Everton 1-6 Arsenal: Dream debut for super-charged Vermaelen

Everton 1-6 Arsenal: Dream debut for super-charged Vermaelen

Everton 1 (Saha 90)
Arsenal 6 (Denilson 26, Vermaelen 37, Gallas 41, Fabregas 48, Fabregas 69, Eduardo 88)

Minute-by-Minute | Video Highlights | Wenger Interview

Vermaelen's supreme aggression made up for his lack of height

Match Review

As a first game for the season I don’t think you can ask for much more than that. 6-1 over Everton – at Goodison Park – and the sort of statement of intent that we were all hoping our boys would make. Thomas Vermaelen played well on his debut and even managed to score, the 4-3-3 worked tremendously well and a potentially difficult first round was made to look like a walk in the park.

As is the norm for opening fixtures the opening part of the game was a scrappy affair as both teams attempted to feel each other out. But once Denilson scored with a terrific strike it was Arsenal’s game. Vermaelen made his mark with a fine header from Robin van Persie’s free-kick while centre-back partner William Gallas repeated the trick with another headed finish from Cesc Fabregas’ delivery.

At 3-0 and with the points in the bag it would have been understandable for Fabregas’ boys to take the foot off the peddle, but the captain was having none of it as he scored two wonderful counter-attacking goals after the break. The first saw Fabregas finish off a fine move involving Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and van Persie while the Spaniard ran a full 40 yards to fire home his second and Arsenal’s fifth from outside the box.

Substitute Eduardo got the sixth after Arshavin hit the post while Everton did manage to pull back a late goal when Louis Saha scored. In truth though, it was no consolation as Arsene Wenger’s men produced the sort of performance and result that surely indicates they will be more of a threat for the Premiership than many pundits are expecting.

Talking Points

I watched this game at 2.30am in Australia with a group of 15 or so die-hard Arsenal fans at the Pig ‘n Whistle Riverside in Brisbane and every single one of us was blown away by the performance by the lads. To score six goals at Goodison Park was more than we could have hoped for and although it would be foolish to get ahead of ourselves, to write this off as nothing less than a freak result would be a great disservice to Arsene Wenger and his players who had clearly prepared themselves well for the game.

Going into the game I was particularly interested in the performances of four players; Vermaelen on his debut as well as Song, Denilson and Ol’ Pinky, Nicklas Bendtner; and I think it’s fair to say that none of them disappointed.

Vermaelen looked a strong player from the moment he launched himself over Marouane Fellaini just ten seconds into the game. He continued in that manner throughout the game, consistently challenging in the air a manner that suggested he had a point to prove. There will rarely be more difficult aerial opponents in the Premier League than Fellaini and Jo and apart from a couple times when he was beaten, Vermaelen was dominant. In terms of debuts this was one to remember and if he continues to show this sort of form then he’s set to become a firm favourite among the Arsenal supporters.

The Belgian was my Man of the Match given the pressure that he was under and the manner in which he performed but he was run a close second by Alex Song. The Cameroon man started in the position that suits his game so well – at defensive-midfield – and he was excellent throughout, harassing the Everton midfield and generally making the centre of the park his own. Song’s performance gave Fabregas and Denilson the freedom to roam forward and with three goals coming from the pair, including Denilson’s sensational opener, it’s fair to say the Cameroon man made his mark.

I have to admit the performance of Denilson surprised me yesterday. I make no bones about the fact that I’ve doubted his qualities throughout his time at Arsenal but for the first time in his time at the club I really thought he looked the part. I do feel that a large part of that came down to him being allowed to move further with Song behind him but the most telling improvement I saw in his game was an increase in confidence and a real will to make his mark in the final third. It was a very encouraging performance by the Brazilian and the goal will also do him the world of good.

Finally, Mr Bendtner. He looked sharp, didn’t he? I’m expecting big things from #52 this season and I firmly believe his excellent performance will not be a one off. He made Leighton Baines look like a mug for the first goal and looked, on the whole, a lot lighter on his feet than in previous times and a lot more decisive in the final third. He’s never going to be the sort of player where everything comes off for him a la Arshavin, but if he continues to put the sort of effort he did at Goodison Park then it’s going to be a great season for the Dane. 

It would be unfair to finish up without mentioning captain Fabregas, particularly given my comment in the season preview that he will need to score more goals if we are to win a trophy this season. There was something very Freddie Ljungberg about his first of the afternoon and I believe with the change in formation there will be a lot more of those type of goals to come. He was particularly strong in the defensive area of the game too, Fabregas, and all-in-all enjoyed a tremendous afternoon.

Final thoughts

Overall this was both a tremendous result and an equally as impressive performance by Arsenal. While there’s no point going over the top about the win – it’s only three points after all! – there’s no doubt that it will give our players a big boost going into a particularly difficult part of the season. It also sent out a clear message to the Premiership (and Parkhead) that we mean business this season.

I should add as my final comment that it would be a huge shame to see us fail to bring in another player or two before the transfer window closes. In my mind opinion we have a bloody good chance of challenging for the league this season however I just do not feel it will be possible to be at the top in May without at least one more defensive-minded player. There’s no denying that both Song and Vermaelen and our team as a whole looked brilliant on Everton but if we fail to strengthen it is going to put an unneccesary amount of pressure on a particular few players to stay fit throughout the season.

In saying that I don’t want to prevent anyone from enjoying the positive feelings that come with such an impeccable start to the new Premier League campaign. Arsenal have made their statement and every single Arsenal FC Blogger from around the world should be extremely happy about that.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the Arsenal FC Weekly podcast. Enjoy your week!

Have your say on Arsenal’s fantastic 6-1 win over Everton by leaving a comment.

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46 Responses to “Everton 1-6 Arsenal: Dream debut for super-charged Vermaelen”

  1. salman
    August 17, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    yeah it was a great performance the only problem remaining is finding the consistency invincibles had but ithnk we will manage to do it as the likes of big nick, denilson, song looked very mature go gunerz

  2. Lakeside Gunner
    August 17, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    Seriously bro, you need to quit harping about bringing in new players, get off the new players or trophy bandwagon come on! Which manager came up trumps after the first round? Which manager had to deal with whining fans constantly bleating about how we need to spend to win? ARSENE BABY! Not only did he stick to his fiscal principles, he scored the heaviest win on opening day.. What more do you want? Just accept him as your MANager and say out loud ‘In Arsene We Trust’

  3. Cleture
    August 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    All I feel is the greatness of being an Arsenal fan just like in the good old days. Liverpool lost to spurr, manu struggled to win, chevski from the jaws of defeat. Hmmmmm Arsenal won scoring 6 goals. Arsène will sign two more a striker and a DM. Though I do not like Cameroon to qualify for the ACN claro. In Arsène we trust. Hasta mañana!

  4. Hans
    August 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    is Fabregas considering moving?
    The British news seemed to tout this thougt. any truth?
    thanx

  5. Isaac Mugerwa Arsenal Fan 4ever
    August 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks to Arsene Wenger,
    and his team here in Uganda we have been having question how Da gunnerz will perform but to me it is a good and encouraging start and I am sure we are not ending the season trophiles
    We can take the titles if we keep the pace and avoid injuries.
    Arsenal is a good team but it is affected by Injuries lets play…
    Isaac (Uganda)

  6. Rajesh
    August 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    One other very interesting feature of the game was the way we pressed and harried Everton every time they had the ball. The work rate put in by everyone, not least by the front three, was impressive. When was the last time we saw Arsenal pressing so hard. Real Madrid when we beat them 1-0 a few years back?

  7. Arsenal For Life
    August 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    We are looking strong but the one thing we seem to lack in is CONSISTENCY. Not to add negativity but we need to maintain our form to win trophies. But lets see how things turn out. If we carry on with these sort of results then the title is ours! Come on the Gunners

  8. Xabier
    August 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    How can we lack consistency? Sorry but, your logic isn’t even logic.

    We have to play more than one game before we can assess the issue of consistency. hehe

  9. billy
    August 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    I DONT CARE WHO SAYS WHAT. WE WON AND WE WON IN STYLE. WITH LIVERPOOL AND MAN U PLAYING THE WAY THEY PLAY NOW, I SEE ARSENAL,CHELSEA, MAN CITY AND MAYBE TOTENHAM IN THE TOP FOUR THIS SEASON. WE SERIOUSLY HAVE TO WATCH OUT FOR SMALLER CLUBS LIKE FULLHAM & STOKE CITY.

  10. IYKE OHAEGBULA
    August 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    ONES AGAIN OUR BOYS PROVED BOOK MAKERS WRONG.OUR BOYS OF YESTERDAY ARE NOW MEN. WE JUST PRAY THEY REMAIN CONSISTENT AND STAY INJURY FREE.WENGER WILL SURELY BRING IN ONE OR TWO MORE PLAYERS B4 31ST AUGUST.

  11. Dan
    August 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    i think the game was extremely good. i never imagined it would be with that scoreline, i really love this team.
    however it is just one game in to the season, consistency in football is the key, and for that i hope that the manager(AW)is going to sign one or two players especially in defence. not saying what we have ios not good, but this is a contigency measure incase one is injured as we have seen before.nevertheless,it was a good game to watch.

  12. Gibbs
    August 17, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    Agreed Andy, its important for us not to get carried away and im glad the players understand that. We have a long season ahead of us, lets take it one game at a time. Great start though.

    I also think we have to sign more defensive players before the transfer window closes. Squad debth is the most important thing in a marathon like the EPL and im afraid we are lacking in that department.

    PS. billy and Iyke – lay off the caps people, its really annoying when you do that.

  13. Gapuchi
    August 17, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    I’m not naive, and it is only one match – and I DO think we need strengthening BUT, you know from where I was sitting I couldn’t hear any anti-Wenger talk, but I did hear the chants of ‘there’s only one Arsene Wenger’.

    God, those ‘plastic fans’ get everywhere, don’t they,all the dopplegangers). As for the ‘silent majority’: I didn’t hear them but then again I didn’t see anyone that was silent. I did hear some sobbing, though.

    At first I thought it was the scousers, but on closer inspection it was BSboy and someone sitting in his pocket talking gibberish – something about ‘imbeciling’ and folly-statements’ and I’m sure some mumbling about ‘depilating’ footballers (each to their own perversities, I suppose).

    the truth does hurt – it hurts those that seek to distort and those that dissemble. 6-1 to the boring Arsenal – wonderful. And ‘Lescott for Scotland’ – priceless.

  14. Ben Wright
    August 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    He will sign two or three backup players to add a bit more depth to an awesome first team.

  15. Thula
    August 17, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    hail the new Belgian defender, Vermaelen.that guy is very powerful and is in the mould of Nemanja Vidic.Powerful headers man.What a blessing in disguise, because if Toure was around, Vermaelen would have started from the Bench and we would have conceeded a lot of goals through headers last saturday.remember the goal against Hull city last season and that led to a bust up with Gallas.Toure has surely past his prime and we have fetched a lot from his sale 15k.watched out for the young guns this season.

  16. billi_the_kid
    August 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    I have difficulties in not getting too euphoric, hope the guys are better in it

  17. Filipino Dan
    August 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Great performance. Beyond what we could have dreamed. let’s hope we get some cover in for Song and I’ll be happy at that.

    Roll on Celtic park…

  18. enemyairships
    August 17, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    Exquisite result. Let’s hope it’s one we can replicate 37 more times in the league this year.

  19. Andy
    August 17, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    @ Lakeside Gunner – I don’t really understand your criticism of my statement that we still need to buy players. In no way have I doubted Wenger or criticised the players we currently have, I just feel that we need at least one more defensive player to give us a real chance of winning the league. I think it would be a real shame with the quality of players that we have to miss out on the big trophy simply because we failed to sign one more player.

  20. GunnersMan
    August 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    What a start! We’ll see how we go against tougher opposition, or at least a side without disgruntled CBs.

    I loved how the Everton defenders basically just stood around and watched Cesc score his second goal with Fellaini’s half-hearted attempt at tracking back, then just letting Cesc get on with scoring.

    Better opponents there will be, but what a way to create positive team spirit for the next matches.

  21. khator
    August 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    even we get hope and some cover but i think we some to help song because he is go to play Africa cup.

  22. Preencemeka
    August 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Splendid performance. I was really impression cos prior to the game, no one gave the chance but we proved them wrong.
    @ ya’ll – does any1 know much about van der vart(hope i got dat right) cos i read on goal.com that we’ve made a bid for him for €7 million. How good is he ya’ll?

  23. DAPO
    August 17, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    i think we need 2 buy coverups incase of injuries, but which defender will want to b 4th choice (gallas,vermalen, djourou), and any any dm good enof that will want to b 2nd choice behind song…….thats d dillema

  24. tina
    August 17, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    Good performance.Kudos 2 everyone.4 the 1st time in my life i can’t pin point a ‘man of the match’ coz 2 me everyone performed well,wholeheartedly and went beyond my xpectations.Let’s keep up with that and 2 my fellow gunners,keep the faith and support our boys!

  25. guyfrmars
    August 17, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    no complaints! no request!
    just happy football is back and gunners are playing!

  26. ALGunner
    August 17, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    Just can’t believe the pundits and the media by saying that arsenal were not good. It was just the everton were too bad on that day. I would like to just say that they have some vision problem are they are suffering from Arsenal blindness it is an disease interrelated to Night blindness. Everton were just blown apart by arsenal midfield and Especially by CB. The boys were just so hungry they were sliding in for tackle and ever not allowing the space and time in the midfield. Arsenal were pressing Everton so much that they were unable to handle the pressure. As far Everton are concern to be bad. Boy can somebody tell them they one type of an game throw the ball in the air head it and look for pieces. Which arsenal didn’t allow to happen. Go on Arsenal. Thanks for Shutting most of the arsenal supporter including me and some outsiders. Pls Gunners Don’t comment about ADE anymore he is no more an gunner. Just hate to know anything about him. CELTIC HERE WE COME

  27. jebo
    August 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    i agree with your final comment, and they have been tremendous in preseasons and in the begining of the league for the past trophy less seasons. so i think it does not imply nothing except a “big boost” for the team.

  28. Preencemeka
    August 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    Splendid performance. I was really impressed cos prior to the game, no one gave us the chance but we proved them wrong.
    @ ya’ll – does any1 know much about van der vart(hope i got dat right) cos i read on goal.com that we’ve made a bid for him for €7 million. How good is he ya’ll?

  29. Ore
    August 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    Honestly, I was impressed. The boys played well but I MUST we CONCEED?
    We must defend flawlessly this season to make sure we lift the silverware this season.
    We did it before, We CAN DO it AGAIN!

  30. jay-jay
    August 18, 2009 at 1:06 am #

    a 6-1 away win at Everton is truly a great achievement and it looked like halfway through the season not the 1st game of the season! We musnt get ahead of ourselves, there are still 37 games to go but it is a big boost for the team, the team look very very sharp and very hungry which is super. 4-3-3 looks settled already and Big Nick on the wing seems to be a genius move by Arsene. If we can carry on this way, we will be in the race for sure which is something we havent been used to for a while, we usually fade out by Christmas except the season when Eduardo got his broken leg where we faded out in March. 2 more signings would be our depth strong and I am really confident.

    @ Preencemeka – Van Der Vaart is a steal at 7 mil and he is a big name that would scare opposition. We are mocked for not having many big name players, but thing is do we need VDV, I wouldnt say no to getting him but if its a choice of VDV or a defensive player I would prefer a defensive player to come in first. Is Hangelaand still in our reach and what about M.Diarra and De Rossi?

  31. Dynamite
    August 18, 2009 at 2:03 am #

    Spanish Fry, I cannot agree with you more. Please beg AW to please not be carried away by this beautiful performance. Remember 2 seasons ago, when we seemed to be cruising to the Shield only to give everything away in January because of lack of depth in the squad. All AW needed was to have bought Alonso and one Defender when he was available and had issues with Benitez … Well keeping fingers crossed …. Let us at least enjoy this party.

  32. henrykissinher
    August 18, 2009 at 2:33 am #

    i watched the match and was very impressed with the way we played as a team and really commited to the match.

    then later that night i watched match of the day on the bbc and was there a mention of vermaelan excellent debut…..no, was there a mention of the team work ethic……no, was there any back peddling by the so called pundits on their writing off arsenals chances…….no, all you got was them saying how bad everton were and the assertion that we were a bit lucky…….wankers.

    i never bought into the whole conspiracy that the media have it in for the goons but i am starting to believe it.

    what a way to open the season. WOO HOO!

  33. shambogunner
    August 18, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    @algunner and henrykissinher…
    those pundits will not change their opinions until wer 4pts plus ahead wit 1 game left in the season as they are bound to their rediculous pre season predictions of our decline and havent got the guts to say maybe they wer wrong so screm them,its the opinions here that matter
    @SF bang on with everything uv said today cudnt agree more…2 back up players wud be a real signal of intent from AW, hangeland and back up for song would be ideal whereas to land VdV wud leave us with an embarassment of att options and would only block the progress of deni,diaby,walcot,ramsey,wilshere and merida
    3pts ahead of pool already and utd and chels very unconvincing..in my opinion unless utd buy it will be a race between ourselves and chelsea as both utd and liverpools squads look short on quality should the inevitable injury and suspensions play their part they will struggle…….’arsenal to drop out of top 4′ i think it more likely to be pool or utd, wot a turn up that wud be.the team ethic on saturday was the most pleasing aspect to me…unity will see us through on those cold winter away days- so f%$k you stan collymore,MoD,andy gray etc u closet haters
    cesc,deni and sagna major doubts for 2mor nite

  34. rocknrolljesus1
    August 18, 2009 at 5:39 am #

    vermaelen was great, arsenal was great

    if wenger will keep this up then we won’t have to bring in anybody

    maybe a midfielder like van der vaart because we have injurys in the mid and we will have injurys later

    we have a lot injurys in every season since wenger started the revolution with young players

    if senderos and silvestre stay we won’t have to bring in a defender

  35. Hugh
    August 18, 2009 at 6:20 am #

    Vermaelen was great but Everton were terrible. The marking on the two free kick goals was atrocious. However, I do think that even with Everton’s poor defending Arsenal were great with passing and movement. Hopefully Arsenal will be able to recreate that form against Celtic, a team that will not let you run 50 yards unchallenged to score (Cesc Fabregas).

  36. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    August 18, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    Some lovely comments – good to see everyone is keeping a level head. In saying that, if you can’t be happy after beating Everton 6-1 away then I don’t think you’ll ever be happy.

    Can’t wait for Celtic on Wednesday morning (Aus Time) and I’ll have a short podcast and a preview in the next post.

  37. elbizarron
    August 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Great stuff all around. Vermaelen and Song looked solid. Denilson looked a lot more comfortable in a less defensive position. But the big surprise for me was Bendtner out wide causing all sorts of havoc. I didn’t think he had it in him to be so effective there.

    I hope the team can show more consistency this year. Looking at the current squad, I’m not quite convinced of that yet. I hope they prove me wrong.

  38. Dan
    August 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    There are 2 areas for which we need to buy more players. Cover at DM – Song is the starter, his performance at Everton made this clear. But if he goes down or when he is away at ACN, we need someone else to fill in and we don’t have anyone. Denilson could fill in there, but that would be a drop in quality and also takes Denilson out of his best position.

    I think we have the same issue at CB. If Vermaele and Gallas continue playing as well as at Everton, again, both are starters no question. But if we get an injury or two, which knowing us, we will. We don’t have the cover.

    I really feel this is the biggest barrier between Arsenal and a trophy, depth and more specifically experienced depth.

    So, pick up 2 more experienced back ups and we’re in with as good a chance as anyone.

  39. GunnerBoss
    August 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    I guess we just TOOK OUR CHANCES WELL, this is Championship stuff,can we be this consistent throughout the season?……..Still no signings?
    @ LAKESIDE GUNNER – Maybe it is lakeside soccer you are used to. You dare say we need no more signings?
    @SPANISH – Another excellent write-up…..the reason I read this blog. Nicely written and all well put in context.
    @SHAMBO – Well done there mate.
    @ICE – Congrats HAMMERS, well done

  40. Onoja Innocent
    August 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    2 more signins and we wil b just fine. D team is gr8 we need coverups to take charge when d chips are down.
    Luv ya all gunners, our guns are smoking real hard.

  41. Anonymous
    August 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    ARSENAL COULD NOT WIN ANY TITLE IF SHAMKHA AND VAN DEVAT NOT SIGN

  42. I mole
    August 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Nice performance for d lad ,kudos 2 vermaleen on his debut ,he was strong but aerially and physically . Hoping d team can destroy celtic 2 get some money of 26 million euro and above, so dat new players can come in

  43. smart conteh
    August 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    it is a very good start but u still meed players at least two one number 6 and a number 5 or 4.the season is too long and we need meny players

  44. freddie
    August 18, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    We needed a tough bast**d like vermaelen – As for the media, forget about them – talk is cheap – we know who we are and who we support – as long as our players have the right attitude and fight for every loose ball we will be ok and our quality will win in the end – If our defenders and midfielders do their jobs Arshavin,Eduardo and Van Persie
    will take care of business – Come on Thomas Rosicky, where are you.

  45. Mark
    August 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    Hi team,
    I must confess that i never expected such score line most especially as it was against a “strong” everton side that on a good day could beat any team in the world. great job guys i just hope that this season we could be more consistent than wa were last season and i believe we will do it this season

  46. Yanuar
    August 19, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    First of all, I wanna say that the result is amazing, really amazing. Everybody is making comment on how amazing is our player, so I don’t need to say that again :p.

    I am disappointed that Everton scored at 90++, this kind of thing can’t happened in our pursuit of the title. 😀

    Go Gunners!!!

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