- Leandro Trossard scored the only goal in Arsenal’s narrow 1-0 win over Everton.
- The Gunners claimed their first win against the Toffees at Goodison Park since 2017
- Listen to the latest episode of the Mail Sport podcast “It’s All Kicking Off”
Arsenal maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with Leandro Trossard’s goal earning them a narrow 1-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
Trossard scored just 21 minutes from time to break the home side’s resistance, the Belgian shooting over after a well-worked corner.
This result ended Arsenal’s barren run at Goodison Park, a ground on which the Gunners had failed to win since 2017.
Mikel Arteta had chosen the match to change his starting line-up with notable inclusions of David Raya and Fabio Vieira in place of Aaron Ramsdale and Kai Havertz.
Below, Mail Sports ISAAN KHAN recaps three things we learned from the clash on Merseyside, ahead of Arsenal’s return to Champions League action this week.
Raya’s selection begins battle to become Arsenal’s number 1
It’s becoming common to eagerly wait for the Arsenal team sheet to see what new surprise Mikel Arteta has revealed.
First there was the perplexity of leaving out Gabriel Magalhaes in consecutive games, starting Thomas Partey at right-back, and then the continued selection of Kai Havertz.
Yesterday, the manager threw another curveball from his box of tricks: a start for goalkeeper David Raya, in place of Aaron Ramsdale.
It was always inevitable that he would start at some point. The Gunners’ busy schedule, including the return of the Champions League, had motivated the Spaniard’s signing.
But starting Raya in his fifth league match of the season? This was definitely not planned.
He didn’t have much to do, only having one shot on target. His qualities as a sweeping keeper, however, were evident, finding himself near the halfway line on several occasions. It’s a quality his manager admires. The clean sheet will also have done wonders for Raya’s confidence.
It will now be intriguing to see who among Raya and Ramsdale will pull on the No.1 jersey over the next three weeks, with matches against PSV, Lens, Tottenham and Manchester City taking place in that period.
Whoever does so will surely be Arteta’s main goalkeeper for the campaign.
Fabio Vieira impresses after replacing Kai Havertz
Arteta is often resolute in his ways. The feeling of the fans does not cloud his judgment or his feelings towards the players. Havertz was an example.
Much noise persisted ahead of the Manchester United game, calling for the manager to drop Havertz. At the same time, Fabio Vieira was loudly knocking on the door for a place in the starting XI.
However, yesterday we showed why dropping the German for Vieira was the right decision and why he will play an important role for Arsenal this season.
The first 20 minutes had already seen the Portuguese playmaker at the forefront of the Gunners’ play.
Two of his through passes were canceled for offside, the latter having anticipated Gabriel Martinelli whose strike was then canceled out.
Later in the match his link-up play emerged, which contributed to Leandro Trossard’s winning goal and stretched Everton’s midfield into difficult areas.
Vieira was lively throughout and further exacerbated the headache Arteta now has over how he reintroduces Havertz into the starting XI.
It will be difficult, Vieira having performed well each time he was called upon.
Fans in droves affectionately signing “Vieira, woahh”, which was heard once again, will only add to the feeling that he must remain a starter.
The talent to win and not be frustrated
The most successful teams in football all share the same characteristic: the knack of winning, regardless of their performance in a match.
Arsenal obviously displayed this trait. Their refusal to become frustrated by misfortune or lack of shots on goal will only stand them in good stead going forward.
Take for example the difficult situation at halftime. They had enjoyed 78% possession, but saw Martinelli’s goal ruled offside.
There were also a series of challenges for which Everton had escaped punishment. This included Beto’s elbow to Vieira’s face and Vitalii Mykolenko’s late challenge to slam Bukayo Saka.
This, alongside the unwanted record of not having won at Goodison Park since October 2017, could have seen the north London club feeling sorry for themselves ahead of the second half.
This was not the case. From the restart there was a feeling that Arsenal would not leave Merseyside without a victory by any means necessary.
Which is why, when Trossard’s goal arrived, there was a feeling of inevitability rather than gratitude.
It’s a cruelty that hasn’t always been ingrained in the Gunners of old. How times have changed.
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