Roberto Martinez’s Everton side have been impressive this season, leaving many critics quite speechless about how the Spanish manager has been able to walk into the blue side of Merseyside and get such results. The same can be said about Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, with many TV pundits, newspapers and rival fans writing off Arsenal before the season had even started claiming that “Arsenal just aren’t ready yet”, but Wenger has managed to pull another rabbit out of his magic hat, finding his team in first position, 5 points clear. This game was set up perfect for the neutral fan who would of enjoyed a weekend of unexpected results as Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all dropped points.
Martinez’s impressive Everton side travelled to North London on Sunday to take on the Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal, hoping to put a dent in Arsenal’s unexpected start to the season. The game saw Everton take control of what looked like a very surprised and laid back Arsenal side. Everton finished the game with the majority of possession, 55.9%, and also out passed Arsenal in there own back yard making 434 completed passes to Arsenal’s 317.
Mikel Arteta and Gareth Barry are both players that play in a deep role in the midfield for their sides, playing just in front of the defence but behind the hub of the midfield acting as another defender if you like. This position creates the opportunity to have a man over at the back making more space and allowing for the ball to move forward. Both players recorded a defensive zone pass completion of 84%, and this shows that Barry and Arteta both spend a lot of time in the defensive half.
Arteta and Barry are players more known for the technical aspects of their game and their experience rather than pace or goal scoring records; like the ability to read the game or make a 40-yard pass to switch the attack. These two are your typical “Run of the mill” players, not only can they put a shift in defence they also have the stamina to go from box to box, back and forth, for 90 minutes. During the game Arteta made 10 final 3rd passes completing 9 (90%) whereas Barry made 18 but was only accurate on 11 occasions (61%). Arteta’s overall open play pass completion was 88% and the majority of these passes were attacking with 37% moving forward towards the Everton goal.
As for Gareth Barry, he made 70 passes and was successful on 56 occasions, leaving him with a overall pass rate of 80%; this is slightly less consistent than Arteta’s but Barry was much more attacking with almost half of his passes moving forward (47%). With Barry seeing more of the ball, making more passes and being more direct then Arteta, the chances are he will lose the ball more as well. Barry lost possession for the Toffees 16 times, in a game where only the smallest of mistakes could have had devastating effects.
This was a key battle in the middle of the park and Arteta and Barry are usually the unsung heroes of the side. Arsenal and Everton are different sides without these players as both of them have their defined roles in the side.
The game finished 1-1 with both goal scorers newbies to the Premier League. Arsenal’s main man Ozil took the lead for the Gunners in the 79th minute with a close range finish after the ball was unselfishly headed back across goal from a lovely cross onto the far post from Rosicky. Everton equalised just 4 minutes later, when the loan star from Barcelona, Deulofeu, picked the ball up inside the Arsenal box and with his quick feet just did one step-over, wrong footing Laurent Koscielny, seeing the gap and just crashing the ball into the Arsenal net, leaving Poland’s number 1 goal keeper Wojciench Szczesny powerless from preventing the draw.