each match.
Coleman once again showed tremendous energy across the pitch. His willingness to support Everton's attack mirrors Leighton Baines on the opposite side and helped free up a smidgen of space for Victor Anichebe. The 24-year-old's positioning was faultless throughout the match and helped thwarted an Arsenal side that threw increasing numbers forward as the game progressed.
The makeshift defender produced four tackles and five interceptions. His most important moment came when diving in to stop Giroud from placing the ball into an empty net. Coleman nicked the ball from certain danger, shadowed Arsenal's pacey breaks down his wing and underlined an Everton team that was forced to work for the point.
Worst Player: Victor Anichebe
Unlike Giroud, Victor Anichebe didn't have a number of goalscoring chances served up to him. Even so, the hulking forward snatched at the ball when in possession, failed to open up space with intelligent runs and looked off the pace in a relentlessly frantic match.
Alongside Steven Pienaar, he was by far the worst performer on the Everton team. Despite racking up four shots, he failed to hit test Szczesny at all. Anichebe made a number of bad decisions in the opposition's half, including a wild attempt at goal when he could have freed Coleman on the right. The powerful forward gave the ball away six times and committed a couple of fouls that stopped Everton's attacking flow.
How did you rate Arsenal and Everton's players in this important Premier League match? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to follow me on Twitter:
All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.