Everton picked up a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Arsenal to keep their top-four hopes alive in Premier League.
The Toffees were gifted the three points thanks to Bernd Leno’s unbelievable mistake late on in the second half. Everton had the chance to score early on in the game, but Leno denied Richarlison with a smart save, and Sigurdsson hit the crossbar from his free-kick.
However, the game was riddled with controversies and Arsenal will feel hard done by some of the decisions that went against them.
The Gunners were awarded a penalty when Richarlison brought down Dani Ceballos in the Everton box. However, the decision was overturned by VAR when Nicolas Pepe was adjudged offside in the build-up.
Aside from the fact that the VAR continues to baffle fans with the decision-making process, Arsenal have a lot to answer for in terms of their performance.
The Gunners enjoyed 57% ball possession, but they failed to make good use of their dominance and create clear cut opportunities for their attackers. Everton were lucky to score the way they did, but the Gunners hardly gave a good account of themselves.
Arsenal had just 3 shots on target throughout the game.
The Gunners had a late chance to salvage something from the game, but Jordan Pickford pulled off an impressive save to deny Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal toothless without Lacazette and Aubameyang
Both of Arteta’s first choice strikers were absent today due to injury, and the Gunners struggled in the final third without their intelligence, experience and quality.
The likes of Nketiah and Martinelli are talented players, but they are not as good as Arsenal’s preferred striking duo just yet.
The win leaves Everton with 52 points, and they are three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea now.
Richarlison was a standout performer for Everton
Meanwhile, Richarlison was the heart of everything positive from the Toffees tonight. The Brazilian did well to beat Granit Xhaka and fizzed in a cross in for his teammate, only for Leno to misjudge the ball and spill it into his own net.
The Brazilian was at the centre of the controversy as well when he gave away the penalty.
European football depends on Europa League win now
Mikel Arteta’s side will have to win the Europa League if they want to play European football next season. The Gunners are currently 9th in the table, and it is highly unlikely that they will qualify for the Champions League/Europa League through their league finish.
Statistics and Reactions
Arteta fumes at VAR
As the VAR overruled the penalty decision due to off-side, Arteta was clearly not happy.
The penalty is clear, those decisions have been made after, I don’t know how or who by, we cannot see their faces to explain it. I can see the images 20 times and I don’t get it. This has been building up and enough is enough and today I have had enough.
We have had many of them that no-one explains and when they do explain they say sorry, it was a mistake but unfortunately it is affecting a lot of people and it is affecting our job and most importantly our football club.Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
It was a good result; an important result because we are still attached to the top of the table. It is what we needed. I said before we need to keep fighting.
The team played a good game. We had difficulties in the game but we tried to play and had some good opportunities. Defensively we were good so I’m satisfied with the performance.
I think, honestly, it was a draw. Arsenal had more control of the ball. We were good defensively and in the first half we were not so clinical with possession. So, honestly, it was a draw but that can happen. Last game we played against Tottenham I think we deserved to win. Against Crystal Palace we deserved to win so today we got the points we lost against Palace and Tottenham.Carlo Ancelotti, Everton Manager