Focused Arsenal gun down Everton to keep up good away form
While Arsenal finds the going is not so easy at home, their away form remains imperious. Four wins on the road means Arsene Wenger’s side have the best away record in the league so far this season and that was again displayed in an impressive 2-1 victory at Goodison Park. Impressive because Arsenal was not at their very best on Sunday but they managed retained their focus for the whole ninety minutes plus injury time to secure the win.
Lucasz Fabianski kept up his good form with a handful of late saves at the end as Everton rallied but it’s the efficiency on their travels that will please Wenger. Two well taken goals in key periods of the game helped Arsenal get in a good position before they weathered an Everton storm of somewhat.
First half: Everton press, Arsenal drop back
Arsene Wenger attributes Arsenal’s better away form to a more cautious approach and that was displayed here as Everton started the game in a more forceful manner. The Toffees, playing a 4-4-1-1, looked to press high up the pitch and were particular effective in creating in shield to stop Arsenal passing from the back with Tim Cahill’s industry being backed up by Mikel Arteta and Johnny Heitinga behind him.
They pressed up the pitch and had most of the territorial play with Stephen Pienaar and Seamus Coleman particularly looking menacing on the flanks. And indeed, Everton should have made their dominance pay when Cahill got on to the end of Coleman’s cross but headed unchallenged wide of the post.
The pressing up the pitch worked for Everton because they stopped Alex Song and Wilshere playing between the lines to Cesc Fabregas. As a result, Arsenal’s captain was forced to drop deep but in doing so, vacated the space in front of Everton’s defence where Arsenal needed more of the ball of. Arsenal had similar troubles last season when Everton similarly closed down in the final third - in the 2-2 draw at the Emirates – although this time, less intensely.
Arsenal contrived to play into Everton’s game plan by dropping deep. Yes, they weren’t all that troubled by the Toffees tactics but it meant they invited the opposition on to them and weren’t able to play to their usual fluency. Wenger dissatisfaction with Arsenal’s ball retention was illustrated by the substitution of Wilshere for Denilson at half-time to help win “second balls.”
The two sides of Arsenal
by Guardian Chalkboards
The intriguing asymmetry of Arsenal’s system was displayed in this match. Here the chalkboard shows the differing build up styles of the two flanks. On the left, Andrey Arshavin likes to drift inside and get involved with the play behind the forwards and when not in possession presses high up with Marouanne Chamakh. This means Gael Cichy is forced to play more cautiously and his forward forays are more selected, usually late runs up the pitch.
Samir Nasri, on the other hand, starts off by hugging the touchline and moves inside by playing short, neat passes to the centre. This creates the space for the more orthodox threat of Bakary Sagna to burst forward and as displayed by the chalkboard, is afforded the opportunity to get in behind. Indeed, it was Sagna who broke into the box to smash home Arsenal’s opener. Nasri is also inclined to drop back more therefore the build up is less direct. It can be argued, that due to Pienaar’s preference to roam inside it gave more freedom for Arsenal to attack down the right but the South African did get through a lot of defensive work. Rather, the presence of a more attuned combination down the right saw most of Arsenal’s dangerous play come down that flank.
Second-half: Denilson gives more balance
Arsenal’s ball possession for twenty-five minutes of the second-half should have passed Everton out of the game but a switch to a 4-3-3 with Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu alongside Saha gave the home side more incentive to knock the ball direct. Fabianski made some crucial saves before Cahill’s consolation but it was a far more controlled Arsenal performance before that. Denilson, on for Wilshere, won the tackle on Arteta to initiate the move for the second goal and generally imposed himself greater on Everton’s pressing up the pitch. A bold move from Wenger who at times has been criticised by his substitutes – modern coaches realise it’s a card managers have up their sleeves which they can use to great effect – but this time it was crucial in helping Arsenal settle and make up ground on Chelsea.
Everton 1-2 Arsenal: Sagna 38, Fabregas 48, Cahill 39.
|Everton||Team Statistics (OPTA)||Arsenal|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||5|
Filed under: Match Analysis
Tagged: Match Analysis
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