The first home game of 2010, blizzard like conditions, opportunity to cut the lead at the top to 1 point.
Arsene made six changes from the FA cup tie against West Ham, Jack Wilshere and Alex Song were absent with hamstring injury and national duty respectively. In came Nasri, Diaby, Arshavin, Denilson, Traore and Almunia.
Expectations were high to win the game against the team we hammered 6 – 1 in the start of the season, though the team then and now are slightly different.
Arsenal started slowly, a much different tempo from the usual quick, short passing game we have gotten used to, possibly due to the freezing conditions and slippery surface.
However, the Toffees had came with a game plan and bent on seeking revenge for the hammering earlier.
Everton hustled every Arsenal player on the ball and that successfully disrupted the rhythm of the passing game.
Deservedly, Everton took the lead when a corner swung in by loan signing Landon Donavon found him leaping highest to head the ball pass Almunia, with Denilson only managing to divert the ball into the roof of the net.
1 nil to the visitors.
The goal seemed to have stung the Arsenal into action and were quickly on the front foot looking for the equalizer.
The equalizer finally came when a loose ball in the area found its way to Denilson, who blasted home a deflected shot past Tim Howard.
1 all and game on.
2nd half saw the home team pressing for a second goal, however the conditions were getting worse and snow fall was getting thicker.
To add more bite in the bid to get a winning goal, Arsenal sent on Rosicky for Ramsey, a far cry from the performance he put in during the past 2 games.
The visitors were now happy to sit deep and counter whenever the chance appeared.
And the second goal came just like that.
After a missed opportunity in the Everton box, the ball found its way to Tim Cahill who released the ball to Steven Pienaar,who made a lung bursting run from his own box. With Nasri the nearest player trailing him and only Almunia to beat, he chipped the ball over the Arsenal custodian into the net.
2 – 1 to the visitors.
In a bid to battle back, on came Vela for Eduardo, but not before Denilson fell to the ground clutching his rib. Another added to the already lengthy injury list and more importantly, another midfield absentee.
As the clock ran down, the Arsenal fans must be fearing the prospect of losing 3 points in the title race. But the home team had shown great resilience and finally managed to fashion another equalizer, albeit with a large slice of luck.
Deep in stoppage time, Arsenal broke forward and the ball was played forward to Arshavin, who slipped it to Diaby just outside the box. With another touch, Diaby laid the ball to his left and into the box, inviting the on-rushing Rosicky to blast home the shot.
However the shot took a deflection off the covering Lucas Neil, who could only send the ball looping over his sprawling keeper, who in truth, might have had the shot covered.
Nontheless, 2 – 2.
The game ended all square and for both Everton and Arsenal, it is seen as 2 points dropped, as the visitors had every reason to feel that they missed their chance to get a win over the home side.
And for Arsenal, it was a missed chance to cut the lead at the top to a solitary point.
Will we be made to regret the missed chance? We will find out at the end of the season.
As written by singaporegooner
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