Arsenal and Everton are no closer to figuring out which one of them is more likely to capture a spot in the top four. Theo Walcott got the Gunners off to a brilliant start on Wednesday evening, but a great equalizer by Marouane Fellaini saved a point for Everton in a 1-1 draw.
Walcott netted Arsenal's opening goal after just 53 seconds. He got the start over Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He justified his inclusion right away, combining with Olivier Giroud for a great goal. It appeared that he was going to give the ball away when he first started running at the Everton defense, but he recovered from an initial heavy touch and found Giroud in the center of the pitch. Walcott ran around Giroud towards the left flank and took a return pass before placing a shot past Tim Howard at the far post from 12 yards out.
Two minutes later, Laurent Koscielny picked up a muscle injury while extending to make a clearance and had to exit the game. Kieran Gibbs, who was being rested for the weekend, was forced to come into the match and Thomas Vermaelen moved to central defense.
Fellaini's equalizer was set up for him by the Arsenal defense, but the finish was a brilliant one. After Mikel Arteta failed to win the ball in a 50-50 challenge with Steven Pienaar, Bacary Sagna attempted to clear but inadvertently passed directly to Fellaini. Vermaelen expected Sagna to clear elsewhere and wasn't able to react quickly enough to close down his countryman, who fired past Wojciech Szczesny with a brilliant shot.
The second half was incredibly lively, especially for the 15-minute spell from the 55th to the 70th minute, but neither side managed to find a winner. Everton had a couple of excellent opportunities, but it simply wasn't their night. Szczesny made a save on Sylvain Distin following a set piece in the 57th minute, and Pienaar was unlucky not to draw a penalty when he was tripped up in the box by Arteta in the 64th minute.
Both sides pushed forward late, but Szczesny and Tim Howard showed great command of their penalty areas to deny further scoring chances and maintain the 1-1 score.