Everton holds Arsenal 1-1 in Premier League

Everton substitute Gerard Deulofeu scored six minutes from time

to salvage a deserved 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Sunday as the Gunners

missed the chance to open a gap at the top of the Premier League

standings.

Deulofeu scored from a tight angle with a shot past Arsenal

goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny just four minutes after Mesut Ozil put

Arsene Wenger’s team in front from close range.

Coming off a win at Manchester United midweek, Everton was the

better team in the first half but Arsenal had the best chances

after the interval as goalkeeper Tim Howard produced several

decisive saves. Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud hit the crossbar in

injury time.

Arsenal, which next plays Napoli in the Champions League before

tough games against Manchester City and Chelsea, leads Liverpool

and Chelsea by five points.

Arsenal went ahead after Everton wasted two good chances, as

Theo Walcott headed a ball across the goal and Giroud failed to hit

it before Ozil fired it into the roof of the net.

A win for Arsenal would have been a big statement after their

rivals’ slip-ups on Saturday but Everton fought back to equalize

after Romelu Lukaku failed to connect with an overhead kick and

Deulofeu slotted home from 10 meters.

Everton started on a high tempo with a series of attacks on the

flanks and dominated possession in the first half. England

international Ross Barkley, bossing the midfield throughout the

first half, created Everton’s first chance after five minutes when

he released the ball for Kevin Mirallas, but the Belgian player’s

cross from the right could not find Lukaku.

The Toffees continued to press but Barkley’s shot from the edge

of the box was deflected wide before Sylvain Distin fired the ball

wide following a corner that was poorly cleared by the Gunners

defense.

Failing to produce its usual sharp passing game, Arsenal

weathered the storm but failed to threaten Howard during the first

20 minutes.

Mirallas had another good chance in the 22nd minute following a

swift move ignited by Barkley but his right-footed shot from the

right went wide.

Arsenal created its first clear chance on the break when Santi

Cazorla crossed a low ball in the 27th minute that eluded Kieran

Gibbs by a couple of inches as Wenger started to show signs of

nervousness on the touchline.

Arsenal then started playing better in the closing stages of the

first half and should have scored with two minutes remaining when

referee Howard Webb decided to play the advantage following Gareth

Barry’s rough tackle on Ozil. But Howard was quick off his line to

deny Giroud’s effort from close range. The United States goalkeeper

was again decisive in the 45th minute to block Aaron Ramsey’s

attempt from Giroud’s assist.

Arsenal played with the same intensity after the interval,

monopolizing the ball and swarming into the Everton box, as Cazorla

headed straight at Howard in the 51st from Wilshere’s clever pull

back.

Everton responded immediately as Steven Pienaar forced Szczesny

to make his first save with a long-range shot but Arsenal went

close again when Howard denied Ramsey at the back post after the

Welsh midfielder had been found by Gibbs

Wenger brought in Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini,

with the Frenchman having an immediate impact with a shot fired

just wide in the 73rd.

Giroud and the Arsenal fans thought the Frenchman had won the

game in added time but his 30-meter strike smashed against the

crossbar with Howard looking well-beaten.