Leighton Baines has rejected any complaints from Arsenal over the extent of Everton’s physical approach during the goalless draw between the sides on Tuesday, the
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger suggested Darron Gibson should have seen red for a challenge of Theo Walcott shortly after the Ireland midfielder had been booked, while an already-riled Jack Wilshere had to be held back from confronting Kevin Mirallas after the Belgium winger accidentally squirted water in Wilshere’s face at half-time.
Baines – who believes the draw was a result fair on both teams – denies there was any intention to target Arsenal with rough challenges. Rather, Baines insists, it was simply Everton’s natural game that the Gunners could not handle.
“A point was probably fair. We put in such a high level of work – I have been here many times before and they have definitely created more chances,” Baines said.
“Getting stuck in was not something that we spoke about. Wherever we go, the opposition will know that they will be in for a game against us. The work-rate the players put in is there to be seen.
“But I don’t think they can have any complaints about the physical side of it. I don’t think there was anything (nasty) in the whole game from what I can remember. We are not a side that people don’t enjoy playing against at every level. We have a little bit to the team.”
Baines added that it is the balance between hard play and technical quality that has taken Everton into contention for a Champions League place – and is also what makes them so difficult to play against.
The Toffees are currently sixth, four points behind Arsenal, who dropped to fourth following Chelsea’s win over Fulham on Wednesday.
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