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Everton vs Arsenal: Player Ratings

Hardest Man of the Match decision to make all year.

"You da man". No no Roberto, "YOU da man!"
"You da man". No no Roberto, "YOU da man!"
Alex Livesey

It's been rare that just about every Everton player on the pitch was excellent. Even when they made mistakes they were still quick to recover and salvage the situation.

Tim Howard - 7

Had little to do most of the game, but when called upon made a couple of fantastic saves. Reacted deftly to Lukas Podolski's shot that swerved wickedly after bouncing off the turf, and got his fingertips to an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scorcher pushing it onto the bar. Even had time to bail out Mirallas from his moment of dribbling madness when he got dispossessed yards from the goal.

Seamus Coleman - 8

The Irishman has been pushed out of the limelight in recent weeks in Everton's resurgent run, but made the highlight reels across the world with two moments of magic that are going to become Vine-staples for the next few years. Needless to say, the Coleman household will not be receiving Christmas cards from the Cazorlas any time soon.

John Stones - 6.5

Widely-expected to be the weak link in the Blues backline with club captain Phil Jagielka out, the teenager once again gave a good account of himself. Had a shaky moment with a poor pass in the area, but was solid otherwise, with that being his only misplaced pass out of forty. His maturity beyond his years and composure have resulted in his name being mentioned as a possible for Brazil this summer.

Sylvain Distin - 7

Should henceforth also be known as The Rock. The Wall and The Impenetrable Barrier might also be likely monikers. His age belies his pace, and his understanding of the game in front of him should ensure he stays on this lineup for at least a couple more years. Was unfazed by Olivier Giroud and kept him in his back pocket all game long, only allowing him out to go to the bench at halftime and when he was substituted.

Leighton Baines - 8

Just when you thought you had seen everything Baines had to offer he had a game like yesterday's. Showing pace and trickery on the left wing. A sensational cross in found Lukaku to create the first goal, and he created plenty of trouble with subsequent crosses into the area too.

James McCarthy - 7.5

Solid and unspectacular, gets the job done. His tigerish resolve in the midfield is a big part of why the Blues have dominated the midfield this season. Arsenal had no answer to getting past the Irishman and were forced to skip the ball long to get anything going.

Gareth Barry - 7.5

Barry will be wondering what else he needs to do to get in the reckoning for an England World Cup spot. His stranglehold of the midfield with McCarthy has been terrific to watch. One of the two is always at hand whenever the ball is in the middle of the park. His movement on the field is a joy to watch and he was by far the most active player on the field recording 7.8 miles on his odometer yesterday, more than half a mile higher than McCarthy at second-highest.

Leon Osman - incomplete [off 10']

Osman had to leave the field with a wicked cut to the eyelid in the tenth minute, but in that time managed a wicked volley that almost caught out Wojciech Szczesny and then clattered into Bacary Sagna to earn a booking, all in the opening minutes.

Kevin Mirallas - 7.5

The Belgian has rightly received some stick in recent months, especially soon after the holidays. However, he has bounced back to become the livewire that he has always shown flashes of being during this win streak for Everton. Full of running again yesterday, he threatened Arsenal's fragile midfield time and again and his pace left the struggling Londoners for dead more than once. Deserved to have his name chalked beside Everton's third goal, which Mikel Arteta would be glad to get off his record.

Romelu Lukaku - 8 [off 86']

Very few teams in the Premier League have a striker that combines power and finesse like the young Belgian. Lukaku was too much for Nacho Monreal to handle and was a menace to the lumbering centerbacks Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen as well. Controlled Baines' cross magnificently to shoot on goal, but saw Szczesny save his effort before Naismith potted the Blues first. The second goal was a thing of wonder as he drove in from the right and evaded two tacklers before driving his shot home. Could have had more were it not for the heroics of Szczesny in the Arsenal goal.

Steven Naismith - 7.5 [off 81']

The Scotsman has done a wonderful job winning over the skeptical Everton fans in the last month or so. He is in the form of his life and has rediscovered it playing just off the shoulder of Lukaku. Naismith is an excellent runner off the ball, always getting into favorable positions - there was no luck to his first goal, he was perfectly placed when he saw Lukaku winding up to shoot. Even on the second goal, he ran across the face of the goal as he saw Lukaku cutting in, possibly obscuring Szczesny and creating confusion in the Arsenal ranks.

Ross Barkley - 8 [on 10']

Fans might have been surprised to see Barkley start on the sidelines, but Martinez has been so good with team selection that few will doubt his use of the bench. Barkley had a gamechanging performance after coming on early for the injured Osman. He had terrorized Mathieu Flamini the last time the two met in December, and this time the youngster brought his energy to bear on the entire impotent Gunners midfield. Got into a bit of a spat against former fan favorite Arteta and was lucky to stay out of Martin Atkinson's book.

Aiden McGeady - incomplete [on 81']

Came on for mop-up duty with just minutes to go, had a chance to score as well as Arsenal were limply hanging on in the end.

Gerard Deulofeu - incomplete [on 86']

Fans would have left Goodison thinking what might have been. Had Deulofeu gotten the opportunity to run at the hapless Arsenal left wing, the carnage could have been worse. Oh well, some things will remain a mystery.

Roberto Martinez - 9

Had the boys well-prepared and ready to play. Hard to tell what could have resulted had Osman stayed on the pitch, but deserves all the kudos he can get for the master stroke of placing Lukaku out wide on the right and starting Naismith as a 'false 9'. Much has been said about his promise to take Everton to the Champions League, but the Spaniard is starting to look like he knew what he was talking about all along.