Better Late than Never!
Some teams make a good habit of turning the tables on their opponents as the clock ticks down, but Demarai Gray’s majestic goal against Arsenal was - somewhat amazingly - Everton’s first injury-time winner since spring 2010, against Fulham. Bizarrely, the Toffees goal scorer that day was none other than the man in the opposition dugout last night, Mikel Arteta. Being able to keep battling on beyond the regulation 90 minutes and finding the composure and energy to win the game at that late stage is a decent sign for any team.
A World Class Performance
Richarlison is a player whose performance on the pitch is often dictated by his passions. Straight from the kick off against Arsenal at a windswept and rainy Goodison park, it was apparent that the mercurial Brazilian was in the mood, leading the press, making tackles and generally being a nuisance to the visitor’s defence and midfield. The forward was far more involved than is normally the case when he is tasked with leading the line, touching the ball 47 times, the most he’s managed since the opening week of the season. He maintained his effort and concentration all match, shrugging off the disappointment of seeing 2 goals chalked off by VAR review, the second very questionably, to finally find the net and play his part in a memorable victory.
Richarlison's game by numbers vs. Arsenal:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 6, 2021
8 duels won
6 touches in opp. box
4 chances created
4 take-ons attempted
3 take-ons completed
3 tackles made
2 fouls won
And two disallowed goals. pic.twitter.com/igQGJ6NoAV
Resilience and Fight
Early in the season, Rafa Benitez’ Everton had shown the ability to rescue points from a losing situation, something which had become unfamiliar to Blues fans in recent years. With the team’s slump in form and performance, this had faded from view, but under the lights Monday night that resolve and character was back with a vengeance, as the home team overcame a 1-0 deficit to equalize and then secure a stunning winner in added time. The Toffees now lead the premier league in winning 10 points from losing positions this season.
A Timely Visitor
With the mood around Goodison Park taking a turn for the worse in recent weeks - mirroring the form of the team - the arrival of Arsenal, riding high in the league under young manager Arteta filled many home fans with some dread. After the humbling by city rivals Liverpool mere days ago and with enormous pressure on both the players and beleaguered boss Benitez, the reaction from the team was as unexpected as it was welcome. The Merseysiders have not registered 3 straight victories against the Gunners, their best winning streak against that particular opponent since way back in 1986!
Bargain of the Season?
Although Richarlison’s man-possessed performance earned him the nod for player of the match in the view of most Blues fans, Gray deserved almost equal praise. The bargain-basement £1.7m summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen has added what has long been in short supply at Everton: direct, controlled running with the ball at pace. Add end product and this season, at the age of 25 it is looking more and more likely that he is developing into a consistent and confident operator and far more of a £40m star player than the almost-free squad option that it appeared the Blues were bringing in.