Everton remained unchanged personnel wise from the side that drew with Chelsea at the weekend with Rodwell playing off Saha up front in a 4-4-1-1 system; the only slight tweak was Rodwell and Arteta interchanging as the furthest forward support to the main striker. Arsenal played in their usual 4-2-3-1 system with the support for Van Persie coming from Fabregas (central) Rosicky (left) and Walcott (right).
Fellaini dominant first half
Not for the first time of late, Marouanne Fellaini was the main man in the first 45 minutes, winning 8 out of his 10 tackles and with a pass completion average of a whopping 87%. The second half witnessed his tackle completion dropping to just 3 out of 6 and his pass completion dropping to 70%.
The dominance of the Belgian over the entire game in the first period was enough to see the Blues take a deserved lead through the revitalised Louis Saha following good work down the right from Coleman although the Frenchman looking in an offside position when put through. It was a richly deserved lead and the Blues passing in the Arsenal half was very impressive as was the pressing from midfield.
Blues sit back and passing deteriorates
The second half began with the Blues sitting further back inside their own half and conceding countless fouls around our 18 yard line in the face of growing Arsenal pressure. It was a similar story to the victory at Man City with the Blues seemingly happy with their lead and opting to defend what we had. Unfortunately it couldn’t last and we capitulated conceding 2 goals in five crazy second half minutes. Notice how in the below graph our pass completion lunges alarmingly from a steady 70-80% throughout to 54% in the period Arsenal claimed both goals?
With regard to the winning goal from Koscielny, you expect Arsenal to pull defenders out of position and play through you but headers from corners you most certainly do not…. inexplicably bad defending from the Blues here. Moyes went 4-3-3 with Anichebe and Fellaini up front with Saha and a more direct approach for the last 10 minutes but it was to no avail as the Blues let a winning advantage slip for the 10th time this season. Such a disappointing end to a night which promised so much.