Thomas Vermaelen may have his critics. Not quite the centre back with the best anticipatory instincts, he always seems to be reactive in his responses, caught in between no man's land and Van Diemen's land. There is enough footage to prove that statement true.
Give Vermaelen credit because he's also come up with all the big goals when needed most, it seems as compensation for his defensive shortcomings. He's the next best thing to RVP, literally, when it comes to scoring. And so it was with Everton on a set piece as Vermaelen powered in a header from the corner giving Arsenal an early lead and as it turned out the winning goal. George Graham would be rightly proud with the very recent incarnation of an Arsenal eking out unglamorous wins.
Aaron Ramsey back in the squad had two glorious opportunities spurned, once through his own profligacy, the second through some superb last ditch defending by Tony Hibbert. Arsenal were dominant in the first half but Everton were desperately unlucky when a perfectly good Nikica Jelavic goal was ruled offside. That was not the end of the erroneous offside decisions as fully five of them were called. Referees and linesman once again proved they have the foggiest when it comes to the offside rule or now termed Offsidegate.
Everton poured back in the second half but the much maligned Arsenal defense pulled off a magnificent display. The Gunners also benefited from Chelsea falling to City and was Spurs drew Stoke, went ahead of their bitterest North London wannabes with a point to save. It is now Arsenal in third place. A perfect evening as they say.