Everton 2 Arsenal 1: Gunners Miss Major Opportunity

Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud (C) and team-mates react after Everton's Welsh defender Ashley Williams scored his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England on December 13, 2016. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger missed a chance at first place in the Premier League with a 2-1 loss at Everton on Tuesday evening. Chelsea can extend their lead at top of the table with a result at Sunderland on Wednesday.

Everton 2 Arsenal 1: Match Review

The Gunners saw their 14-match league unbeaten streak brought to an end at Goodison Park despite controlling much of the proceedings throughout the encounter.

A rain-soaked atmosphere was the setting as both sides face an important week ahead. After a brilliant start to the campaign, Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s side had won only once in their last seven league matches.

A frustrated crowd saw the hosts sluggish in both possession and quality on the ball early in the first half. Arsenal kept the pressure on constantly, leading to a free-kick opportunity for Alexis Sanchez.

A powerful shot from the Chilean international took a deflection and found the back of the net to give the Gunners a 1-0 advantage.

But the Toffees responded to the visitors’ goal in fine fashion. Increasing their own movement forward and finding more space in the midfield, a cross from Leighton Baines led to a Seamus Coleman header to equalise for Everton only moments from half-time.

Both clubs utliised identical 4-2-3-1 formations, with an emphasis on possession and pace in wide midfield positions. Coleman’s goal brought about an added layer of intensity, as scuffles between players broke out at the end of the first 45 minutes.

Arsenal came out more determined in the second half, but could not find the match-winner. Toffees centre-back Ashley Williams headed home a Ross Barkley corner in the 86th minute to seal an incredible victory for the home side.

Arsenal defence contains Lukaku

Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku has been a force at the top of the Everton line-up and scored twice this past weekend in a 3-2 loss at Watford.

His size, strength and scoring touch can be difficult for any defence to keep up with.

However, central defenders Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel performed well in limiting his chances in dangerous positons and clearing the ball out quickly.

League unbeaten streak brought to a halt

Arsenal’s impressive league unbeaten streak ended Tuesday night with a frustrating performance for supporters, as the Gunners had several opportunities to reclaim the lead after Coleman’s equaliser.

Wenger will be particularly displeased with conceding a goal from a corner-kick that should have been dealt with properly.

Everton gain an important three points

With recent struggles, Tuesday was a crucial victory for Koeman’s squad. Although recent form had dipped, their performances at home have managed to be positive throughout the campaign.

The coming days bring massive matches for both clubs. Everton will host Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Monday evening, while Arsenal will travel to Manchester City on Sunday.

Line-ups

EVERTON: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka (OFF 90′), Williams, Baines, Gueye, McCarthy (Mori 90′), Lennon (Mirallas 68’), Barkley, Valencia (Calvert-Lewin 79’), Lukaku

Unused subs: Robles, Holgate, Cleverley, Deulofeu

ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Perez 88′), Xhaka, Walcott (Giroud 71’), Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Iwobi 71’), Sanchez

Unused subs: Ospina, Holding, Gibbs, Elneny

REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg

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