With Manchester United and Chelsea losing to Newcastle United and Stoke City respectively, and Manchester City drawing against Southampton, Arsenal had a great opportunity to go 7 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
And with 9 minutes of yesterday’s encounter remaining, it looked like Arsenal had managed just that. But just 4 minutes after opening the scoring Gerard Depardieu popped up with the equaliser.
But with seconds remaning, Olivier Giroud almost scored a dramatic winner with a stunning volley which smashed against the bar.
If that went in, it would have taken the roof off The Emirates.
Some Arsenal fans are pleased that they managed to eventually break down a stubborn Everton side, and that Arsene Wenger “went for broke” and went with an almost game-changing triple substitution. It was Rosicky who chipped the ball into the far post, and Theo who headed across the danger area for Ozil to score.
But others are frustrated at having the win within our grasp, only for us to concede an equaliser soon after scoring. For me, Everton are one of the best footballing sides in the Premier League this season, and both sides showed a lot of attacking possession.
I more than anyone was frustrated at conceding after we should have “seen it out” but it wasn’t as if we dominated the game and gave away a sloppy equaliser. Everton came at us all game and there were other times in the match where they probably deserved to score.
As it is, objectively a point each was probably a fair result. Obviously we would have loved to hold on and take home all 3 points but as this Premier League season has shown, anything can happen. Some of the points Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all lost this season have been shocks but yesterday wasn’t one of them. Everton are a top side and don’t forget we have a much more demanding schedule than they do. I believe that in retrospect, people will see this as a good point.
Another criticism was our defending for the goal. I think that’s a bit harsh as Szczesny and the back four in 2013 have been pretty much impeccable. Jenkinson did well in Sagna’s absence and Gibbs has been excellent also. We all know about the Mertesacker-Kocielny partnership and the Big Pole has really matured into one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
So there’s a lot to be positive about. How many Arsenal fans would have believed this summer that on December 9th we would be 5 points clear at the top of the league? I think it’s safe to say, that the total number would have been zero.