Exactly what was needed
The first-half performance was as good as any I have seen from Arsenal this season. It was the game plan, the way Wenger wants them to play, carried off to perfection.
They were industrious in midfield, winning key balls with regularity, and were quick in attack, passing and moving with an urgency and desire that has lacked too often this year.
Elneny was again impressive – doing his share of the dirty work while helping move the ball forward. He also provided a useful outlet when the ball came inside off the flanks.
Alex Iwobi grows in stature with every game. I still think he needs to reign in some of the more extravagant elements of his game, but Wenger is seldom one to shackle the instincts of his creative players. I would like to see more attention paid to his defensive responsibilities, too.
Alexis Sanchez was his usual frenetic self, producing an absolutely superb assist for Danny Welbeck’s opener. He was unlucky to be denied what seemed a fairly clear-cut penalty, but it just goes to show that honesty gets you nowhere in the game today.
His passing in the first half was awful, giving it away time and again, and it’s not the first time.
In the second half, it’s fair to say we sat back. Everton went to three at the back, and initially we exposed the flaws of that system, enjoying an overload out wide.
But as time wore on, and perhaps inevitably, they started to throw men forward.
Balls they were not winning, breaks they were not getting, they started to get. It was worrying, but, in fairness, they didn’t really create many clear cut chances. We defended reasonably well under the pressure.
There were one or two situations in which we could have done better. A third goal would have taken the life out of the game, but it wasn’t be, frustratingly.
Our performances away from home this season have seen some of our best football, and, overall, this was no exception. It’s the failure to replicate this consistently, and at the Emirates, that really irks fans, and, I suspect, Wenger himself.
If nothing else, this was a real confidence boost heading into the international break. It shows that it can be done, but what remains to be seen is if it can be done in every game.
Man of the match
Alex Iwobi – an excellent game from the youngster. Much to be worked on, but much to be admired, too.
Ratings (from 10)
David Ospina (7), Hector Bellerin (6.5), Gabriel (6.5), Laurent Koscielny (7), Nacho Monreal (7), Alexis Sanchez (6.5), Mohammed Elneny (7), Francis Coquelin (7), Alex Iwobi (8), Mesut Ozil (7), Danny Welbeck (8).
SUBS: Gibbs, Giroud and Chambers weren’t on long enough if i’m honest. Points for holding on to the clean sheet, though.