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Arsenal 1-1 Everton – close but no cigar

Per Mertesacker James MCCarthy Everton

So, before the game there was a huge possibility that Arsenal would go 7 points clear at the top of the table. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be yesterday. A spirited Everton display kept Arsenal out for the vast majority of the game, and the Toffees actually controlled the first half. The Gunners were on the back foot for most of the game. I was very impressed with the performance of Ross Barkley, he looks a class act. After the game the press praised the midfielder and suggested that Barkley would be a better prospect for England’s World Cup than Jack Wilshere, I would say they are two completely different players. If we have room, we should think about playing both together in Brazil – anyway it gives the national side plenty of options.

The game was an interesting one indeed. Gary Neville is one of the most annoying commentators in the history of the game. For most of the first half he slated the Gunners and their tactics and referred to the importance of Everton’s dominance in possession. To be honest, we looked a bit under pressure but our defence seemed to have the game under control for most of the half. Into the second half, and we looked to have bucked our ideas up a bit. Then came Wenger’s last throw of the dice. A triple substitution introducing Flamini, Walcott and Rosicky – I can’t remember ever seeing Arsene Wenger substitute three players at once? Anyway, it seemed to work as in the 80th minute Mesut Ozil spanked home from a Walcott cross. The Gunners arguably weren’t the best team in this game and Everton were behind. Almost immediately, Deulofeu scored a leveller, well deserved to be fair. He looks one heck of a player and Barcelona will be lucky to have him, let’s see how long it is until he makes barca’s first team.┬áSpeaking of performances, Aaron Ramsey was absolutely below average yesterday – he needs a rest. Let’s hope he gets a chance soon before we knacker him out.

Overall, it wasn’t the best of performances. I think this Everton side are the real deal and could challenge for honours this year. It’s a realistic achievement that they can one day win the FA Cup or even challenge for Champions League qualification. Roberto Martinez is an excellent manager – possible Wenger replacement in a few years time? possibly.

Now we have a visit to Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday in what is a very crucial game. We just need to not lose by 3 goals to ensure that we will win the game. After that, it’s a trip to Man City on Saturday… very nerve racking indeed. Anyway, after seeing Everton win at Old Trafford last week I think the most of us would’ve taken a point yesterday. On to Wednesday it is, then.