Arsenal 2 v Everton 1

The games are coming thick and fast for this Arsenal side who having faced nine fixtures in January, face almost the same number again in February, in what will be a crucial period for the Gunners. That sequence started at the Emirates on Tuesday night when Everton caused several concerns for the Gunners who having gone a goal behind in the first half to Louis Saha in controversial circumstances, nevertheless rallied with goals from Andrey Arsahvin and Laurent Koscielny for a determined win to keep the pressure on at the Premiership summit.


This was not the Arsenal that has produced some wonderful free-flowing football, but to their credit, Everton did not arrive in north London willing to merely lie down. They pressed and hurried the Gunners all night with Saha, Marouane Felaini and Mikel Arteta in particular showing the resolve of the Toffees. Last season, Arsenal were fortunate to claw back an injury time point in the snow at the Emirates, but here – and not having played to their potential – will bode well for Arsene Wenger’s side who proved that they have determination and character in abundance to carve out a victory of any fashion.


Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott had early chances, with the latter denied by the legs of Tim Howard, but it was Everton who opened the scoring that caused uproar and anger in north London. Seamas Coleman’s ball fell into the path of Saha who was nearly two yards off side, but referee Lee Mason and his assistant deemed that the intervention of Koscielny meant that Saha’s low shot past Wojciech Szczesny was to stand, and to the fury of the Arsenal players and Wenger.


The Gunners response was swift as Robin Van Persie and Johan Djourou linked up, but Koscielny narrowly failed to connect. Jack Wilshere had seen yellow for a tackle on Arteta, but his skill to create a chance for Van Persie looked to have levelled the scores, but the Holland striker lifted the ball over Howard and also the bar. With 20 minutes remaining and despite the time wasting antics of Howard, the Gunners drew level.


Fabregas’s pass was inadvertently directed into the path of Arshavin by Jack Rodwell enabling the Russian to finish with ease.The smile of the Arsenal 23 returned and lets hope his confidence too. And that is something that we have not been able to say of late. Suddenly it was a resurgent Arsenal.Nicklas Bendtner’s overhead kick was saved by Howard and Van Persie saw his free-kick also saved by the American. The tide was well and truly turning however and from Van Persie’s corner, Koscielny nodded in unmarked for his third goal of the season and cue a goal celebration with a stack of Arsenal players leaping on the goal scorer whose goal gave Arsenal a gutsy and well deserved three points.


Having seen his player respond emphatically, the Arsenal manager praised the character of his team but injury concerns to Alex Song and Walcott are a concern. ” I am very happy because this is maybe the aspect of the team which has been questioned the most, and recently that’s where we have been the most convincing. In smaller games at Leeds, against Ipswich, against Huddersfield. We played our tenth game today in one month and every time we have shown, even when football-wise our level dropped a little bit, we have always shown fantastic attitude,” said Wenger.