Sunday, October 19, 2008

Arsenal defeats Everton 3-1 (Everton perspective)

Possibly it is the "silver lining" in a dark cloud of a season I am venturing for but within Everton's 3-1 loss to Arsenal, there is a reason for optimism.

Heading into the match my major concern was showing a "fighting spirit" and to challenge the Gunners in their Emirates fortress. This is precisely what they did for the first forty-five minutes and all Toffee fans can take solace in that. Of course, matches are ninety minutes long and after the break Arsenal ran roughshod over the boys in blue.

First and foremost, I applaud David Moyes just of using Jack Rodwell in a key defensive holding position. With Phil Neville's injury concern, the manager decided instead to give a vote of confidence to the seventeen year-old and he showed himself quite well, particularly before the break. This will have a significant impact in-time and it reaffirms Everton's commitment towards youth development of the region and something I wish other Premier League clubs respected more.

Everton took the lead with a Leon Osman scoring nine minutes into the match to the shock of the home crowd. Joleon Lescott nearly doubled the lead seven minutes before the break but his header was cleared off the line by Gaël Clichy and the match went to the break 1-0 Everton. Overall play, spirit and that lovely phrase, "work-rate", was exceedingly high at that stage and things were looking very bright and sunny. However after the break, Arsenal re-discovered their winning spirit and proceeded to maul Everton to a pulp. With Theo Walcott commissioned into the lineup, Arsenal headed straight at Everon 'keeper Tim Howard, Samir Nasri tied the match only three minutes into the half. The wave of attacks continued and after a few near misses Robin Van Persie gave Arsenal the lead to stay with twenty minutes remaining. Truthfully the goal seemed overdue as Everton was far back on their heels since the break. Arsenal completed with their victory with Three Lions hero Theo Walcott netting a beautiful goal as time expired.

Summarily while the Toffees feel to defeat their is great reason to be optimistic from the performance and something to build upon. Everton heads to Old Trafford next weekend to face Man Utd.