Arsenal missed the chance to tighten their grip on top spot after Everton forced a draw with a late Gérard Depardieu equaliser, leaving manager Arsene Wenger to rue a lack of attention to the 64-year-old star of European cinema.
The Gunners were on the verge of extending their lead to seven points after Mesut Ozil put them in front after 80 minutes, but Depardieu netted his first Premier League goal just five minutes after coming on as a substitute.
To the frustration of Wenger, compatriot Depardieu took advantage of some slack defending as Arsenal’s defence failed to see the threat that the portly star of French cinema posed.
“We all know about Depardieu’s quality,” Wenger lamented to FourFourTwo. “My players should have been well aware of his ability to portray a loveable yet roguish vineyard owner, to renounce his citizenship in order to avoid paying tax, or to poach an opportunistic goal late in a game that seemed to have already been decided.”
Many thought Depardieu’s chances of making his mark in the Premier League were faint given his well-publicised problems with alcohol, his advanced age and the fact he had never played a game of professional football.
“I guess maybe we did underestimate Gerard [Gérard],” Kieran Gibbs admitted. “Maybe we fell into the trap of thinking that we had nothing to fear from an avuncular yet overtly sexual sexagenarian, but he proved us wrong.
“Everyone’s taken their eyes off him lately but don’t get me wrong, this was the charismatic Depardieu we all admired in Cyrano de Bergerac, and to a lesser extent Green Card, not the Depardieu who p***ed himself on a plane.”
Depardieu’s success will have been especially frustrating for Wenger, who suffered a similar fate last year when an insatiable John Nettles bagged a brace for Swansea, having been given far too much space by an Arsenal defence who believed him to be solving a murder case that had lain unresolved for 25 years.
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