Match Report

Arsenal 3 Everton 1: Bye bye Champions League

Despite a solid win over Ronald Koeman’s side, we won’t be seeing Arsenal in Europes top tier tournament due to Liverpool’s win over Middlesbrough. I think dropping down into the second-tier tournament serves as a reminder that no one is safe anymore, and that Arsenal need to buckle up.

Anyway, before I go into detail, here’s the match review.

First half

Arsenal took the lead within eight minutes when Hector Bellerin struck at the near post. As things stood, with the score being 0-0 at Anfield, Arsenal would qualify for the Champions League. Soon after, Laurent Koscielny saw red for a reckless challenge on Enner Valencia. A man of his experience should know better. Going down to 10 men proved to have little difference, though Everton did threaten when Romelu Lukakus effort went wide of the mark.

Alexis Sanchez extended his side’s lead with 27 minutes gone following a cool pass from a calm and collected Danny Welbeck. Very unselfish from Welbeck as he could’ve chosen to go for glory, but opted not to.

Arsene Wenger’s side continued to put the pressure on Everton as free-kick from Sanchez found Welbeck, but he [Welbeck] failed to put the ball away as Joel Robles prevented him from doing so with a great save.

The away side threatened with chances from Valencia and Lukaku, but neither of them found the target. But having said that, Petr Cech did well to prevent Everton getting one back with their second chance.

With the first half almost at a close, news came through of a Liverpool breakthrough. As things stood, Arsenal would drop to fifth position.

Second half

12 minutes into the second half, Everton were awarded a penalty when Nacho Monreal was adjudged to have handled in the area. To me, I feel a penalty shouldn’t have been awarded as Monreal made no real motion to purposely move his hand towards the ball. It was a harsh decision. Nonetheless, Lukaku stepped to take the resulting penalty, and with that, scored despite Cech guessing the right way.

Arsenal could’ve scored a third through a Welbeck header from a cross, but the ball was just too fast for him.

Towards the end of the game, Aaron Ramsey scored a beautiful (I reserve such words for such moments) curler to extend his side’s lead.

By then, the damage was already done, as Liverpool also won their match to cement the last Champions League spot.

Thoughts

Going into this game, a “teeny-weeny” bit of me thought that Arsenal could sneak past, but I knew that it was almost impossible. I also didn’t expect any favours from the likes of Middlesbrough and Watford.

But Arsenal have only themselves to blame for Champions League qualification failure but on the bright side though (if there is a bright side) maybe the Europa League is a tournament Arsenal could make a real attempt to win (should Bayern Munich not finish third in their Champions’ League group. – I just hope they don’t).

Overall, it’s been that said it’ll be difficult to bring in “world class” players and Arsenal will struggle to keep the likes of Sanchez, and Mesut Ozil. But that isn’t always the case as Manchester United managed to buy the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic despite not playing in the Champions League. So, it’s not ALL bad.
Now, we look forward to the FA Cup final where Chelsea will no doubt be the favourites.

Anyway, that’s me done (Premier League wise), and I’d like to thank The Football Forecast for taking me onboard since November.

Onwards, and upwards!

Featured Image Credit: ctwino

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