We are toppa the league, say we are toppa the league.
It might only be temporary but it feels great this morning.
The pattern of the game was no real surprise following the very tiring victory against Bayern Munich in midweek (I still enjoy saying that) we were very unlikely to look our sharpest against the Toffees and so that proved. We were not as intense as we usually are but did enough to force the ball from Everton and dominate the possession. Oliver Giroud who replaced Theo Walcott as the central striker took his chance with a *cliche alert* commanding centre forward display. The contrast between Theo Walcott and Oliver Giroud is quite striking, when both players are playing well it is genuinely difficult to call. Giroud had 52 touches against Everton, pulling down long balls and laying them off to players around him before spinning off into space. Theo on the other hand had 22 touches against Olympiakos which is about the closest level of opposition I could find at home this season. The difference is that I think the likes of Alexis benefit more from Walcott's movement and space creating, while Giroud gets far more involved in our play.
But Giroud is hot right now in front of goal and he opened the scoring in 38 minutes. Özil cut in from the right onto his left and Giroud pointed to where he wanted the ball, Mesut being Mesut put the ball exactly where he wanted it and Giroud's flicked header flew past the hapless Howard.
Two minutes later and we were two ahead, a nice habit we are getting into recently. We pressed Everton into a mistake and Alexis sprinted up the left, checked back inside (as he does) and he was fouled. Santi Cazorla's free kick was stunning I thought. Whipped in at the right height at pace which made it almost impossible for Tim Howard to deal with, Giroud and Koscielny queued up ahead of the American and it was the latter that headed in from close range.
I thought we dealt with Everton pretty well defensively. Lukaku found it difficult against both Koscielny and Gabriel, in fact I can barely remember his name being mentioned during the first half.
Everton had been strong on the break this season and it was a counter attack that presented the visitors with the equaliser. Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot was blocked just outside the Everton box. Deulofeu burst forward and found Barkley in space, it looked as if Gabriel and Ox had him covered until he wriggled past Ox and hit a left footed shot which deflected off the boot of the Brazilian and wrong footed Cech in the Arsenal goal. It was from a similar range to where Barkley scored against us in pre season, also with his weaker left foot. Funnily enough, the Ox was involved in that one also. There were a few fingers pointing his way for the Everton goal yesterday but I would say that is a little harsh, he was in a good position to shoot, it wasn't as if it was a careless pass or anything like that.
In the last half hour I thought we visibly tired and Everton started to grow in threat. Lukaku hit the bar with a header. Moments earlier Giroud hit the Everton bar with a strike of his own after a nice reverse pass from Mesut Özil who I thought was the best player on the pitch. Nicking a living? do me a favour. The favour would be to fly to the moon and just stay there.
Özil is one of the best performers in the league this season and call me a petty man if you will, I like the fact he is head and shoulders above Cesc Fabregas right now, so much so that folk are not willing to crawl up his backside every five minutes anymore. That pleases me a lot.
There was still time for a very important Petr Cech save from Deulofeu late in the game, a very good save it was too. Oh how about that tackle and fist pump from Gabriel? Every time this guy plays he is making it more and more difficult to drop him. When he does get that long run in the team, I am pretty sure nobody will be able to displace him.
Now will be time to rest some heavy legs and use the squad players for our trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
Haven't had quite enough of Arsenal goodness? Good. We will have a full house on the podcast including @Stilberto, that should be out on Monday so check back for that.
Right, time to pretend to do life whilst very much thinking about Arsenal.
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