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    Arsenal 2 - 0 Everton

    Olivier Giroud scores the first of Arsenal's two goals against Everton.

    Arsenal brushed aside their disappointing performance in the Champions League with a solid performance in a 2-0 victory against a committed Everton side at the Emirates Stadium.

    Goals from Oliver Giroud and Tomas Rosicky secured all 3 points for The Gunners to see the London club reclaim 3rd position in the Premier League table, having being overtaken temporarily by Manchester United, who had played the previous day. Gunners Boss Arsene Wenger leapt to the defence of Giroud in his match programme notes following criticism of the Frenchmen for numerous missed chances during the disastrous midweek 2-1 defeat to Monaco. The striker repaid the faith of his manager, finding the net in the 39th minute with a right-footed volley from a Mesut Ozil corner kick.

    It was not all plain sailing for The Gunners however and it could be argued that for long periods of the game, Everton were indeed the better side. Romelu Lukaku, who has been in decent form of late for Roberto Martinez men, was denied by Arsenal Goalkeeper David Ospina, before Tomas Rosicky’s 89th minute strike sealed the points. Rosicky netted after Ozil played the ball across the outside of the box from the left hand side. The Czech took one touch before hitting a right-footed shot towards to the Everton goal. The ball took a wicked deflection off Phil Jagielka, leaving Tim Howard helpless and condemned The Toffees to their 11th league defeat of the season.
    Arsene Wenger was wary of the need for his side to bounce back from the sloppy midweek performance in the Champions League. “The whole team produced a focused performance and a mental victory after what happened to us on Wednesday night. It was quite a shock,” said Wenger.  “We were highly focused on our defensive performance today because we were a bit easy on that front on Wednesday night.”

    With Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere missing, Francis Coquelin took his place in
    midfield for the North London side, however the Frenchman soon found himself in the
    wars, firstly suffering a broken nose after a collision with fellow countryman Giroud, and
    then also receiving an accidental kick to the face by Everton forward Steven Naismith.

    New signing Gabriel Paulista gave a solid display on his Premier League debut, coming into the side for out-of-sorts Per Mertesacker. Paulista showed great strength to deny Romelu Lukaku a run on goal, ensuring Arsenal kept their 10th clean sheet of the season. While this result ensures Arsenal’s push for a top-four place in the Premier League gains momentum, it is momentum that is something Everton are sadly lacking at the moment.

    While it is true this was by no means a bad performance from Everton, defeat at the Emirates Stadium, a 17th loss in 21 away games against The Gunners, leaves Martinez’s men with the ever increasing possibility that they could be dragged into a relegation dog fight as the season draws to its conclusion. “We created very good chances, pushed Arsenal back, but unfortunately they got a defected goal. It has been a refection of our season really,” said Martinez after the final whistle. “We have not had any momentum this season and that is reflected in the points tally but all we can do is get ready for the next game, try to discover that momentum and finish the season as strongly as we can.”

    While Everton have been impressive in Europe, they have struggled to recreate their Premier League form of last season, which saw them narrowly miss out on qualifying for the Champions League at the expense of Arsenal, eventually finishing in 5th position. The Toffees have not reached anywhere near that level this year however, and a run of only 3 wins in 17 league matches sees them sit only 6 points above the drop zone. With a tough away trip coming up against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, there promises to be no quick fix for Everton, and their adventures in the Europa League could become an unwanted distraction should they fall down the table any further.

    Arsenal on the other hand sit in 3rd position in the Premier League table and despite their likely exit from the Champions League at the hands of Monaco this time around, it is looking good for The Gunners to secure a spot in Europe’s top competition next term. They face a trip to Loftus Road to face Q.P.R next time out and will be strong favourites against the struggling London outfit. 
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    Item Reviewed: Arsenal 2 - 0 Everton Rating: 5 Reviewed By: philip mcclennan
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