Everton at Goodison Park was the last of the tricky December fixtures and was seen as arguably the trickiest match of the lot. Arsenal were coming into the match with inconsistent performances while Everton were going through a very good period apart from an unlucky defeat to Manchester United.
Arsene surprised us with the team selection. Eboue was left out of the squad all together and Adebayor was on the bench. Bendtner came in for his first Premier League start alongside surprise inclusion Eduardo Da Silva. Diaby came in on the left in place of the rested Rosicky.
Luckily Arsene decided against the 4-5-1 with Eduardo on the left wing, probably because of the way we played against Portsmouth. We started the match 4-4-2 with Bendtner playing slightly deeper than Eduardo.
It was Everton who started the game on top, they were first to the ball and even passed the ball better than us. Their start was rewarded in the 18 minute when a corner was not cleared properly by Bendtner and Cahill got his studds to the ball before Yakubu's head. 1-0 to Everton and it was no less than they deserved.
Arsenal just could not get into the game, Everton were sharper and quicker the ball. Cesc and Hleb are still not sharp, they still are not dictating play as they can do. This will come in the next few weeks.
Eduardo Da Silva could not get into the game in the first half, he is having trouble adapting to the physical nature of the Premier League. Everytime he received the ball he was challenged immediately and had very little time to settle. In International football Eduardo has time to turn look up and play his pass, the Premier League is a totally different ball game, especially against Arsenal.
At half time Arsene Wenger must have told the players to be more direct because we were not getting the ball into the front two.
It took a just over a minute for that instruction to take effect. Clichy played a long pass forward and Jagielka failed to cut it out. The Brazilian Croatian took a touch, steadied himself and fired it past Tim Howard. 1-1.
Yakubu had a great chance to put Everton back infront but headered a Lescott cross wide of Almunia's goal.
On 58 the ice cool Eduardo showed what he is all about with a fantastic goal. It was Clichy yet again who played a long pass to Bendtner who flicked the ball into Eduardo, who took a touch on his chest and flicked it around Jagielka before cooly slotting it past Howard. There was a hint of handball by Eduardo but luckily it wasn't spotted by the referee.
His double against Blackburn in the Carling Cup and his double at Goodison show how lethal he really is. His goalscoring record before he joined the club was fantastic but you always wonder about how he will fair in the top league. Well, he is proving that his goal touch can work anywhere in world football. His approach play will get better with games, so we have a special player to look forward to in our side.
Everton piled on the pressure searching for an equaliser and were beginning to take more and more risks in order to get something out of the game.
Bendtner picked up his second yellow card of the game for a terrible late tackle on Andy Johnson which really should not have happened. Adebayor was waiting on the sidelines to replace the Dane and that as well as his average performance must have been enough to allow his frustration to boil over. He is 19 years old and we must not forget that. He will learn to be more disciplined as time goes on.
Adebayor replaced Eduardo instead of Bendtner so he could hold the ball up and defend from the front. Adebayor chased down a terrible mix up between Yobo and Howard and nicked the ball against Howards leg which allowed him to run towards an open goal to make it 3-1 game over.
Rosicky came on for Cesc who got a smack in his face five minutes earlier from Arteta who was also sent off.
Adebayor and Diaby showed good work in the dying minutes, Diaby rolled the ball back to Rosicky who fired the ball past Howard for 4-1. A crazy scoreline to a game where we didn't play anywhere near our best and were second best for long periods of the match. It just shows that when we mix up our football a little then we can grind out results like this.
Next up West Ham at home.