Arsenal has gone five points clear on top of the Barclays Premier League table after drawing 1-1 against Everton this Sunday at the Emirates stadium. German midfielder Mesut Ozil scored for the Gunners, but Gerard Delofeu equalized for Everton a few minutes later. Fans enjoyed a great game of football at the Emirates, and the draw is a fair result.
After Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United had all dropped points on Saturday, Arsene Wenger‘s men had a chance to go seven, eight and 15 points ahead of their title rivals respectively. For that, the Gunners had to beat a very solid Everton team. The Toffees are the second-best defense of the Premier League and have only been beaten once this season.
Arsenal started the game with the usual 4-2-3-1 with Mikel Arteta, Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla, with the last four players constantly interchanging positions throughout the game. Everton lined up in a similar formation with the promising Ross Barkley playing in support of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.
Bryan Oviedo, hero of the midweek victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United, was handed another start at left-back in the absence of the still-injured Leighton Baines.
In front of 60,000 fans, it’s the visitors that started the game better, forcing Arsenal to defend deeper than usual. With an exceptional Barkley in midfield, Roberto Martinez‘s men controlled the tempo of the game and made it very difficult for the gunners to get their foot on the ball. After 30 minutes of play, Everton had over 70 percent in ball possession, but the Toffees hardly created any chance.
It was even Arsenal who created the better chances right before the break, but Tim Howard came up with two very good saves to deny Olivier Giroud and keep the game scoreless at halftime.
Arsenal started the second half much better than the first, but still struggled to find a good passing rhythm. The gunners didn’t have their usual control in midfield, which led Wenger to make three substitutions at the same time, bringing in Tomas Rosicky, Mathieu Flamini and Theo Walcott for Wilshere, Ramsey and Cazorla.
12 minutes later, Ozil finished off a play started by Rosicky by smashing the ball into the net. Delofeu, brought on five minutes before, equalized for Everton with a stunning strike after dribbling past Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs. Despite an intense finish from both teams who could have won the game, the score remained at 1-1.
Everton controlled the first half and should really regret not scoring in its long period of domination. Despite running after ball for most of the game, Arsenal created the better chances and came very close to winning the game. However, the unners can be satisfied with this point that sends them five points clear on top of the table before playing Chelsea and Manchester City.