Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday and our Talking Heads for this game were former Gunner Adrian Clarke and Arsenal Addict.
ADRIAN CLARKE, STUDIO GUEST
This was a tough evening for Arsenal, and on reflection I think it’s a point gained rather than two points lost. After getting off to the perfect start thanks to a wonderful Theo Walcott goal I expected a bit more from the Gunners, but credit has to go to Everton for the way they got a stranglehold on the game. The Toffees definitely shaded the opening 45 minutes but the second period was more even, and Giroud and Cazorla could both have won the match for Arsenal with decent chances.
The final ball, and Arsenal’s work in and around the opposition penalty area, was again below par, but I did feel the back four – particularly Thomas Vermaelen - showed real determination and resoluteness at the other end of the pitch. No arguments at the result, but I’m hoping for more inspiration going forward on Saturday against Swansea.
It’s a crucial match for both teams. Arsenal go to Goodison Park on the back of an uninspired performance at Villa Park but I feel this is the kind of game that will lift them and hopefully see a return of the energy and enterprise that we saw against Tottenham. Hopefully this will be an improved performance and will bring three points.
Everton have really impressed me so far this season. Nikica Jelavic is a clinical finisher and Arsenal will have to ensure he is tightly marked at all times. Kevin Mirallas has come to England and has breathed new life into the team. Marouane Fellaini has been magnificent so far. He’ll have to be contained and watched closely. David Moyes has instilled a real work ethic into the team and has added to it with plenty of quality. It’s one of the hardest away games Arsenal face this season, but they have a good record on Merseyside and I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of.
Wojciech Szczesny has done well since coming back into the team. He’s the undisputed No 1 and I’m glad to see him back. Hopefully he can put together a run of games and find the sort of form that he showed last season. It’s an important season to establish himself at Arsenal and I think he’s good enough to make his mark.
I think it will be an exciting game. Arsenal will have to defend well and I think they’ll win 2-1.
AVENELL DAVE, ARSENAL ADDICT
A point at Goodison is not a bad result and one I’m sure many would have taken before the game. It’s a shame that a wayward clearance just as we were looking to assert ourselves let Everton back into the game but a draw was probably a fair result. Coming on the back of a disappointing draw at Villa, two points from a possible six doesn’t seem like a great return but I’m more positive.
We are looking better at the back and even Thomas Vermaelen, who has struggled this season, looked more composed in the heart of the defence when he moved across following Laurent Koscielny’s injury. The challenge for Arsène Wenger is to keep players fresh without dropping too many more points. The dead rubber in Greece should give him the chance to rest most of the first team but I’m convinced if we fight as we had to last night, we’ll do better than many believe we can.
It seems for some fans, anything other than a win is a crisis, a reason to beat the club, the players and the managers. It’s become tiresome and frustrating and underlines how few fans remember the pre =-Wenger era at Arsenal when wining trophies or even finishing in the top four was far from guaranteed. We do suffer with injuries and could probably do with moving on a few passengers in the first-team squad but our first XI is equal to any team on their day.
While the draw against Villa was frustrating, we needed to rotate and, in such terrible conditions, a draw was about right even though we had the lion’s share of good chances. Everton is an entirely different prospect – they’re a team in form and have had a much better start than in previous years. We won comprehensively at the start of the season three or four years ago and need a win to keep among the top four chasing pack, but they’ll be no pushovers.
Hopefully Jack Wilshere will come back into the team and I imagine Bacary Sagna will start as well but I can’t see any other changes unless Arsène Wenger brings back Thomas Vermaelen, who has scored on his only two visits to Goodison Park. Among the doom and gloom of Saturday, we did get a clean sheet and another would be very welcome.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd