MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 4 – 0 Everton

Arsenal (2) 4 Everton (0) 0

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Wednesday, 1st March 2023. Kick-off time: 7.45pm

(4-3-3) Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhães, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Martin Ødegaard (c), (Jorge Luiz Frello Filho) Jorginho, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli.

Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey, Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Jakob Kiwior, Rob Holding, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner.

Scorers: Bukayo Saka (40 mins), Gabriel Martinelli (45+2 mins), Martin Ødegaard (71 mins), Gabriel Martinelli (80 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 73%

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Tony Harrington; AVAR James Mainwaring

Attendance: 60,213

For tonight’s match, the medical team will continue to monitor Thomas Partey, who made his comeback from a muscle problem as a substitute in our victory at Leicester last Saturday, and as such, will be on the substitute’s bench this evening. Sadly, Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Elneny remain sidelined by knee injuries for tonight’s game against the Toffees. Of course, as we know only too well, every match is a “must win”, and this evening’s encounter is no exception, as we desperately need those available three points to place further air between ourselves and Manchester City.

The visitors had the best of the early exchanges, however, as early as a few seconds into the game, when Gabriel caught Amadou Onana whilst he was airborne. Although he got up and carried on, Everton were buoyed up by this innocuous exchange and Neal Maupay had two good chances which were excellently saved by Aaton Ramsdale. We recovered and won two corners in succession, which although went nowhere, the important thing is that we are bringing the game to the opposition. Gabriel Martinelli met a beautiful cross from Bukayo Saka that went wide, which although was offside, it was still a great chance to score. We tried different ways to get through the Everton defence, but our men were narrowly caught offside. Amadou Onana was accidentally caught by Granit Xhaka, and as such play was stopped for a little while by referee Michael Oliver due to the fact that it was a head injury, and after the Everton medical team attended him, and following the usual drop ball that quite naturally went our way, the game resumed after a little while. Abdoulaye Doucoure found Neal Maupay with a ball from the left wing but Gabriel slid in to stop the Everton striker shooting, thankfully, and a couple of minutes later, Jordan Pickford ran off his line to dive at the feet of Gabriel Martinelli, who was running onto a through ball. We look very frustrated tonight, as we are finding it difficult to break down a stubborn Everton defence, despite some sterling work by Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has covered an incredible area of the pitch tonight. However, with five minutes of the first half remaining, Oleksandr Zinchenko found Bukayo Saka in some space within the Everton penalty area and he absolutely thumped the ball over Jordan Pickford and into the roof of the net to open the scoring tonight. As normally happens when a goal is scored, the opposition launch themselves at us, and tonight is no exception, as Neal Maupay flashed a wild shot wide from about twenty yards as Everton looked for a quick equaliser. We composed ourselves and reimposed ourselves on the opposition, and during injury time Bukayo Saka took the ball off Idrissa Gueye, passed the ball through to Gabriel Martinelli, who ran on to it and drove it home to make it two nil to us at the break.

The second half started with Thomas Partey replacing Jorginho, and we started the game in the same spirit as we finished the first. Our captain was brutally chopped down by James Tarkowski, and shortly afterwards, Martin Ødegaard found Bukayo Saka, whose shot was blocked, and then the waiting Leandro Trossard, who did not make firm enough contact with his volley, which went narrowly wide of the post. Aaron Ramsdale parried a strong shot from Dwight McNeil and after a Gabriel Martinelli header that went narrowly wide, referee Michael Oliver booked Ben Godfrey for a foul on Leandro Trossard, who needed treatment from our medical staff. With nineteen minutes of the game remaining, we sealed the match when Leandro Trossard, ran onto a ball down the left wing and cut it back for Martin Ødegaard, who simply and elegantly swept the ball into the back of the Everton net with a first-time effort from twelve yards, via a slight deflection. Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira replaced Leandro Trossard and Granit Xhaka with about fifteen minutes of the game remaining. The third goal did wonders for our confidence, and game management suddenly became the order of the day which left Everton chasing the match forlornly. Eddie Nketiah almost made it four nil but his shot was saved by Jordan Pickford and Fabio Vieira blasted it over the bar with the rebound. However, with ten minutes of the game remaining, Oleksandr Zinchenko played the ball through to Eddie Nketiah, who pulled it back to Gabriel Martinelli, who scored quite easily from close range. This fourth goal utterly destroyed Everton, who look thoroughly dejected and demoralised, and simply cannot wait for the final whistle, which mercifully (for them) came without the humiliation of leaking a fifth goal.

This superb victory tonight keeps us five points ahead of Manchester City, going into the Bournemouth game on Saturday afternoon. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were outstanding tonight, as was Oleksandr Zinchenko, but overall it was an incredible team effort this evening. Although the first half was patchy at times, our second half performance was exemplary, and was a fine example of how great we can be when all cylinders are firing, which tonight was certainly the case. Keep going chaps.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: AFC Bournemouth at the Emirates on Saturday, 4th March at 3.00pm(Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon

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