Everton (1) – (4) Arsenal
Eduardo (47′, 59′), Adebayor (78′), Rosicky (90’+4)
Goodison Park, Liverpool
Stunning in terms of the character, stunning in terms of the comeback and stunning in terms of Eduardo’s sublime finishing.
Seriously, you won’t see better taken goals than those two this season.
And under pressure, this fella is simply ice cool.
What you saw tonight was a Champions performance.
Everton to their credit, took the game to Arsenal and for the first 40 minutes deserved their lead. They didn’t give us any time or space on the ball and the main creative players Fabregas & Hleb couldn’t get themselves into the game. Bendtner and Eduardo looked isolated, and Diaby couldn’t insert his influence either.
But whatever Arsene Wenger said at half-time certainly worked!
Before the game, all the hype was about Nicklas Bendtner – especially after his match-winning goal against Spurs last week – but the man who made the difference (and a VITAL difference) was that man Eduardo Da Silva.
A long ball from Clichy early in the second half was met by Eduardo in the area, where time seemed to stand still. Eduardo has that amazing and unique ability to be so, so clinical whatever the situation. The coolly clipped the ball over Tim Howard to score the equaliser.
What a massive goal.
With Everton dangerous from set-pieces and crosses the game was still there for the taking for either side, but it was Arsenal who got the next goal. Another ball from Clichy from the left was flicked on by Bendtner to Eduardo, who smoothly knocked the ball passed Phil Jagielka and slotted the ball into the corner.
A goal that had class written all over it.
I am still stunned. This guy had two half chances and took them both with ease. Arsene Wenger has said Eduardo will be Arsenal’s secret weapon in the second half of the season and who can argue with that?
Two chances, two goals.
When games get tighter nearing the end of the season Eduardo could just be the man who could make all the difference.
Everton still piled on the pressure but Arsenal stayed strong, with the back four performing excellently. And Fabregas and Flamini in particular were outstanding in protecting the lead against the 5 man Everton midfield.
As Eduardo was having a huge impact on the game, his strike partner Bendtner was having problems. He unwittingly knocked the ball to Tim Cahill in the first half to concede the first goal and then on 74 minutes when he was about to be replaced by Adebayor the young Dane scraped his studs down Andy Johnson’s leg for a second yellow card and was sent off.
No arguments about the sending off, it was a nasty challenge.
And unfortunately Eduardo had to be replaced instead, which was a shame after he literally saved Arsenal from the abyss.
We know Arsene seems to have a knack with his substitutions of late, and only 5 minutes later Adebayor took advantage of an Everton mistake. A goal kick from Almunia was punted upfield, only to be missed by everyone. The ball bounced in between Yobo and Howard, and Adebayor simply nicked in and converted a simple third for Arsenal.
After that the game was over, and with tempers flaring Mikel Arteta compounded Everton’s misery by elbowing Cesc in the face and getting a straight red card. Things had threatened to boil over throughout the second half and Fabregas was wisely replaced by Rosicky with only a couple of minutes remaining. It signalled another inspired substitution by the boss, as the Czech smashed in a fourth deep into stoppage time.
It was hard to think rationally after the final whistle, and the ruthlessness of Arsenal was amazing. Champions win games they don’t play well in and Arsenal had smashed Everton (who have been excellent this season) 4-1 in their own back yard.
And even more importantly perhaps, Arsenal retained top spot virtually straight after losing it only a few days ago. Talk about bouncebackability!
You have a feeling now that after losing top spot and getting it back, Arsenal won’t be giving anymore second chances and will give absolutely everything to stay in that position.
I hope I’m not tempting fate here by saying this, but tonight’s game was a classic performance of a Championship winning side.
A fantastic way to end to the calender year, a fantastic game and that result really does sum up the season so far.