Arsenal registered a much-needed victory over underperforming Everton on the road, courtesy of two magnificent goals from Danny Welbeck and debutant Alex Iwobi, thereby moving only three points of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, below whom they cannot afford to finish.
With only 24 points to play for, they have collected three decisive points and here are the five talking points from their 2-0 victory on Merseyside.
Iwobi: one for the future
Though BT Sport’s decision to hand Alex Iwobi the MOTM award ahead of Welbeck, Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny raised eyebrows, he did exceptionally well for a debutant and rounded off a fine performance with Arsenal’s second goal.
His link-up with Welbeck particularly stood out; however, his decision-making left a lot to be desired as he twice misplaced passes, when Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were in goal-scoring positions.
Fantastic double pivot: Coquelin and Elneny
Francis Coquelin’s heroics largely go under the radar, with Iwobi, Elneny, and Welbeck taking the limelight away from him, and the French midfielder again had a great performance, which included 12 interceptions. Elneny and Coquelin had a combined pass completion of 88% and nullified the threat Ross Barkley imposed.
With Elneny responsibly joining the attack and Coquelin constantly shielding the back four, the Gunners dominated the midfield at Goodison Park.
Convincing centre-back partnership: Gabriel and Koscielny
Though Gabriel initially made a few errors in the first few minutes, Romelu Lukaku seldom tested David Ospina, as Koscielny always came to the rescue of his Brazilian defensive partner. However, with Gabriel still making rookie mistakes every now and then,
Arsenal’s defence is far from secure, as it takes only a single mistake to concede in the high-tempo Premier League.
Ozil: the conductor of the orchestra
Ozil’s assist tally remains at 18, but the German midfielder had a solid performance as he was seen all over the pitch, conducting the orchestra. He performed the task of linking the back six with the front three to perfection, and his link-up play with Hector Bellerin rendered the Everton defenders breathless.
Given Arsenal’s resurgence, he will soon break Thierry Henry’s assist record despite a statistical dip.
Clattenburg: horrible refereeing
Thanks to goals from Welbeck and Iwobi, Twitter avoided a breakdown, as almost every refereeing decision went against Arsenal, wrongly. Alexis was denied a clear penalty before Olivier Giroud’s goal was bizarrely disallowed. The Toffees also escaped a few bookings, as Ramiro Funes Mori’s challenges on Bellerin and Giroud went unpunished.
Seamus Coleman also could have collected a yellow for his deliberate foul on Giroud. Mark Clattenburg yet again reiterated the Premier League’s poor refereeing standards.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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