Arsenal 2 – 1 Everton: Big result. Big. Huge.

February 2, 2011 14 Comments by Sian

That was one of my favourite matches of the year so far at the Emirates. I realise it’s February 2nd.

The atmosphere was great (if accidental), the result was greater and the fact we made a comeback instead of letting our heads drop as usual, was greatest. In spite of a poor start for the boys, overall the match was a good one between two good teams. Everton certainly didn’t play like a team currently languishing at 14th place in the league. Louis Saha looked dangerous all night, and not only because his hair makes him look like a literal beacon warning of danger ahead. I’ve heard a range of opinions on the quality of the football played yesterday but I thought Everton were bloody good. Meanwhile, Arsenal started off very poorly, went a bit wild in the middle, then improved in the second half. 

Though it didn’t matter in the end, everyone wants to talk about Everton’s goal in the first half. The offsidest goal in the history of offsidey goals. There was nearly a riot when they replayed the goal just after it had been scored; clearly, they did not show it again at half time in the highlights section. After two weeks of discussion on whether women understand offside or not, tonight was an interesting exercise in who exactly DOES know the offside rule.

Seamus Coleman had played his pass through to an obviously offside Saha, but the slight intervention of Koscielny before Saha picked it up to whack it past Szczesny, obviously helped Lee Mason and his linesman Stephen Child wrongly conclude that he was onside. Koscielny’s involvement creating the new phase of play being the reason, right? The second phase? (hey, if the Match of the Day pundits are allowed to say it confuses them, so am I!)  An almost identical incident occurred in Chelsea’s match with Sunderland tonight. Only that was stopped for offside.

When all’s said and done, had Everton gone on to win the match on the back of that decision, we’d have been very angry indeed. By the same token, the goal was scored in the 24th minute – we’d have had plenty of time to dig ourselves out of our unfortunate hole. Which, thankfully, we did.

With Everton ahead, fans going mental and the players failing to keep their cool on the pitch also, we went into half time in serious need of calming down. When we came back out, Wenger had obviously worked his magic. The real difference came, however, when Andrey Arshavin came on for Tomas Rosicky in the 62nd. The brilliant match the Russian’s been threatening to play for the past couple of months finally came along and with it brought a goal. He’d been on less than 10 minutes when a Fabregas pass was mis-headed by Jack Rodwell, Andrey getting to mop up the mess with a tidy goal.

He needed that goal, and Arsenal needed that goal. Six minutes later brought the biggest manpile we’ve seen in a while when Koscielny finally put us ahead with a header. After that, it didn’t look like Everton were going to level the scores again and we could even have made it 3-1 when Gael Clichy got close, only to chicken out at the last minute and pass instead.

The boys did us proud last night. I’ll refrain from calling the result a turning point/catalyst/season definer because I seem to remember we called us beating Stoke City 1-3 last February one of those and, well, it wasn’t. But it was still a great win we had to work hard to get and made even more important by the fact Manchester United also won again. But I mean whatevs. They can only do what they can do and we can only do what we can do. I hope they slip over on their arses on a massive team-sized banana skin but until that happens, Arsenal need to look at themselves if they’re planning on doing any kind of  spring-clean of the top three.

In other news, none of the newspapers are out yet but I’ve just done a quick skim of the early headlines of the match and, lo and behold, our comeback and win has been overshadowed by a certain Everton manager’s comments about a certain Arsenal captain’s alleged comments last night. I refuse to do the same, so I’ll sandwich this part in between Arsenal positivity (see above) and more Arsenal positivity (see below).

Now, we have to be careful here. In David Moyes’s post-match interview, I definitely heard him refer to comments Cesc allegedly made “ABOUT” the referee. In early online newspaper reports I’m reading now, they report the comments as having been made “TO” the referee. So which was it? Or did Moyes reiterate these sentiments in a press conference, changing that word in the mean time? I’m confused. For a change.

What I don’t understand is that if he made them ABOUT the referee, that’s not a sendable-offable offence is it? Either way, the fact he wouldn’t go into details about them makes the whole thing reek of a man trying to divert attention from the fact his side lost a gifted lead. It’s sour grapes. It’s pathetic, and sadly it’s been done before.

Wenger was quite adamant in his post-match interview Cesc had said nothing to any officials. And even if he had, and Lee Mason had heard him and had chosen not to send him off in the tunnel, well whose fault’s that? 

I don’t believe it though. I’ll look a bit of a berk if tomorrow we have video and audio footage of him saying anything, but I don’t think it’ll happen. It’s like Phil Brown all over again. I get absolutely livid over all the shit that is thrown Cesc’s way. Some fans really and truly despise him. Sometimes, Cesc can be a git on the pitch. Like the card-waving incident last week, for instance. But if I had a captain who didn’t get involved when he’s got a gripe with the referee, or didn’t wind opposition up from time to time, I’d be wondering where my captain was. Was Tony Adams all sweetness and light?

Fabregas is basically a brilliant player who people hate because he’s brilliant. Oh, and not English of course. And before you lay into me with your “Oh shut up about where he’s from”, I’m right. John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney – all of them can be utter shits both on and off the pitch. Yet they’re still “Good old John Terry/Steven Gerrard/Wayne Rooney” when England are playing. Cesc will unfortunately never be English (oh God I wish he was English), so he’s always going to be the amazing, short, fiery Spaniard that everyone loves to hate. I’m hoping for a super-sized banana skin or twelve for them too. But the more everyone else hates him, the more we continue to love him. In the words of my dad while watching Cesc’s post-match interview after Huddersfield, “I just wanna cuddle that bloke!”

Anyway it’s 1.59am now and my eyes are burning and I’m talking out of my earhole so I’d better stop. Onward and upward, Gooners. Our bargain bin of a team are continuing to do us proud.


  1. UncleK
    2452 days ago

    Aha! First comment to me…Didn’t see or even hear the game,but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion…Oh,yes it does.Good read tho’.


  2. Girl Gunner
    2452 days ago

    :( missed the match,but i read that Alex Song and Theo W picked up injuries,hope we don’t have only koscielny remaining by the time we face barca! Are they alright?!! Excellent stuff you got here sian! BTW,I don’t see why the wavin of hand around by capt.Cesc is such a big deal!! And yup,the offside thingy will sure shut off doubterz of lady refs,cause male refs do make poor judgments,if it was offside,i’l look at the replays! Lets keep our guns blazing…


  3. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2452 days ago

    One of your best posts, evah! OK, it kind of devolved into a rant but I still loved it. Your passion speaks for all of us, and that’s one of the reasons I follow this blog,

    Cesc is one of my very favourite current players and I think it’s safe to say by now that he’ll be regarded as one of the great all-time Gunners alongside Adams, Henry, Bergkamp, etc. He’s young and passionate (like you!) and he totally impresses with the way he conducts himself 99% of the time on and off the pitch, This season he has gotten more aggressive for sure but I’ve always cherished that quality in all my favourite athletes.

    I wouldn’t be too hard on Moyes either. Heat of the battle and all that. I think he’s basically a good guy. Even Le Boss for all his normal elegance and erudition has on rare occasions sounded like complete idiot as well. Footy just wouldn’t be as much fun without it all. In fact all of sudden, I’m thinking of a line from a certain ex-Beatle who once famously sang, “When you’ve got a to job to do, you’ve got to do it well. You’ve got to give the other fella HELLL” (cue monster riff).
    In fact it’s exactly that quality we’ll need against the thugs and bullies we have to play again in the CC final.

    As for the match – we didn’t get it here and were treated instead to watching Rooney’s return form (yuck) against poor Villa. So I was totally absorbed in your review and given the result and the way we played I can see why you might pick it as one of your favourite matches of the year. This is NOT last year’s team in terms of come-from-behinds wins and it is so refreshing for Gooners who threw in the towel with their team so many times in past seasons. It is a renewed passion and doggedness we’re seeing. There’s a rough edge to our vaunted style and fluidity which is exactly what we need right now and clearly Cesc is leading the team with that attitude.
    Go Gunners


  4. Graham
    2452 days ago

    Best game of the season at home for me. Even better than Chelsea, but that’s probably just my personal, irrational love of when we win after being behind.

    I think your Cesc comments are spot on, he’s got his faults but I wouldn’t change him. I just want to see players giving a sh1t and he certainly does.

    After the whole side rounded on Van Nistelrooy a few years ago we were rightly hammered by the media. But few of them pointed out what some Arsenal fans did – that this just proved the side cared and would stick together when needed.

    The reason for Cesc’s recent behaviour is probably that he’s under huge pressure and he’s still pretty young for a captain.

    Doesn’t make him right or wrong, its just the way it is…


  5. El Greco
    2452 days ago

    Thanks for the round-up, Sian – it was as though I was at the game:-) – and I hope you had a good night’s sleep after the buz!
    As for me, I was buzzing all the way home, though after a great comeback by the boys, I slept 100 miles/hr.

    Now regarding the refereeing, it’s absolutley scandalous that such incompency could be allowed to officiate at this level, and I hope the referee and his sidekick get a spell in the lower division gulag!



  6. Dave
    2452 days ago

    Agreed – Great Game, great result. Great breath of fresh air after the wanton lunacy of the whole torres/carroll affair


  7. Tricia
    2452 days ago

    As you know, I don’t normally get to watch matches simply because of time zone and scheduling but I always look forward to your blog because you always do a great re-cap. And depending on the way we played, reading your blog is better than watching the actual match lol Glad this match wasn’t a painful one or anything.

    I definitely agree that we can’t say this is a turning point etc, but its definitely good to see the boys fight for it instead of giving up after going behind. We’re not too far behind United and if we can keep coming back (which hopefully we won’t actually need to) we can definitely keep the pressure on United.

    “But if I had a captain who didn’t get involved when he’s got a gripe with the referee, or didn’t wind opposition up from time to time, I’d be wondering where my captain was. Was Tony Adams all sweetness and light?”

    I know right?

    Lovely blog, as always.


    • Sian
      2451 days ago

      Exactly. The stuff in the papers today has been outrageous. Pathetic. And Moyes was successful in the diversion of attention from his team. Well played.

      But the more people have a go at him, the fiercer my defence of him becomes. Not far off stabbing someone with a pen earlier today. :D


  8. Theo van Nasrigas
    2452 days ago

    Great post again Sian.
    Could you comment on if there’s a different vibe at the Emirates when we’re down a goal in 2011 compared to the 2009/2010 season. I would think the crowd would be more supportive because of increased confidence? I think we’re really showing some versatility in the way we’re adjusting to opponents and circumstances. We play pretty as always, but I’m impressed with the grit we show as well. RvP and Cesc seem really full of fire and that seems to have ignited some renewed passion. Thoughts?
    Happy Belated Birthday


    • Sian
      2451 days ago

      I have to say, though we were fuming at the time, the Everton goal maybe did us a favour. The atmosphere rocketed after that. Usually it’s a case of “ARGH, 0-1 down, useless sods” though it must he said that as soon as we get back into it, the crowd does always immediately get behind the team.

      The atmosphere is still a long way from perfect but we’re getting there. And the trials and tribulations are only helping in that!

      Thanks Theodora :)


  9. Alan
    2452 days ago

    Perfect summing up of the match and all that went with it, Siany.

    Gutsy performance all round if not the prettiest. Cesc quite clearly couldn’t give a shit about Arsenal and wishes he was at Barcelona steamrollering mediocre opposition every week – NOT!

    Disappointing that David Moyes, normally a good guy, did a Phil Brown, but Everton were very up for it and very good in spells, particularly the first half.

    Well done to Arshavin for his best contribution for some time – hope he’s turned a corner and will be flying for the rest of the season.


  10. Gooner For Life
    2452 days ago

    Really Awesome Match … Hope Arshavin plays the same for remainder of the season :)


  11. Nando
    2452 days ago

    great write up! The boys looked much better in the second half, lets hope that Song and Theo are gonna be back soon.


  12. Dave
    2451 days ago

    Just another point – If we’re getting stuck in and being committed then i couldn’t care if we get the odd red card. Its going to happen and rather they be over committed than under committed.

    In fact thinking back to the times when we were considered among te dirtier teams in the league… Well, wasn’t that when were were winning the league??


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