Arsenal’s unbeaten run since the opening day in the league was finally broken as a resilient Everton side scored a winner in the dying minutes to prevent the Gunners from reaching the top. Arsenal were not at their best in the game and faced the boot for weak defending. However, defending was not the only chink in Arsenal’s armour against Everton and few other factors were also responsible for the end result.
Big-match bottler – Ozil
The German star has been a prominent figure in the Arsenal team for the last two seasons now. While he is a treat to watch when picking out passes from impossible positions, it is a likely situation in open plays when the game is progressing slowly. Against an Everton side, who were coming in all guns blazing at every opportunity, Ozil lacked the urgency and instinct to cope.
His lack of defensive contributions and reluctant attitude on the field has often annoyed critics and fans alike and against Everton, it cost his team the game. When Ashley Williams was barging into the box to meet the header, a feeble-looking Ozil was seen running away from the challenge. Before that, early in the second half, Ozil missed a sitter from a mouth-watering Alexis Sanchez cut-back.
Clattenburg’s Appalling Refereeing
On a night when Arsenal’s defending, which has been decent otherwise this season so far, looked dazed to Everton’s bursting counters, Mark Clattenburg was yet again at his best. Twenty minutes into the second half and everyone realised that the game would experience some nervy moments at the end. The tunnel fracas at the stroke of half time had indicated such a possibility.
It was absolutely quintessential that even the little decisions couldn’t go wrong. But, as has been his case with Arsenal recently, the referee got two crucial decisions wrong, which changed the game. Wenger already emphasised the corner decision, which led to the goal at the last moment, but an even poorer decision was the last-minute penalty claim by Sanchez. Kevin Mirallas had clearly caught Sanchez’s foot inside the box, but Clattenburg turned his back to it.
The Absence of Shkodran Mustafi
We know Arsenal have to play without the German’s services for the rest of this month minimum as Wenger stated, but they don’t have a capable replacement in Gabriel Paulista. The Brazilian has many attributes- he works hard, he sticks with the forwards and his passion for the club is unquestionable- but his game reading ability isn’t strong.
The first goal when Coleman found space between the defenders might have prevented if Mustafi had been present. Arsenal play Manchester City next and Gabriel better learn from his mistakes and fast!