Tired Toffees throw another two points away, this time in the Goodison opener.
Tim Howard – 6
Didn’t have much to do before the two goals, but the one time he was called upon he saved well from an Olivier Giroud attempt. Some may say the American could have come to collect the cross for the first goal but I would say it was a good ball in the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ between goalkeeper and defence.
Seamus Coleman – 7
Coleman played excellent, especially considering he was left two on one the majority of the time when defending. The right-back was a constant option for the Blues going forward and it was a brilliant run for his goal.
Phil Jagielka – 7
Defended superbly up until Giroud’s goal – like most of the Everton side, the skipper cleared everything that came his way and was also vital with a few interceptions.
Sylvain Distin – 6
Looked comfortable in the first half against Alexis Sanchez but in the second, Giroud caused his fellow countryman a lot of problems.
Leighton Baines – 8
Broke down a lot of Arsenal’s attacks in the first half by reading their play to a tee and as always was a threat going forward. Could have had an assist to his name when he surged into the box and skipped past three but his pass was slightly behind Kevin Mirallas, who would have had an open goal to make it 3-0.
James McCarthy – 8
Provided the engine from midfield, as per usual, he was tireless throughout even when his teammates looked on their knees. Like Baines and Jagielka, McCarthy and his midfield partner broke down several of the Gunners’ attacks.
Gareth Barry – 7
Barry kept possession well and controlled a lot of the play in the first half but in the second he was called upon more when Everton didn’t have the ball to stop the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey providing for Giroud.
Steven Pienaar – N/A
The Goodison crowd didn’t get see enough of Pienaar for a rating which was a shame considering his encouraging performance the week before and it was an intriguing tactic to use him more centrally.
Romelu Lukaku – 6/7
Again played on the right to target Nacho Monreal’s defensive weaknesses; but the Spaniard did a lot better to cope with Lukaku this time around as well as Per Mertesacker backed up the left-back well. The Belgian wasn’t given the right service as too many balls were into his feet with his back to goal. It was only Naismith’s goal and one other instance, which he wasted, that he ran at the Arsenal defence, scaring them to death in the process.
Steven Naismith – 8
The former Rangers player looks full in confidence and a completely different player. Now playing in his right position the Goodison faithful has fully taken to him and he is only reaping the benefits, taking his goal with cool composure – whether he was offside or not…
Kevin Mirallas – 6
Looked slightly off the pace, which is understandable with having no pre-season, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers nullified his threat. The winger did look bright in parts but was tackled more often than not.
Leon Osman (Steven Pienaar 10’) – 6
Osman tired towards the end and was possibly at fault for the first goal by not tracking Ramsey well enough but competed well for 80 minutes as could be said for the Everton performance not just Osman’s.
Aiden McGeady (Romelu Lukaku 76’) – 5
McGeady was extremely poor when he came on, giving the ball away which was frustrating considering his good performance last week.
Christian Atsu (Kevin Mirallas 85’) – N/A
The Ghanaian didn’t have enough time to have a real impact on his debut.
Man of the Match: James McCarthy
The former Wigan man ran the show from midfield and epitomised the intense commitment and effort in the Everton performance for the first 80 minutes. Unfortunately his teammates don’t have the legs he does and looked extremely tired in the last ten minutes and Arsenal capitalised on that fact. Baines and Naismith were also contenders for man of the match and could have easily been given it but I thought McCarthy just edged it.
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