Everton v Arsenal ratings
Szczesny: I’d describe his evening as relatively comfortable in many respects, with a back four in front of him that didn’t concede too many chances. Apart from one rather wry clearance which an Everton player got a head to but couldn’t control, he didn’t really put a foot wrong. He made a decent save from their one shot on target and gave us our first clean sheet since early February. A good day at the office then. 6/10.
Sagna: He did well to keep their wide players quiet, although was beaten a few times in the air which led to the opposition having goal scoring opportunities. However the sheer vastness of the amount he brings to the table more that makes up for any small spillages, and their chances came to nothing in the end. It’s no small coincidence that our recent revival walks hand in hand with Sagna’s return to action, and Walcott’s improved productivity trots quietly just behind them. 6/10.
Koscielny: I remember when I heard the summer before last that Wenger had bought a defender in, and I remember thinking “about time too”. And with the reported price tag at around eleven million pounds, I was optimistic of a big name. Well if he wasn’t a big name then he certainly is now, as every game he puts in another performance to justify that price tag. His speed and strength leave most forwards clueless when trying to go past him and last night was no different. 7/10.
Vermaelen: The vice captain is really beginning to show why he’s up there with the best central defenders in European football as he dominated in all areas of the pitch, whether its battling their forwards for aerial balls, stepping in front of his man to intercept or working his magic in the opponents box. His rating would have been high regardless of whether he scored his second winning goal in two games, but the goal is the icing on an already perfectly baked cake. 9/10.
Gibbs: The young man is looking continually more assured as he gets more games under his belt, and must be beginning to give the England selectors something to think about for the summer. He has improved his positioning massively and as a result his technical ability has improved as he now finds himself with more time, whether it’s making a tackle or an interception. Staying injury free is a must for him if he wants to fill his potential and be an Arsenal left back for years to come. 7/10.
Song: He put in another hard working shift last night, displaying tenacity and composure towards the end of the game. When Everton were digging in their heels in search of that equaliser he did his duties well in front of the back four. However a wayward pass should have cost us a goal if the linesman did his job correctly, so he needs to think more carefully about when he is going to attempt a low percentage pass; in and around their box “yes”, in and around our box “no”. The way he held onto the ball for the final minutes by their corner flag shows that he has a good football brain; he just needs to use it more often. 7/10.
Ramsey: I was surprised to see him start last night given how well Rosicky has played in the middle and the form that Oxlaide Chamberlain has shown, and his lack of match practice was no more telling than when Van Persie put it on a diamond encrusted, golden lined, solid silver platter in the first few minutes. Ramsey gets a lot of bad press from our own fans which I think is unfortunate as he is one of our young players working hard to improve his game and fulfil his potential after a career threatening injury. He has got goals in him, but we should judge him on more than simply how often his names on the score sheet. 6/10.
Arteta: He did well in a game which must have been emotional for him, and he did well to belay those emotions for the 90 minutes and play like he would against any other opposition (he put in a few tasty tackles). His on ball presence faded slightly in the second half as Everton tried and applied more pressure, but our midfield never looks more solid than when he is there. 7/10.
Walcott: He struggled to have an impact last night, which I found most annoying as I out him in my fantasy team this week. Baines did a good job on him, displaying why he’s an international full back. I think Theo’s first touch let him down (as it occasionally is wont to do), and as a result he was never really in control. It wasn’t surprising to see him subbed for Gervinho. 5/10.
Rosicky: A tireless effort from Thomas, again displaying the characteristics that make him one of the first names on the team sheet at the moment. His form’s emergence from the placid to the rigorous is, for me, one of the success stories of this season for us, and if Wilsher returns from injury this season then the manager will have something of a headache for midfield selection, one that I can’t see ibuprofen masking. He also sent a lovely volley towards goal that forced Howard into a decent save. 8/10.
Van Perise: On most other days I would be writing about a Van Persie hat-trick but he didn’t really have his shooting boots with him last night. He hit the woodwork and forced Howard into a couple of good saves low down, but he didn’t really have his eye in. Having said that, his delivery for Vermaelen’s goal was superb, and he put it on a plate for Ramsey to score, so was influential even if he did score himself. 7/10.
Gervinho: Came on and helped stretch their defence, would probably have got an assist if Van Persie was his usual clinical self too. 7/10.