I honestly don’t even know how I’m supposed to decipher the football that took place on Monday night. Like, it seems impossible.
At one point, in our work chat, 90min editor Matt O’Connor-Simpson mused: “This is so awful I’ve put Boreham Wood vs St Albans on.” The lad had a point.
It was an awful game of football for about 40 minutes.
The only real talking point being Ben Godfrey’s – ahem – agricultural altercation with Takehiro Tomiyasu. The defender caught the Japan international flush on the face with his studs, leaving a dent in his face.
Somehow, despite the incident going to VAR, no further sanction was issued.
One of the stories of the game was Richarlison’s reluctance to stay onside. The Brazilian twice strayed beyond the final man and twice his goals were disallowed after being analysed by the video referee.
He first nodded in Andros Townsend’s delivery before firing in from Abdoulaye Doucoure’s pass.
But in the midst of all that madness, Arsenal had actually taken the lead just before half time.
Kieran Tierney, finally returning to the Gunners’ starting lineup for the first time in months. raced down the left to deliver an awesome cross for Martin Odegaard – his side’s best player on the night – to slide in the game’s opener.
However, while the visitors had the lead, neither side could exert any control over the game and the next goal felt like it could come from anywhere.
With just ten minutes of normal time remaining, it was Richarlison who made amends for his two disallowed strikes by bagging the equaliser, nodding a header over Aaron Ramsdale after Demarai Gray had hit the bar.
Thankfully for the neutral viewer, the drama wasn’t over just yet. Firstly, substitute Eddie Nketiah somehow missed a header from close range, costing his side the victory when it seemed easier to score…
That was Arsenal’s big chance and one they were made to regret moments later.
Everton, who had been without a win in the Premier League since September, charged forward and it was Gray who proved to be the match winner.
The former Leicester winger cracked in an unstoppable drive beyond Ramsdale in stoppage time, sending the Goodison Park into a frenzy barely 20 minutes after the atmosphere had turned toxic.
Just the 0.02 xG for that shot..
From an Arsenal perspective, there can’t be any excuses. Everton were in a dire run of form and were there for the taking.
However, aside from Odegaard and Saka, their attacking talents didn’t show up and squandered the chances they did have, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late miss compounding the earlier clanger from Nketiah.
We’ll finish with this little snipper on Arsenal’s goalscoring woes.
There’s work to be done for Mikel Arteta, but if previous performances are anything to go by, he’ll get the time to put things right. Or maybe not.