Arsenal traveled to Goodison Park to play Everton on Sunday. This has been a tough fixture for Arsenal with no wins there since 2017. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. The Gunners earned a hard-fought 1-0 win to get them to 13 out of 15 points so far this season. This is a crucial win. Let’s dive deeper into the details.
Arsenal 23-24 Match 5: Arsenal’s Defense Excelled Despite the Change in Goal
Raya starting in goal was a bit surprising, but he played well. He didn’t have the busiest afternoon, only needing to make one save. However, his good distribution and his ability to claim crosses helped Arsenal win the match.
The Gunners’ defense deserves plenty of credit for ensuring that Raya’s Arsenal debut wasn’t too stressful. William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White, and Oleksandr Zinchenko did a great job at the back. They only allowed Everton to get a single shot on target.
This level of defensive stability is impressive, even though Everton has never been the most free-scoring team in the Premier League.
The Gunners Won the Match in Midfield
The midfield battle is always critical to determining which side wins a certain match. In this case, that proved true once again. Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, and Fabio Vieira outplayed Everton’s midfield trio of Amadou Onana, Idrissa Gueye, and Abdoulaye Doucoure. This is the main factor that led to Arsenal dominating possession 74% to 26% in this match.
Because of this significant edge in possession, Arsenal could dictate the tempo of the game nearly the entire time. This possession dominance is also crucial because it meant Everton didn’t have many opportunities to create chances. Odegaard created several chances and played pretty well.
Vieira stood up to the physical test of Everton well and won four out of six duels. Declan Rice is the midfielder who stood out the most in this match, though. Rice had 99 touches, won four duels, won possession three times, made 32 passes into the final third, and completed 100% of his dribbles.
Rice’s quality shines through on a near-constant basis. Declan Rice earns our Man of the Match award for his brilliant performance against Everton.
Arsenal’s Attack Underwhelmed Against Everton
Leandro Trossard’s goal meant that Arsenal’s attack did just enough against Everton. Trossard deserves a great deal of credit for his excellent performance. He played well after replacing an injured Gabriel Martinelli in the first half.
However, Eddie Nketiah didn’t do too much against Everton. He failed to really threaten Everton’s goal. It is likely that Gabriel Jesus will reclaim the starting striker spot when he is fully fit.
Bukayo Saka had a pretty good game. Saka wasn’t at his devastating best, but he did provide the assist for Trossard’s match-winning goal. Saka will surely look to do better in his Champions League debut against PSV.
Arsenal 23-24 Match 5: 8/10 Manager Rating for Arteta
Mikel Arteta certainly did a much better job preparing Arsenal for the challenge of playing Everton at Goodison Park this time than he did last season. Arteta set up the team well, ensured that they were ready for Everton’s physicality, and put a good defensive structure in place to limit the danger from Everton. Additionally, Arteta made an excellent choice by substituting Leandro Trossard for an injured Gabriel Martinelli in the first half.
That choice eventually led to Arsenal’s victory. Arteta receives an 8/10 manager rating for this win against Everton.
Arsenal Host PSV Next in Their Champions League Return
Arsenal’s next match is an exciting one as they host PSV at the Emirates in their Champions League return. The Gunners did lose 2-0 to PSV in the Europa League last season, but this is a stronger Arsenal team with a mostly fit squad. It makes sense to bet on Arsenal winning this match against PSV.
Check back next week for more Arsenal content.