Arsenal earned a third win inside just seven days, as an Aubameyang brace was just enough to see off a spirited Everton challenge.
The game could have easily swung either way after our impressive tactics and setup started to fray after around 60-65minutes, but we held on for the victory and it caps off a good week after a win over Newcastle last weekend and a demanding triumph over Olympiacos n Greece.
It was a sapping schedule that would mean we would tire visibly as the game wore on, but Everton couldn’t make the most of the opportunities that came their way – either finishing wastefully or Bernd Leno coming up with the goods.
Mikel Arteta named the same side that defeated the Magpies, the only difference being Sead Kolasinac coming in for the impressive Bukayo Saka.
The game started off as poorly as we could have imagined – within a minute of the kickoff we conceded. A free kick was swung in and it rebounded off Luiz’s shoulder. As it rocketed up into the air, it was only Calvert-Lewin who tracked it and his acrobatic effort flew in.
We were shellshocked, and it got worse when Kolasinac had to come off within twenty minutes after injuring his shoulder. Saka came on and within six minutes, had made a difference.
He made a yard down the left and flew in a cross that couldn’t have been any better. Nketiah had made the run and his volley at the near post went passed Pickford and into the net.
We were now on top, and Everton looked short of ideas, but we weren’t finished.
It Is often the Arsenal way to score quickly after scoring one and this was again the case, this time it was Auba who hit the net, a sublime through ball from Luiz finding him, riding the shoulder of his marker and staying calm to race into the box and sidefoot round Pickford.
We looked like we had them beat, but just before half time, another freekick was booted into our box. Richarlison was on the toes of Leno and flicked home just before our keeper could get there, and at half time – it was all square.
We had been the better side, and within a minute of the second half, we reasserted our lead. It was that man Auba again, and just like his goal versus Newcastle, it was a Pepe cross and Auba got in ahead of his man and headed downwards and into the net.
The Toffees were rocked and we looked good value for the lead, but a couple of subs from Ancelotti brought on Bernard and Kean and it was enough to inject some life into the away side.
For the last half an hour, it was pretty much all Everton. They had chances, but Calvert-Lewin was wasteful and when he did hit the target, Leno pulled out the stops.
Everton couldn’t quite get back to level ways, despite their best efforts and it was our team who actually came closest to scoring again when Nketiah cracked the crossbar, but it was to remain 3-2 and we saw the game over the line.
Three wins, and this was a tough one. What can we take from the game?
Ceballos making us tick
The Spaniard is well and truly showing what he can do now. In both this game and against Newcastle, he was setting the tone, picking the right pass. The Spaniard was excellent, and plays well in the pivot with Xhaka.
Auba Making the Difference
We know he is world class, but his finishing proved the difference between us taking a draw and a win today. The striker is now level with Vardy for the Golden Boot – who would bet against him winning it again?
Kids are smashing it
Nketiah scored, Saka made another assist. Willock played against Olympiacos, Nelson is back and fit, we have a crop of kids that are bolstering our squad and will probably save us a hatful in the transfer market. Arsenal – get Saka tied down to a long term deal!
Leno Is our Player of the season
Consistency personified, the German stopper saved our points here. How many times has he done that this season? Leno has been there for us throughout our struggles and if Auba is responsible for many of our points, Leno has earned just as many – if not more.
Next up is the second leg of our tie with Olmpiacos on Thursday.
What did you think of the team? Rate them here.