And We’re Off… Everton 1 Arsenal 6 (Full Highlights)

By on August 16, 2009

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Ah, life is sweet this weekend. A few more performances like this and some of the Arsenal Action blog contributors and their ilk will be out of business. Arsenal turned in a sterling performance at Goodison yesterday evening leaving Everton, their supporters, and probably more than a few pundits, shellshocked.

Alexandre SongWenger went with the 4-3-3 we’ve been seeing for most of the preseason and it proved hugely effective in its first Premier League test. Bendtner wide right was able to use his height advantage over Leighton Baines on almost every opportunity. The midfield trio of Fabregas, Song, and Denilson was even more effective. Denilson was able to get forward along with Fabregas largely due to Song’s dominating presence in midfield. His performance really forces us to wonder if the “DM problem” is a problem any longer.

Following the ridiculous article about the “shrinking Arsenal,” both Gallas and Vermaelen dominated in the air both on offense and defense. And not against a bottom-half side, no less. This was a perennial 5th place Everton side, albeit missing Arteta and Jagielka. But to come out and have the two center-backs score headed goals while denying Everton any kind of aerial attack is the best response possible from the club to those ridiculous assertions. Even better, Vermaelen inspired more confidence at the back than Kolo Toure has in a long time. He was aggressive but not reckless and he won almost all his challenges both in the air and on the ground. He made smart decisions about when to come up high and break up play and, even though Everton tried to pump balls over the top, he was able to keep the gap between him and Gallas rather tight.

Thomas Vermaelen

Perhaps one of the most encouraging signs from the match was the team’s desire, hunger, and motivation. Even when they were 4 goals to the good with a half-hour to play, they were still playing as hard as ever. Gael Clichy was chasing and pressuring the ball in Everton’s own half at that point and Sagna chased loose balls as if it were nil-nil. In what promises to be a very tight title race throughout the big 4, goal differential can be key and Arsenal are now +5 after the first week. Blowing the clean sheet is a bit frustrating but it came from a fortuitous rebound after a good save by Almunia and when you’ve scored six at Everton on the opening day it’s hard to complain.

Considering all the players left at home or injured including Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott, Senderos, Wilshere, and Vela, depth appears to be less of an issue than many people think. Of course, if Senderos goes, he must be replaced with a defender of similar stature but, going forward at least, the team is set. At the moment, each position has at least one backup who can get the job done except for one of the center-backs. Silvestre cannot be that player. It is the last issue left for Arsene to address before the end of the month.

Although you can never completely judge a team on one match, the importance of this performance, and more importantly, the result, cannot be overstated. It also sends a clear message to the doubters, both in the stands and in the media, and it shows good resilience following the disappointing performance at Valencia last weekend. But, most importantly, it will have boosted the side’s confidence and belief going into the Champions League playoff at Parkhead on Tuesday.Victoria Concordia Crescit[digg=http://digg.com/soccer/And_We_re_Off_Everton_1_Arsenal_6_Full_Highlights]


  1. Biggy

    August 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    It was indeed a truely good feelling. I hopr the team stays motivated and up to the task. I still believe that we need a strong DM and another CB if only for the rigours of the winter to come.

  2. ArsenalStation

    August 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Even if one thinks, as I do, that Song is the long-term solution at DM, he is still going to miss a month due to the ACN. In which case Denilson may have to move into his spot and Nasri comes into Denilson’s slightly more advanced spot. And, like I said, I also believe that if Senderos goes, another CB is essential. Thanks for reading and commenting, Biggy.

  3. SweetLeft

    August 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Good summary of a great game and tremendous result for Arsenal. I agree that the mid-field trio had a superb game. I thought Denilson nudged Cesc off the spot for man of the match. He continues to grow and improve and I loved his expression of delight following the first goal. Alex Song too was immense and, I think, has surpassed Flamini now in most aspects of his game.

    I was disappointed too that we lost a goal. Bit careless, but given that I had told myself before the game that I’d be OK with a draw, I really can’t grumble.

    I have to say that I was pleased the mid-field were in scoring mood. The starting front three didn’t look like they would. Tactically, Robin Van Persie can’t lead the line like Adebayor did and it was disappointing to see so many high balls up to him come straight back. I suspect our strongest front three is RVP (right side), Eduardo and Arshavin. Eduardo and Denilson love to play together and there is a special additional something that flows from the Cesc, Dudu, Den and Andrei foursome once they get in the groove.

    Another 37 games like this one please, Arsenal.

  4. amao adeleye

    August 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    another 37 games like will bring grate joy in to all gunners fans mind and those that thinks it’s over will be definately be put ashame. GUNNER 4 LIFE!!!

  5. Casicky

    August 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Good article as usual really insightful,i think Song is stepping up his game well i wouldnt put him above Flamster yet but at this rate he will surpass him pretty soon.He is so linked with the two CB’s that when a ball comes up he is either jumpin for it or is nearby to clean up any loose balls.
    Denii played well stepped up a bit and long may he continue to do so i do dread Song going to ACN coz that means Denii drops back which i think will make us vulnerable to attacks both on the floor and aerial.But it would mean we will have more of a goal threat due to Nasri coming in.
    Verminator superb and he really does look the business and he is quite young i really think Wengerhas found us a gem here.
    Bring on Celtic lets jus hope the players keep their feet on the ground


  6. amao adeleye

    August 17, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Another 37 games like this will bring great joy into the mind of every arsenal fans. And all the people that has already written arsenal off will be ashame of themself. GUNNER 4 LIFE.

  7. BendyTheViking

    August 17, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Yeah it was a great game but we must keep perspective. We need at least one more defender if Phil goes and I would still like to see another midfielder come in but I will settle for just a replacement for Phil. A great result but we wont know anything about this team until the middle of September. After 8 or 9 more games we will know exactly what to expect from the squad and the season.

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