Arsenal scored three second-half goals Saturday to rally for a 3-1 win over Everton and stay in contact with the Premier League leaders.
The Gunners played without first-choice defenders Bacary Sagna (knee) and William Gallas (hamstring), and backup striker Nicklas Bendtner (ankle). Defender Johan Djourou also was not in the squad after he sustained a concussion while playing for Switzerland.
Arsenal Starting XI
Eboue – Toure – Silvestre – Clichy
Denilson – Fabregas – Song – Nasri
Adebayor – van Persie
With skipper William Gallas and right back Bacary Sagna out with injuries, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was forced to reorganise his defence. The reshuffling saw new signing Mikel Silvestre make his debut for the Gunners after a summer move from Manchester United.
However, Arsenal’s defence still remains to be fragile as they conceded the goal in the 9th minute. Everton winger Steven Pienaar crossed the ball to Leon Osman who did the necessary damage.
Goal: Leon Osman (9) – Arsenal 0-1 Everton
From then on the home side looked to play more long balls to striker Emmanuel Adebayor unlike their usual passing game policy.
In the 15th minute Arsenal nearly got their equaliser through Robin van Persie when he beautifully chest controlled Francesc Fabregas’ long floater before firing a grounder. However, the Dutch international’s shot was saved by Toffees keeper Tim Howard.
Fifteen minutes later, Van Persie again had a go at the rival goal from a free kick just above the 18-yard box. But he was again thwarted by Howard.
David Moyes’ side could have gone 2-0 up in the 37th minute when Leighton Baines crossed the ball to see Joleon Lescott’s header beating Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia but not defender Gael Clichy who kept the ball well in play.
In the second half, it was a complete turnaround as the North London side dominated every bit of the proceedings.
Samir Nasri who was impressive although found the equaliser for Arsenal in the 48th minute when he drilled home the ball from 20-yards.
Goal: Samir Nasri (48) – Arsenal 1-1 Everton
The equaliser charged up Arsene Wenger’s men as they raised the tempo by several notches.
At the stroke of 70 minutes, Van Persie gave Arsenal a 2-1 lead. Fabregas’ attempt from 12-yards was blocked by Howard but Van Persie who was lurking nearby headed home the rebound.
Goal: Robin van Persie (70) – Arsenal 2-1 Everton
In the 83rd minute, Nasri had to be replaced by Abou Diaby after picking up a thigh problem.
Theo Walcott who was brought in for injured Kolo Toure at the start of the second half, made his presence felt with the final goal in the 90th minute. The winger combined well with Diaby to finish with a grounded shot from 12-yards.
Goal: Theo Walcott (90) – Arsenal 3-1 Everton
A hard fought victory, and certainly deserved. The Gunners returned to winning ways after dropping points against Hull and Sunderland and are now four points behind leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.
Almunia: 7 – Little to do, did it well.
Clichy: 7,5 – Full of running and contrary to other matches, I saw him clear the ball just like a defender should do!
Silvestre: 6 – It was his first match, was not easy, but got away with it.
Toure: 6 – Only a half for him, hope he’s ok.
Song: 6 – A solid performance, but this lad can so much improve.
Eboue: 6,5 – He yet again shows that if he wants to perform, he can deliver.
Fabregas: 7 – A maestro in midfield. Such a shame his pin-point passes are reaching van Persie who is not taking full advantage.
Denilson: 6 – More work to do for the Brazilian.
Nasri: 8,5 – PURE MAGIC.
Adebayor: 6,5 – He didn’t score, but I don’t expect him to. His job, again, is to shield the ball and serve the 1st striker and he’s doing it to perfection.
Van Persie: 5,5 – The goal can’t cancel the awful performance and missed chances.
Diaby: 6,5 – He’s back … with a bang. Should be a bit less selfish but glad to have him back.
Walcott: 7,5 – The man who changed the man. I repeat, he’s NOT a regular, he’s a bench-boy, ready to come on to turn the match around, just like he did today.
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