Saturday 10 December 2016

Arsene Wenger Focus

Published 19/03/2016 | 15:16

Arsene Wenger was in a relaxed mood at Goodison Park
Arsene Wenger was in a relaxed mood at Goodison Park

Arsene Wenger took his out-of-sorts Arsenal side to Goodison Park on Saturday on the back of a run of one win in eight games.

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Having been dumped out of the FA Cup and then the Champions League in four days, the pressure on the Frenchman's position was growing with the Gunners still 11 points adrift of Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at how the man who has held the Arsenal post since 1996 fared on Merseyside with their slim title hopes hanging in the balance.

SELECTION

Alex Iwobi, fresh from being given the nod at the Nou Camp in midweek, was handed a first Premier League start by Wenger while Francis Coquelin replaced Mathieu Flamini at the base of the visitors' midfield. The decision to opt for the former across a fluid front line proved inspired as he slotted in a brilliant goal just before the interval.

TACTICS

Everton boss Roberto Martinez had suggested this contest between two possession-based sides would be decided by fine margins, yet the gaping holes in the Toffees' defence meant the visitors ran away it. An early goal always helps but Wenger did not need to make too many alterations during the game, relying on the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Iwobi to drift on the counter.

DEMEANOUR

There was an ease about Wenger on the touchline, probably due to the ease with which his men tore apart their hosts in the opening 45 minutes. There was a mini jig and large smile after Danny Welbeck broke the deadlock seven minutes in and the lack of a big coat meant there were no pesky zipper issues to contend with either.

SUPPORT

The travelling fans were in good spirit, even inquiring whether they were in The Emirates during one quiet spell, though support, or criticism, of Wenger was left off their repertoire of songs. After many disappointing days of late, this was not an afternoon for the Wenger out brigade to be heard.

Press Association

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