Premier League - Arsenal triumph at Everton
Sun, 14 Nov 16:03:00 2010
Arsenal repelled a strong Everton comeback to claim a 2-1 win at Goodison Park and go second in the Premier League.
Goals from Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas gave the Gunners a commanding lead, before Tim Cahill's late strike made for an exciting finish. Arsenal were also grateful to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who made several good saves.
The match began scrappily and tetchily. Everton felt the majority of referee Howard Webb's decisions went against them, and the Goodison crowd booed the official off at half-time.
However, if the South Yorkshire official was guilty of anything, it was not booking more men in blue, whose niggling tackles in midfield disrupted the flow of the game - though Alex Song in particular was also guilty of some fouls that went unpunished.
It was a match of half-chances and little goalmouth action, as Louis Saha failed to hit the target with two left-foot shots and a header, before another header in first-half stoppage time hit Fabianski in the Arsenal goal from a tight angle.
Cahill was guilty of a bad miss, failing to head a Seamus Coleman goalwards after a scintillating run down the right from the young Irishman.
At the other end, Arsenal were frustrated by some excellent last-ditch defending from Everton.
Andrei Arshavin went close a couple of times in typically extravagant fashion, volleying just wide from the edge of the box and firing over after weaving inside from the right past two defenders.
The first save of the game was made by Howard in the 36th minute as he pushed away a Nasri shot.
Unfortunately for him, the ball was retrieved by Arsenal who worked it to Sagna, and the full-back lashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle on the right - just his second goal for the club.
Everton started the second half with Jack Rodwell replacing Heitinga in midfield, but whatever gameplan they had was swiftly undone as Arsenal doubled their lead within three minutes.
Marouane Chamakh found his captain with a slightly fortunate lay-off that went through an opponent's legs, but Fabregas met the ball with an emphatic finish, sweeping a half-volley into the bottom right corner.
Everton reacted with their best spell of the match. Leighton Baines hit a free-kick that Fabianski anticipated well to save, before Rodwell missed a golden chance, putting the ball over from 10 yards after Steven Pienaar teed him up.
Chamakh was guilty of an equally glaring miss at the other end from a Fabregas centre, before Everton had penalty appeals turned down when Song blocked a Saha shot with his shoulder.
Fabianski then produced a fine save, pushing away a Jermaine Beckford shot, before denying Pienaar and Saha.
Cahill finally reduced the deficit in the 89th minute, finishing from close range after a knockdown from Saha, who appeared to be climbing all over his man.
But it was too late, and Arsenal held out to leapfrog Manchester United in the race to catch Chelsea.Alex Chick / Eurosport