31-year-old more vital than Sanchez: Three things we learned about Arsenal in defeat v Everton
By Dominic Toner
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat against Everton in the Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
Koscielny is Arsenal’s most crucial player
Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny produced an assured performance against Everton on Tuesday and will be pivotal in the club’s title challenge. The 31-year-old is the leader in the side and coped without regular centre-back option Shkodran Mustafi. The Gunners do have several attacking stars including Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, but Koscielny is even more integral to the side’s success. The France international battled well against in-form striker Romelu Lukaku and showcased his ability to read the game. He is also extremely comfortable in possession and starts the Arsenal attack with a diagonal switch. Koscielny has been a reliable defender for Arsenal in recent seasons and can be the player to lead a title charge.
Xhaka has settled
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has endured a mixed start since he moved to the Emirates in the summer. The 24-year-old came with a big expectancy after his £30million move from Borussia Monchengladbach and is now beginning to match that price tag. The midfielder looked extremely confident in possession against Everton and showed his fantastic range of passing. He has been criticised for his disciplinary record, but he was very composed and steady against the Toffees. Arsenal have several good options in midfield and Xhaka now appears to be first in the pecking order under manager Arsene Wenger.
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Arsenal don’t have the DNA of champions
Arsenal showed against Everton why they may fall short once again in their bid for the title. Chelsea have shown during their nine-game winning run that you have to grind out results, with a narrow 1-0 win against West Brom at the weekend keeping them at the top of the league table. The Gunners had the chance to overtake them on Tuesday and looked to be in complete control when they lead 1-0 against a nervous Everton side. Arsenal needed to be more ruthless and they allowed the home support to get the better of them. The north London club must now show against Manchester City that they can compete at the top, but the games against Everton are the type they need to win.