A ridiculously sublime finish by Robin Van Persie of a perfectly weighted ball by Alexander Song and Arsenal get past Everton in the 70th minute. The nicest touch thereafter was provided by Thierry Henry in the stands applauding that stunning goal.
A legend with his own statue looking forward to a future legend. It was a great cap on the afternoon's proceedings celebrating the club's 125th anniversary.
As an Arsenal fan, Van Persie's magnificent form this season has made all the difference between a club contending for a top four finish and a club that would be in relegation doldrums. It's been enjoyable seeing RVP flower into such an inventive goalscorer. As an Arsenal fan, I would also be remiss in not being consumed by a nagging fear the spigot might turn off any moment or RVP get injured. That is how frail we are.
We all have to look to the endeavours of Gervinho and Theo Walcott in the wings free wheeling their way through the Everton defense at will but when it came time to scoring, tie themselves in Gordian knots. This should have never been a one goal win. Try a half dozen. The first should have come through when Walcott bursting through with only Tim Howard to beat elected instead to pass to Gervinho, an equal opportunity offender when it comes to wasting simple chances. That set the tone for an afternoon of prodigal misses against a team that looked positively giddy at the prospect of a scoreless half.
Mikel Arteta's evolution as holding midfielder alongside Song with Ramsey patrolling further upfield in the creative role has given the Arsenal midfield less finesse than the Cesc Fabregas led one but it seems to be more adept at breaking up dangerous counterattacks. The Spaniard has an ornery side to him rough housing opposition trying to turn the corner.
Ramsey had an ordinary match showing a heavy touch with the ball. The most penetrating passes came from Arteta and Song, the former putting through Gervinho with the Cote D'Ivoirian bringing off a smart save by Tim Howard keeping a lid on the scoring in the first half. Howard was once again pressed into service in the second half after Walcott with some trickery smashed the ball towards goal but the American held firm. It was status quo till the the 70th minute when Song sprang that assist and a hitherto quiet Van Persie unleashed the goal of the season. Hyperbole, no. Understatement, yes.
The re-jiggered defense featuring four centre backs was quite impeccable. Laurent Koscielny continues to grow in strength. Thomas Vermaelen was prescient in heading a floated cross by Baines with Cahill riding on his back. Per Mertesacker was not bullied into losing the ball. Moyes must have wished he had Yakubu. Djourou survived an injury scare and saw of the threats posed by Bilyatedinov and Baines.
This was a must win because the next two matches will be a deep colonic cleansing of Arsenal's soul. City followed by Villa, both away matches. Mancini's men will be looking to erase their CL disappointment by putting the lumber on Chelsea and Arsenal.