MATCH REPORT : ARSENAL 3-2 EVERTON
Everton’s ability to throw away good positions in matches reared its head again here as the Blues threw away a great chance of a significant victory in North London.
Everton arrived at The Emirates looking to break one of the longest runs in top flight football, the Blues being without a win at Arsenal since 1996. That run really should have been ended in this game as Carlo Ancelotti’s men wasted great opportunities to take home three points.
Since the sides last met in December, the day when both Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta were confirmed as their clubs new managers, both have improved significantly. Ancelotti has built upon the good foundations that Duncan Ferguson started, whilst Arteta has overseen a 10 match unbeaten run.
The game itself got off to an electric start for Everton after just 50 seconds, when David Luiz didn’t deal with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s set-piece. The ball looped up off the Brazilian and Dominic Calvert-Lewin brilliantly executed a perfect scissor kick past Bernd Leno and into the net. It was exactly what Ancelotti would have wanted.
Everton had Arsenal on the rack in the opening 15 minutes and ex Gunner Alex Iwobi should really have hit the target after a great counter attack that ended with him sidefooting over.
Arsenal lost left back Sead Kolasinac after he landed on his shoulder after a challenge with Djibril Sidibe. However, that injury worked in Arsenal’s favour as the introduction of Bukayo Saka’s gave the home side some energy and craft down the left hand side.
A few minutes after coming on as a substitute the youngster delivered an exquisite whipped cross from which youngster Eddie Nketiah tapped in the equaliser. It was Saka’s 10th assist of the season. From Everton’s perspective both Alex Iwobi and Yerry Mina could have done better.
It got worse for Everton 6 minutes later when there was no pressure on David Luiz and he was allowed to thread a ball inside Sidibe. That pass released Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and once he was through there was really only going to be one outcome and placed his shot wide of Jordan Pickford to give Arsenal the lead.
Everton got themselves level in injury time thanks to a Richarlison goal. A corner from Leighton Baines was flicked on by Iwobi and sliced clear but when Yerry Mina headed on Sigurdsson’s miscue, Richarlison extended a leg to divert beneath Leno.
Everton came out for the second half ready to impose themselves again but this time it was the hosts who scored early. Aubameyang grabbed his second goal of the game, heading in Nicolas Pépé’s cross with the second half less than half a minute old. Again Everton will look at why they didn’t stop the cross, Baines in particular and Sidibe should have been closer but it was an excellently taken goal. Aubameyang is Arsenal’s stand out talent and his goal proved decisive after Leno made some vital late stops.
Everton attacked in waves during the last quarter of the game and a draw was the least they should have taken from this game. Had it not been for Leno they would have done so.
Arsenal were far too open and seemed that Everton had drawn level again after Richarlison nodded down for Calvert-Lewin and with the whole goal to aim at he hit it straight at Leno.
Leno then denied Richarlison after Fabian Delph’s cross shot found the Brazilian. Then Richarlison slid the ball into Calvert-Lewin but he failed to connect from 3 yards out.
Arsenal almost added a fourth after Pickford took an unnecessary risk and gave the ball away Nketiah hitting the bar as a result.
But there was still time for Calvert-Lewin to miss another glorious opportunity following a brilliant Bernard cross but the striker glanced a header just wide.
Final Score : Arsenal 3-2 Everton
How they lined up :