Everton 1 – 1 Arsenal: A good point to follow a bad one

Seeing as this was a six-pointer, can we have two points for the draw?
To be honest, both sides will feel a singular point is a small return for what was an incredibly hard-fought game.  Our team looked a little leggy going in to it – God knows what they must feel like now.  Our early goal gave us a platform in the game, but you have to credit Everton for the way they fought back to dominate.  We had a few good chances on the counter, but Everton had a decent shout for a penalty, and overall you’d have to call 1-1 a fair result.  A draw at Goodison Park is never a bad result – it’s just a shame we didn’t go in the game with the cushion of three points at Villa Park.

Theo Walcott’s stats continue to impress…
His goal tally is now in to double figures for the season – he’s on a great run and it’s manifesting in his vastly improved finishing.  It’s been pointed out that he isn’t contributing hugely to our build-up play, but for me that simply underlines the fact that although he is deployed wide, he essentially plays as a striker.  His game is more about movement off the ball than intricate passing on it, and the fundamental flaws in his technique make that unlikely to change anytime soon.  Nevertheless, it’s hard to argue with the efficiency of his game.  He’s probably our most in-form player, and has abandoned his usual humility to talk himself up now.  That’s no bad thing – I like a bit of confidence – but I can’t help but feel he’s probably advertising himself to potential suitors as well as attempting to convince Arsenal to up their offer.

Defensively, this was our best performance for some time…
The early injury to Laurent Koscielny might have disrupted us, but aside from one aberration on the Everton goal, we were very solid indeed.  Kieran Gibbs’ injury doesn’t seem to have disrupted his good early season form, whilst Per Mertesacker continues to be remarkably consistent.  Credit is due, however, to two players who’ve been criticised in recent months: Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny.  The pair probably had their best games of the season to help keep the Blue tide at bay.  With Koscielny out for the next three weeks, let’s hope this performance marks the start of a better run of form for the skipper.

The period between now and Janaury will be crucial…
In that time we play six league games, four of which are at home.  The two away games are at Reading and Wigan.  The home games are against Swansea, WBA, West Ham and Newcastle.  It is no exaggeration or disrespect to the teams involved to say that we should be looking to win every single one of those games.  We’ve come through a tricky-looking November relatively unscathed, and are actually unbeaten since losing to Manchester United at the start of the month.  Now it’s time to ramp up the momentum with some wins.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.