With the midweek game against Besiktas in mind and some of the Arsenal squad still to get up to speed, Arsene Wenger opted for a bit of an experimental selection for the away game with Everton. And with last season’s naive performance at Goodison still fresh in the memory, the Gunners were determined to be more solid and hard to beat.
It was working fairly well until Everton stunned us with the opening goal against the ruin of play. A bit of a defensive switch off and a great ball in from Gareth Berry left Coleman the freedom of the penalty area to head past Szczesny.
Then the old adage that goals change games came into play, with us looking more nervous and Everton with their tails up. We still played some good stuff and could have scored with a bit more luck and a bit more sharpness around the box from Ramsey and the Ox. Then our bad luck really hit home, with the Toffees getting away with a Lukaku foul and a Naismith offside to hit us with a real body shot on the stroke of halftime.
Wenger brought Giroud on for Alexis for the second half, hopefuly to save the Chilean for Wednesday rather than a knock. And the Frenchman nearly got us back into it straight away, but his well struck volley flew over. We were not quite firing in attack, but Everton were very good defensively, throughout their team. When we did get it right, they were always there to snuff out the danger.
Arsenal finally broke through with Cazorla feeding Ramsey from the left but there was not long left and Everton were doing their best to kill the game, but the big man showed his strength and Monreal found him with a pinpoint cross to get us a point.
This was miles from the drubbing we got there last season, but we nearly got nothing from the game and will need to bounce back well to make the Champions League group stage. And I think Giroud will be starting that game!