Everton boosted their chances of finishing in the top-four with a slender 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Friday evening.
A Bernd Leno own goal was all that separated the two sides on an evening that saw protests in North London against the club’s ownership and the Toffees first win in North London in over 25 years.
Here are five things we learned from the game:
Everton back on for Champions League with historic victory
Following a run of five matches without a victory, Everton’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four looked extremely doubtful. It would have been extremely tough to envisage them getting back on track as they travelled to a ground where they had never won at before in the top-flight.
However, the Toffees managed to halt that horrendous run at the 17th attempt and with it they managed to potentially reignite their fight for the top-four. Following the three points, Carlo Ancelotti’s men now sit just three points behind fourth-placed West Ham and can now be backed at odds of 32/1 with Betfair to finish in the top-four come the end of the campaign.
Arsenal’s home woes continue
Whilst it is certainly a surprise to see Everton win at the Emirates, it is not as much of a shock to see Arsenal losing at home. In all, it was the Gunners’ seventh home league defeat of the campaign under Mikel Arteta.
It is the joint-most amount of home games that they have lost in Premier League history – matching that record in the 1992/93 season. With the season now looking like its ending in disappointment, the Gunners’ horrendous home form will surely be something that Arteta will want to rectify heading into next term.
Godfrey continues to impress
Ever since arriving on Merseyside from Norwich City in the summer, defender Ben Godfrey has continued to impress for Everton. That remained the case at the Emirates Stadium on Friday with another hugely impressive defensive performance.
This time deployed at the heart of the Toffees’ defence, he was extremely pivotal in keeping the hosts quiet, contributing three tackles, an interception, two blocks and a huge five clearances.
Leno takes the criticism this time
It would be fair to say that Everton stopper Jordan Pickford would certainly sympathise with his opposite number Bernd Leno after the game. The former Sunderland man is occasionally capable of the odd howler but the shoe was instead on the other foot.
Quite how the German allowed Richarlison’s low shot to squirm through his arms and into the back of the net is a mystery but he will be hugely disappointed that it ended up costing his team. Meanwhile, Pickford was arguably one of Everton’s most key performers, making three saves as the Toffees aimed to hold onto their advantage.
Substitutes too late?
Whilst it wasn’t an inspiring performance from any of his team, Mikel Arteta could potentially take some of the flack for yet another defeat. His substitutes came far too late for them to really have an impact.
Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard were introduced with just 17 minutes of the clash remaining, not really having enough time to get involved enough, only having one shot between them throughout their respective periods on the pitch.
They really did need to be introduced far earlier, a failed move that potentially highlights Arteta’s naivety in management.
Arsenal: Leno (4); Mari (5), Chambers (5), Holding (5); Saka (7), Partey (6), Ceballos (6), Xhaka (6), Smith-Rowe (5), Pepe (5) (Martinelli (6), 74′); Nketiah (6) (Odegaard (N/A), 74′).
Everton: Pickford (7); Digne (7), Godfrey (8), Holgate (7), Coleman (7); Allan (6), Gomes (6) (Delph (6), 66′), Rodriguez (7) (Davies (N/A), 86′); Sigurdsson (7), Calvert-Lewin (6), Richarlison (7) (Mina (N/A), 89′).
Goals: Leno (76′ OG)
Referee: Jon Moss
Yellow Cards: Partey (38′), Allan (55′), Holgate (62′)
Red Cards: N/A
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