Arsenal held to 0-0 draw by Everton

Arsenal missed a chance to tighten its grip on third place in

the English Premier League on Tuesday after being held to a 0-0

draw at home by Everton.

Both sides have hopes of playing in the Champions League next

season, but Arsenal will be left to rue the missed chances after

carving out opportunities in both halves for French international

striker Olivier Giroud.

”We should have won the game, but it keeps us in a strong

position for the top four,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

said.

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley blazed a shot narrowly wide in

the second half of a closely-contested game at Emirates

Stadium.

Arsenal is third on 60 points from 33 games, but can soon be

caught by both Chelsea, on 58 points with two games in hand, and

Tottenham, which also has 58 points but has only one game in hand.

Everton stays sixth, two points further back.

”I would take a Europa League place now, but I’m going for the

Champions League,” Everton manager David Moyes said. ”We more

than thoroughly deserved a point but we did not do enough to win

it.”

Both teams wore black armbands to honor the victims of the

Boston Marathon bombings and commemorate the 24-year anniversary of

the Hillsborough disaster. A moment’s silence was also held before

the game.

In a physical and feisty first half, Steven Pienaar had the

first good opportunity after just five minutes when he found the

ball at his inside the six-yard box, only to see his effort sail

harmlessly over the bar.

Arsenal gradually took charge of the game but missed two good

chances on the stroke of halftime. Aaron Ramsey charged down the

right flank and sent a cross in toward Giroud, who reached the ball

ahead of the onrushing Tim Howard but sent the ball wide. Santi

Cazorla then charged into the box moments later only to his effort

acrobatically diverted for a corner from the sliding Phil

Jagielka.

Arsenal started brightly after the second half, with Kieran

Gibbs looking increasingly dangerous down the left hand side.

He first set up Cazorla for a volley from the edge of the area

that forcing Howard to push the ball away for a corner. Gibbs then

stormed into the edge of the area minutes later but his cross could

not find anyone in a red shirt.

The impressive Barkley almost opened the scoring in the 64th,

his curling effort just evading Szczesny’s right-hand post. But

that was the visitors’ only chance in a second half dominated by

the home side.

With 10 minutes left, Arsenal then produced the best move of the

game as Gibbs was expertly fed the ball by the industrious Cazorla

and sent a low cross in toward the stretching Giroud, but Seamus

Coleman managed to slide in to clear.

Giroud had another great chance three minutes later as he

received the ball in the area and went past Phil Jagielka only to

blast his effort over the bar from a tight angle.

”Maybe we used too much power instead of technique in our

finishing,” Wenger said. ”But you have to respect Everton for the

effort they put in.”