Arsenal miss chance to go third after defeat to Everton


Arsenal travelled to Goodison Park knowing a win would move them above their bitter North London rivals Tottenham. The three points would catapult them into third place and in an impressive position to cement Champions league football next campaign.

However, just ten minutes into the match the Gunners found themselves behind after a Lucas Digne long throw-in caused havoc in the visitor’s penalty area. Arsenal failed to clear the first ball and a scrappy few touches found Phil Jagielka, who was making his first home appearance of the season, free to tap in from just a yard out.

It was the experienced centre-half’s first goal in over two years and left Unai Emery’s side continuing it’s run of not having a single clean sheet on the road this season, the worst record in the league.

With the goal lifting the home crowd and Arsenal once again showing fragility away from home, Everton had their tails up, not letting the visitors establish any sort of foothold in the match. The away side found it difficult to sustain  any controlled possession as the Merseyside outfit continued to rush and hurry them.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was posing a particular threat, with his pace causing the Arsenal back-line problems. Sokratis was booked after a coming together with the England Under-21 starlet. It was the Greek’s tenth booking of the season meaning he will miss the next two games due to suspension.

Image result for everton arsenal

Gomes and Guendouzi battle for possession in a scrappy affair in the first half – Image: The Mirror

In a scrappy first half the Toffees were the ones who seemed to be more up for the fight, largely winning the 50/50 tackles and individual duels. With just one attempt in the first half, Kevin Friends whistle was a welcome noise for the Gunners, who never got going in the 45 minutes.

As he has shown for most of the campaign, Emery was not afraid of making early substitutions at half time in an attempt to turn the tide. The introduction of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Aaron Ramsey immediately gave Arsenal an attacking edge and added creativity, something that was lacking in the first half.

Despite Everton’s impetus seemingly halted, Bernard was gifted a clear cut opportunity ten minutes after the break following a defensive mix up between Bernd Leno and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. An attempted header back to the keeper was cut out by Bernard but his shots was smothered well by the German.

The chance for Bernard allowed the hosts to re-discover their first half rhythm, continuing to press and attempt to double their lead. With the Gunners trying to repair the first half’s damage, Everton began to find themselves in good positions with the game becoming increasingly stretched.

During an end-to-end spell, Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a glorious chance to ease Marco Silva’s sides nerves, ghosting into the box and finding himself running onto a cutback cross. However, his effort was straight into the grateful hands of Bernd Leno.

Everton continued to let opportunities pass them by through the likes of Richarlison, Theo Walcott and Andre Gomes all having chances to seal the victory.

Despite Arsenal trying to salvage a result, the Blues continued to work for the second. Arsenal failed to build up any sort of steam and sustain pressure on Jordan Pickford’s goal. If you didn’t know any better, you would think Everton were the ones trailing judging by their positive intent to get the second. Their 23 attempts registered were the most they had created in any game this season.

Emery’s men showed no signs of grabbing an equaliser in what was a disappointing day for the club. After five minutes of additional time, Everton managed to pick up an important three points which puts them up to ninth in the table. Meanwhile the defeat once again raises questions regarding Arsenal’s deficiencies away from home this season, leaving them hanging on in fourth place subject to goal difference.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

Comments are closed.