- Arshavin 70,
- Koscielny 76
- Saha 24
Arsenal secured their 15th win of the season and epitomized their immense depth and hunger to succeed in winning the elusive English Premier League with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Everton. The Gunners scored two late second-half goals to edge out a doughty Everton outfit, enhancing their title credentials.
It was not all smooth nor pretty for Arsene Wenger's men. The weekend FA Cup victory over Huddersfield saw star play maker Samir Nasri sustain a hamstring injury, sidelining the Frenchman for at least a month. Nasri's absence was always going to leave a large hole in the Arsenal attack, and it showed early on.
The North London giants began in torrid fashion. David Moyes men dominated possession early on as the Gunners looked tentative and slow, particularly in defence.
Jack Wilshere personified Arsenal's character by reacting poorly to a Mikel Arteta elbow and swiftly receving a booking. Arsenal appeared tentative to contain the physical prowess the Everton midfield was boasting. The Toffees were beginning to look lively with Louis Saha threatening early but Arsenal began to settle as passes began to materalize and the attack began to flow.
However Everton broke the deadlock with French sharp shooter Louis Saha providing the breakthrough in the 24th minute, but not without controversy. Pacey midfielder Seamus Coleman played a delicate chip over the Arsenal defence to Saha, who even with the naked eye, was blatantly off side.
However, linesman Stephen Child kept his flag down, and the onrushing Saha calmly slotted past Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczensy. Coleman's pass had touched Koscienly on the way through which prompted Child to not raise his flag, despite Saha being in a offside position when Coleman's chip was delivered.
The goal ensured an uproar with the Arsenal players furious but referee Lee Mason allowed the goal to stand after discussing with his nervy linesman. The goal had not been undeserved though, as the Gunners had started slowly and Everton's dominance paid off.
The goal sparked Arsenal to begin a more routine approach as chances began to unveil. Robin van Persie, Tomas Rosicky and captain Cesc Fabregas all watsed opportunities, and as the half time break arrived, the Gunners were left fuming at a poor decision.
Things then worsened for Wenger as defensive midfielder Alexandre Song was forced off the field with a thigh injury ensuring Abou Diaby entered the fray. Diaby's presence enabled a stronger attack and after enjoying the weight of possession and chances, Arsenal finally equalized in the 70th minute.
Wenger had exercised all of his substitution and it had become do-or-die for the Gunners. Fortunately substitute Andre Arshavin beautifully controlled a Fabregas chip before impressively striking past a frantic Tim Howard.
Relief surged through the Emirates but Wenger's men were determined to up hold their title charge and six minutes later defender Laurent Koscienly scored the winner with a strong header from a Van Persie corner.
The goal gave Arsenal a truly historic victory and one that the could be pivotal if Arsenal are to win the EPL. Wenger's men showed determination, grit and poise to take a deserved victory.
Wojciech Szczensy:7: The Polish shot stopper was calm and collected in between the goal, continuing his impressive run as the Arsenal number one. Szczensy made a brave, vital stop late in first half and could do little about the goal.
Bacary Sagna:7: The Frenchman was nervy in defence, particularly in the first half but settled and enjoyed a solid display.
Johan Djourou:6.5: The Swiss centre half did struggle early on to compete with the evasive Louis Saha but made a number of strong clearances particularly off set pieces.
Laurent Koscienly:8: An unlikely saviour for the Gunners. The Frenchman was strong and composed at the back, making some impressive tackles and clearances before magnificently scoring the winner.
Gael Clichy:8: The French left back produced an impressive defensive performance. Kept the ever present Seamus Coleman at bay alongside showing good strength and speed when defending the left. Contributed in attack well too.
Alexandre Song:N/A: The Cameroon midfielder was guilty of taking a tentative approach to the imposing Marouane Fellaini before being forced off the field due to injury.
Cesc Fabregas:6.5: The captain was wasteful infront of goal but worked tirelessly to ensure the Arsenal victory materialized and the Spaniard's passing was sublime at times. Rumoured to have made some explicity comments to the linesman which may see a suspension.
Jack Wilshere:6: The English international showed inexperience by making a silly challenge on Mikel Arteta early in the match but settled and provided some inch perfect passes before being substituted late on.
Tomas Rosicky:5.5: The Czech struggled to make his presence felt with a quiet display and was rightly substituted.
Theo Walcott:6.5: The Everton defence targeted Walcott with a number of sly challenges but the Englishman was always a threat with the ball, showing a cool head.
Robin van Persie:7: The Dutch maestro was subject to some physical defending but showed great physicality and worked tirelessly as the lone striker. The Dutchman was guilty of wasting chances but theres no denying his efforts.
Abou Diaby:6.5: The lanky Frenchman instilled a livelier Arsenal attack with some damaging runs.
Andrei Arshavin:7.5: The Russian dynamo was superb in his short cameo. Took the opening goal superbly and was always a threat down the left.
Nicklas Bendtner:6: The Danish sharp shooter was a commanding presence upfront.
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