Arsenal squandered their chance to go into second place in the Premier League with a 2-2 draw against Everton at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
The Gunners might consider themselves lucky, as both their goals, scored by Denilson and Rosický, were deflected past Tim Howard.
Over 60,000 people managed to get to the game, despite a long list of fixtures being postponed due to the appalling weather conditions throughout the country.
Arsenal clearly didn’t enjoy the icy conditions, and were perhaps wishing this game hadn’t gone ahead, as Everton took a surprising but well-deserved lead after 12 minutes, as Leon Osman headed home from a corner.
The Gunners were poor throughout the 90 minutes, and only enjoyed a brief flurry after Denilson’s fortunate goal in the 28th minute. Arsenal only managed four shots on goal in the entire match and weren’t exhibiting their usual dominance over the game.
Everton sprung on the counter in the 81st minute, and Steven Pienaar looked to have stolen the three points when he ran through unchallenged to chip the ball over the unconvincing Manuel Almunia.
Arsenal managed to find another equaliser deep into stoppage time, as the Little Mozart’s shot deflected off Lucas Neil and into the roof of the Everton net.
Arsenal fans will be juggling different emotions as they travel home. The team played poorly, and that is disappointing, but they also came from behind twice to get a point they probably didn’t deserve. It was good to see Rosický come off the bench to score; his return to fitness may well be important in the coming weeks.
Eduardo showed glimpses of his true quality as well; even if the moments were fleeting, it could well be vital that the Croatian begins to find his best form for Arsenal. If he can feature on the score sheet more regularly, it would be a welcome bonus for the Gunners.
More worryingly, Denilson was stretched off in the 84th minute, and it appears he is set for a lengthy layoff. With Alex Song away at the African Cup of Nations—which looks set to go ahead despite the events in Cabinda—Denilson was expected to step up and take his place in the side.
Fran Merida came off the bench to replace him, and looked woeful, contributing nothing of value to the game in the 10 minutes that he played.
Arsenal was lucky to come away with a point from this game, and Arsène Wenger may be regretting playing the fixture. It may well have been wiser to postpone the match and play Everton later, when the likes of Nicklas Bendtner had returned from injury.
The squad is looking thin; a few more injuries could cripple the side’s aspirations for the rest of the campaign. A couple of loan signings would be useful, but will Wenger go out into the market and make them?
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