Arsenal came through a tough matchup against a resurgent Everton to leapfrog their opponents in the table on Sunday afternoon.
Everton were on a great run under Carlo Ancelotti, only losing to Manchester City and Liverpool in all competitions since his appointment. As a result, they were the perfect test for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side, unbeaten in 2020.
The match started disastrously though. A couple of defensive errors and an excellent finish from Dominic Calvert-Lewin quickly made it 1-0 to Everton within a minute. Not long after that, Arsenal lost Sead Kolasinac to injury.
Bukayo Saka came on as a replacement. He ended up pulling the team back into the game, with an assist for Eddie Nketiah to make it 1-1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the team the lead, but Richarlison made it 2-2 in another sloppy moment just before half-time.
Aubameyang scored as early in the second half as Everton did in the first, to make it 3-2. After that, it’s fair to admit Arsenal clung on for the result.
Now let’s have a look at our Arsenal player ratings vs Everton for the match.
- Bernd Leno 7 – Based on the second-half performance, this would easily be an 8 or 9. Leno made some fantastic saves, including one from point-blank range against Calvert-Lewin. He also charged out to win the ball ahead of Richarlison at one stage. Unfortunately, he wasn’t commanding enough on Richarlison’s goal just before half-time, so it wasn’t all good.
- Hector Bellerin 5 – When Arsenal were in possession, Bellerin did a decent job. He wasn’t bad on the ball and made some really important runs opening up space. Everton massively exploited the gaps behind him though, leaving Richarlison one-on-one with Mustafi repeatedly.
- Shkodran Mustafi 7 – Given he was defending against Everton’s best player on his own, Mustafi did a great job. He got a bit of luck at times, as he did let a few crosses past him. He also lost a couple of key aerial duels, so it was far from perfect. Arsenal’s best defender once again though, overall.
- David Luiz 6 – Partly at fault for the opening goal as the ball bounced off him to the goalscorer. Made up for it by assisting Arsenal’s second goal superbly. Still, it wasn’t his best day, particularly in the air, as he won just 33% of his aerials.
- Sead Kolasinac 3 – A terrible day for Kolasinac. Completely lost his way running back to play everyone onside for the first Everton goal. Then appeared to suffer a serious injury 17 minutes later and came off.
- Dani Ceballos 8 – Contributed really well defensively, making two tackles and a match-high four interceptions. Misplaced a couple of passes early on, but grew into the game and really helped Arsenal play out from the back after that.
- Granit Xhaka 7.5 – Another good performance from the midfielder under Arteta. Xhaka hasn’t missed a minute in 2020, but he was still working as hard as ever and played a part in the build-up for a couple of the goals. One or two risky misplaced passes did raise the heart-rate a little though.
- Mesut Özil 8 – A few eye-catching runs and touches, but more importantly, Özil gave Arsenal control and direction in midfield. He worked hard and eventually wore himself out, clearly tiring just before his substitution. As so often recently, played key roles in a lot of the team’s best moves without directly supplying the goal or assist.
- Nicolas Pepe 7.5 – Another crucial goal contribution as he set up Aubameyang’s match-winner. It wasn’t Pepe’s liveliest game, but he kept the attack ticking and did a great job creatively. He was responsible for four of Arsenal’s nine chances created.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8.5 – Won the man of the match award and deservedly so. Took both of his goals confidently, but also tracked back to make a few important tackles. His hard work is proving just as important as his finishing right now.
- Eddie Nketiah 8 – He made it look easy, but that finish for the first goal was anything but. The timing of the run, the leap and the controlled finish on the volley were excellent. Extremely unlucky not to get second with a shot cannoning down and out off the crossbar. Pressed well, even if he did tire a little by the end.
- Bukayo Saka 7 – In contrast to Leno, Saka would have a better rating if he came off at half-time. The left-back had an excellent impact in the first half, adding another assist to his tally and creating a couple of chances. He got sloppy in the second period though and gifted possession to Everton a few times. As a young player, it happens.
- Lucas Torreira 6 – Along with Xhaka and Guendouzi, Torreira helped Arsenal win the ball in a really dangerous area to create the chance that saw Nketiah hit the bar. An inch lower and that would’ve been the moment to kill the game. Brought on to add defensive stability, Torreira didn’t really do much more than Ceballos already was. He brought fresh legs at least.
- Matteo Guendouzi 7 – Back after the off-field controversy, and started the press that created the aforementioned chance. Won a free-kick to help Arsenal keep possession.