The King Power Stadium

Next Game

Leicester v Arsenal

Sunday, 31 August 2014, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Emirates Stadium

Last Game

Arsenal 1 - 0 Besiktas

Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 19:45

Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round

Imposing Arsenal

It was good to see Arsenal impose their own game on Everton in their 4-1 win, writes Nick Miller.

Last Updated: 08/03/14 at 17:22

Olivier Giroud's late brace put the seal on an assured performance from Arse

Olivier Giroud's late brace put the seal on an assured performance from Arse

Pack away your jokes, cancel the 'Specialists in Failure' t-shirts, book the open top bus parade - Arsenal are going to Wembley.

Well, they technically are going to Wembley, but the old trophy drought isn't quite over yet.

While they still have a couple of rather hefty hurdles to jump over before that trophy monkey is lifted off their collective back, this game will provide Arsene Wenger with great hope that they can actually win something after nine barren years.

With little chance of winning the Premier League and their prospects of coming back against Bayern Munich on Tuesday firmly in the 'optimistic' bracket, this was Arsenal's most important game of the week, if not the season so far, at least until the semi-final.

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil celebrates scoring the opening goal against Everton

And they started off like it as well, perhaps taking a nod from how Liverpool blew them away with some ferocious early attacking play last month, running at Everton with a directness that Arsenal so often lack. The inclusion of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was excellent again, obviously helped with this, and while obviously Arsenal weren't quite as successful as Brendan Rodgers' side, it set a tone from early in the game.

Recently Arsenal have seemed inhibited, particularly against the better teams in the Premier League, like they are nervous about failing, seemingly unable to win the games that matter, which is one of the reasons they won't win the league. It was therefore perhaps refreshing for the watching Gooners that Arsenal, playing against one of those better teams, mostly did as they pleased rather than being cowed. There were moments in this game that you stopped after a particularly fluent passage of play and thought 'Ah, that's Arsenal', something that has been too often missing in recent weeks.

The performance of Mesut Ozil should also provide some encouragement. As well as taking his goal very nicely, plus showing great awareness to play in Olivier Giroud for the fourth, the German looked lively - "regenerated", said Arsene Wenger after the game - and was even spotted tracking back to help his defence out at one stage. Remarkable scenes. Ozil's omission from the first team for a couple of games has surely been more of a mental refresher than a physical one, and he certainly played like a man with a clearer head against Everton.

Mikel Arteta put Arsenal in front from the penalty spot and they didn't look back

Of course Arsenal weren't dominant - Everton played well in spells, and could/should have been in the lead shortly before Mikel Arteta's penalty, after Ross Barkley hit a very presentable chance over the bar from just inside the area. Barkley was a threat throughout, and Kevin Mirallas exploited the space left by Kieran Gibbs' attacking runs well at times.

But, as is obvious, Everton are a good side, and it was never going to be a stroll. The encouraging thing for Wenger is that Arsenal largely dealt with the threat from Roberto Martinez's team, and imposed their own game on Everton, rather than it being repressed by the opposition. Since Wenger doesn't often adapt his tactics or match plan to suit or combat the opposition, this is vital for Arsenal to succeed.

"It was important today," said Wenger after the game. "We can be inspired by our focus on the day, our desire and go to Bayern with the same spirit."

It might be optimistic to expect or even hope for much in Munich on Tuesday, but Arsenal's performance against Everton should be encouraging for their season way beyond that.

This article originally appeared on Football365

Follow Nick Miller on Twitter

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Premier League: Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin in plea after thwarted move

Morgan Schneiderlin has appealed to Southampton fans after a thwarted attempt to leave St Mary's.

Premier League: Chelsea hit Everton for six in nine-goal Goodison Park thriller

Chelsea hit Everton for six in a goal-filled Premier League extravaganza at Goodison Park which finally ended 6-3.

Transfer news: Leicester sign QPR full-back Danny Simpson

Leicester City have signed full-back Danny Simpson from Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee.

Mail Box

Surely A Spurs Fan Should Remember...

...what happened to the fourth Champions League place the last time an English team won the thing. Plus, who would want to pay £60 to watch the current England team?

Ginger Pirlo? Don't Make Me Laugh...

A Sunderland fan in the mailbox is surprised by Jack Colback's call up to the England squad. Plus, thoughts on Welbeck and Liverpool's Champions League draw...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property