Another impressive away display from Arsenal, as they beat Everton 2-1 to move up to second, 2 points behind Chelsea. Their away form has been very good this year, and they have the best away record in the league, with 14 points from 7 games.
Arsenal lined up as expected, with Samir Nasri coming in for Tomas Rosicky, and Arsenal played 4-2-3-1. So did Everton, in a 4-4-1-1 with Johnny Heitinga coming in for the suspended Mauroane Fellaini.
Everton started brightly, pressing high up the pitch and unsettling Arsenal, who weren’t allowed to play their preferred quick passing. Everton, though, were defending deep, allowing space between the midfield and defence when pressing. A one-two between Song and Nasri exploited that space and although Everton had a quick counter attack, Arsenal started to settle and dictate play.
Most of Arsenal’s play was down their right hand side, to an almost unprecedented amount. Arsenal usually don’t target a specific area, but today they did. Unlike Everton’s right, where Seamus Coleman, a right back by trade, giving defensive cover for Phil Neville, on the left, with Steven Pienaar moving in towards the middle, and Leighton Baines going forward provding width, Everton are vulnerable in that area, as Luke Young showed earlier this year. Some of Arsenal’s best moves were down the right, and Sagna was allowed to get forward without opposition to score Arsenal’s first. Perhaps the best chance of the match, Chamakh’s glaring miss in the 60th minute, came from good combination play between Nasri and Fabregas before Fabregas put in an excellent cross for Chamakh.
Everton Switch to 4-3-3
David Moyes brought on Yakubu and Beckford and switched to a 4-3-3, with Coleman and Baines getting forward and Cahill also getting forward to support the strikers. Everton went a lot more direct, and Arsenal had problems dealing with it, though they eventually did, but Fabianski also made several fantastic saves. This also coincided with Arsenal having problems giving the ball away: Fabregas and Denilson were almost uncharacteristic in giving the ball away, and Everton were pushing forward. In the end, Arsenal held out, and deserved all 3 points.