Report: Everton 1-6 Arsenal
By Randy Osae
Arsenal have began 2009/10 with a big bang!.
The Gunners made a dream start to the new campaign with a stunning 1-6 riot over Everton away at Goodison Park.
With the absences of Walcott, Nasri, Diaby and Rosicky shortening Wenger’s options on the flanks, the French tactician opted for a 4-3-3 formation where Arshavin and Bendtner foiled Van Persie upfront while Fabregas and Denilson sat behind with Song protecting a solid back line of Clichy, Gallas, Vermaelen and Sagna.
Last to kick-off on the Premier League’s opening day, the Gunners pulled up their socks as red as the danger that could be sensed from a Goodison Park ground which can intimidate any side on any day.
Everton had a go in the early minutes, but Arsenal were also up for it. Wenger’s men seemed a bit naive until Bendtner dribbled past a defender and helped set up Denilson who lashed home a scorcher after 26 minutes.
Not many around had seen that one coming – certainly not from the man it came from – but the visitors could care less as Denilson delivered more heroics by clearing Fellaini’s header off the line moments after scoring.
Arsenal were only absorbing the pressure when they were rewarded a free-kick on 36 minutes. Van Persie was the delivery man as usual, but the man to pop up with a header was not as familiar. It was new signing, Thomas Vermaelen who freely thumped home the ball to hand Arsenal some leeway at 2-0 and mark a memorable debut.
Everton were falling into tatters as they allowed a similar goal on the stroke of half-time. This time, Fabregas floated in the free-kick and an unmarked Gallas did little to guide it home.
3-0 at halftime and shades of five years ago when Arsenal thrashed Everton in a similar opening day scenario.
David Moyes pumped some urgency into his men after the break, but it was Wenger’s men who were first to do the job. This time Fabregas wrapped up a fluid counter-attack by guiding the ball through Tim Howard’s legs with his weaker foot.
4-0 up, history repeated, but Arsenal went for more.
Skipper Fabregas was at it again – this time netting through his own brilliance rather than another slick move by his teammates.
Cesc raced off the center line and fired in a low drive to make it 5-0 and yet again, wet the appetites of Milan and Barcelona who refuse to back off.
With nothing more to play for, Wenger opted to gift minutes to Eboue, Ramsey and Edurado who replaced Bendtner, Fabregas and Van Persie respectively.
Eduardo – always hungry for goals – then rebounded home Arshavin’s shot which had struck the post for six.
Since being introduced, Louis Saha proved Everton’s most desperate man on the pitch and he clinched the plaudits as their best man out there today by capitalizing on a sluggish moment in Arsenal’s defense.
That was the tiny stain that denied Wenger’s men a clean sheet, but the scoreline had already told its story.
Cruising into the race and league leaders for today at least.