Arsenal Struggle on Landon Donovan’s Debut for Everton

09 January 2010

Landon Donovan’s first game in Everton colors saw him make a few good runs, a couple of decent tackles, and an assist. However, Donovan made a few shocking tackles (which unlike in MLS were played on by Peter Walton), and has to take some blame in Arsenal’s first equalizer. Everton though had the lead twice only to see it evaporate each time as Arsenal and Everton entertained at a snowy Emirates, ending in a two all draw.

Everton started the brighter of the two sides, with Arsenal’s usually good passing failing them. Despite Landon Donovan being non-existent for the opening minutes, he put his first touch to perfect use. Taking his first corner kick for Everton, Landon looped the ball just outside the six yard box to perfectly meet up with the onrushing, unmarked Leon Osman who’s powerful header was no match for Denilson on the line.

It was at that point Arsenal upped their pressure and it eventually paid off. Close to the half hour, Everton failed with two attempted clearances. After Donovan’s clearance failed, Arsenal’s passing did Everton in. In Arshavin’s only decent move of the match, he found Denilson who’s shot was heading right for Tim Howard. However, Leon Osman’s unlucky touch guided the ball into the net.

The second half saw heavy snow return to London and neither side making any real headway. It was only after Landon Donovan was subbed out in the sixty-ninth minute did the second half get interesting. Arsenal was attacking, but doing nothing with it. Ten minutes from time, Everton took advantage of Arsenal’s attacking nature. Tim Cahill took a cleared ball and found Steven Pienaar in short order running along the center line. From there, it was a solo forty-five yard run finished when he chipped Manuel Almunia to put Everton back in front.

However, Everton again saw heartbreak in a result late. With Arsenal getting desperate in their attack; Diaby found Rosicky who’s shot was again deflected in, this time off Lucas Neill.

For Landon Donovan, it was a promising debut. If he continues to up his level, Everton will have a 90 minute player for the duration of his loan. While some may say he should have played more than the sixty-nine minutes today, I disagree. For his first game back in roughly six weeks, Donovan looked just fine. Had Everton’s defense held late, we could very well be talking about if this was the moment Arsenal went back to typical Arsenal in the winter.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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