Premier League - Arsenal hit back to down Everton

Tue, 01 Feb 21:38:00 2011

Arsenal kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United as they came from behind to beat Everton 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Everton took the lead via Louis Saha's contentious 24th-minute strike but substitute Andrey Arshavin equalised 20 minutes from time before Laurent Koscielny headed home the winner five minutes later.

It stretched the Gunners' unbeaten run to seven league matches as they continue their four-pronged assault on silverware after going five seasons without a trophy.

But that record was in danger as the visitors took the lead through Saha's controversial effort.

Saha was clearly offside when Seaman Coleman delivered his pass but the ball came off Koscielny and the French striker’s shot from 18 yards nestled in the bottom corner.

Referee Lee Mason consulted his assistant - who must have decided that the deflection constituted a different phase of play - before giving the goal but Arsenal were enraged by the decision.

The Gunners had spurned two good chances to take the lead shortly before. Robin van Persie’s sublime backheel was perfectly into the path of Cesc Fabregas but the Arsenal captain shinned his effort wide from 12 yards when you would have backed him to score.

And then Johnny Heitinga won the ball in a sliding tackle with Alex Song on the edge of his own penalty area but the ball fell kindly to Theo Walcott whose shot was blocked by the legs of Tim Howard.

Fabregas spurned a chance to equalise when he dragged his shot wide and then Jack Wilshere produced a delightful ball over the top to van Persie but it did not come down quick enough and his attempted lob was over the crossbar.

The Toffees have not won at Arsenal in over 15 years but they had a chance to extend their lead when Leighton Baines's header found Diniyar Bilyaletdinov whose shot was smothered by Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal huffed and puffed at the start of the second-half without creating too many clear-cut chances.

Tomas Rosicky dragged his shot wide before Gael Clichy’s shot was deflected for a corner and van Persie twice was denied by Howard, albeit with weak efforts before a horrible shank from sub Abou Diaby after a probing run.

Arshavin replaced the ineffective Rosicky after 62 minutes and the much-maligned Russian soon brought his side level.

It was a lovely dink over the top from Fabregas and a back pedalling Jack Rodwell could only head the ball into the path of Arshavin who volleyed home from eight yards.

Van Persie then saw a free-kick from 25 yards well tipped over the crossbar by Howard but from the resulting corner, the Gunners took the lead.

The Dutchman's corner found an unmarked Koscielny who buried his header into the corner from six yards.

David Moyes would have been apoplectic after the men in blue shirts ran under the flight of the ball, resulting in the Toffees' 13th defeat in 15 Premier League matches at Arsenal and it leaves them looking worryingly over their shoulders at the wrong end of the table.

Lee Walker / Eurosport

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