Everton 2-1 Arsenal analysis: Koeman has unlocked the passion, now it needs to be repeated in Liverpool clash

Everton 2-1 Arsenal analysis: Koeman has unlocked the passion, now it needs to be repeated in Liverpool clash

The Toffees reawakened Goodison Park with a gutsy display to which Arsene Wenger's side had no answer. Ronald Koeman will be hoping for a repeat performance in the Merseyside Derby on Monday night.

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Adam Bailey

It had been 46 days since Everton last won a match and, when the Toffees welcomed high-flying Arsenal to Goodison Park on Tuesday night, many supporters will have entered the stadium fearing the worst.

But it turned out to be a famous night under the lights at Goodison as the Blues came from behind to beat the Gunners in dramatic fashion and secure a result that could prove to be significant for Everton and Ronald Koeman.

A big performance when it was needed the most

This was a night when a big performance was needed by the Blues following a run of just one win in the 10 Premier League games prior to Arsenal's visit. The Toffees duly delivered and produced a gutsy display to which Arsene Wenger's men had no answer; but it is not just the result that was significant, it was the way the Blues came from behind to beat the Gunners.

Ronald Koeman has become irritated in recent weeks by the fact that Everton have become "reactive" and only begun to play after falling behind. The Dutchman had seen his side concede the first goal six times in their nine matches prior to Tuesday night. Koeman was no doubt fuming when six in nine became seven in 10 when Alexis Sanchez's 20th minute free-kick was deflected past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg by Ashley Williams.

And, despite being critical of his side for being too reactive, Koeman would have been impressed with his team's response after falling a goal down. For the first half-hour Everton gave Arsenal too much time and space and were too uninvolved; but that soon changed and put Arsenal on the backfoot.

Everton and Goodison at their best

Goodison played its part; encouraging the players and acknowledging the fight and aggression that the Everton players showed. The supporters got behind Enner Valencia's refusal to give up, Aaron Lennon's threat and the commitment of Idrissa Gueye, James McCarthy and Ross Barkley as they lunged into challenges.

Everton began to show the passion and fight that has been missing over the recent weeks and they were rewarded just before half-time when Seamus Coleman glanced home Leighton Baines' excellent cross.

The Toffees' aggressive performance and goal changed the dynamic of the match and their fight and passion over spilled from the pitch to the mouth of the tunnel at the interval as tempers frayed. This set the tone for the rest of the match and Everton continued to show the aggression, passion and endeavour that had put Arsenal on the back foot at the end of the first-half.

Everton nearly found themselves having to come from behind again; but Mesut Ozil fired over from Sanchez's cross. The Blues showed plenty of grit and determination as they threw everything at trying to find the winner, while at the other end Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams threw themselves in the way of everything Arsenal could come up with.

Williams powered home a late header to complete the turnaround four minutes from time. And, the Toffees showed defensive resilience in the closing stages as Arsenal mounted one final desperate attempt to snatch a draw. If it hadn't been for brilliant last-ditch blocks from Ramiro Funes Mori and Leighton Baines, Everton would have been denied all three points.

A game that would have been greeted with dread can now be greeted with optimism

The home side's elation was soured ever so slightly by the late dismissal of Phil Jagielka. The defender had been recalled to the starting XI having been dropped for the matches with Manchester United and Watford. Jagielka was sent-off for a second bookable offence, which will see the Everton captain miss the Merseyside Derby on Monday night.

The clash with Liverpool was a match that Everton supporters would have been dreading; considering the form of the two sides. However, the Blues can now enter it with plenty of optimism, especially if they can reproduce the same high-intensity and attitude they displayed against Arsenal for the full 90 minutes on Monday.

Not only that, but the Reds, themselves, have had a blip in their form after going 12 matches unbeaten. Bournemouth battled back from 2-0 down at half-time and 3-1 behind with 15 minutes to go to beat Jurgen Klopp's side 4-3, before Liverpool's defensive frailties were once again exposed at the weekend in a 2-2 draw with West Ham United.

The 227th Merseyside Derby sees Ronald Koeman take charge of his first Merseyside Derby and, having unlocked his player's passion against Arsenal on Tuesday, you can expect there to be plenty of passion, fight and aggression on Monday night as Everton and Liverpool battle it out for the city's bragging rights.

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