Arsenal vs. Everton: Final score 0-0, neither team terribly satisfied

Michael Regan

A draw is a better result for Everton than Arsenal, but both teams could end up outside of the top four after the weekend.

Neither Arsenal or Everton will be terribly happy with their performance or the result that they played to on Tuesday. A point at the Emirates is nothing to scoff at for the Toffees, but the gap between them and fourth place might increase this weekend following their 0-0 draw.

The first half was an even one, though it wasn't terribly eventful. Both sides looked more concerned with conceding an early goal than making sure they scored first and neither team generated chances in volume. Everton got the better of the very early play and created a 6th minute shot for Steven Pienaar that he put high, but Arsenal came into the half as it wore on.

Kieran Gibbs nearly scored in the 24th minute after Marouane Fellaini inadvertantly set him up with a poor clearance, but his shot was screamed over the bar. Olivier Giroud had the best chance of the half in the 42nd minute, but failed to convert. He was set up with a great cross by Aaron Ramsey and aided by some poor positioning from Tim Howard, but screwed a powerful shot wide when a simple tap-in would have sufficed.

David Moyes' team looked a bit less lively and a bit more conservative to start the second half, and it showed early and often. Santi Cazorla had a nice 20-yard half-volley saved by Howard in the 49th minute, and it was a sign of what was to come. Giroud had another excellent chance in the 57th minute, off a counter started by a Leighton Baines free kick that struck the Arsenal wall. Walcott set him up with a square ball towards the near post, but Giroud did nothing with it. He could have shot first time, turned or tapped back to a teammate, but instead simply fell over.

Arsenal attempted to change things up in the 68th minute with a pair of substitutions. Jack Wilshere, who has been working his way back to full fitness, came off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Theo Walcott was replaced by Lukas Podolski. The move shifted Cazorla to the inside, though the attacking band of three players behind Giroud remained fluid.

In the 78th and 79th minutes, the Gunners had a pair of chances that they failed to make the most of. The first came on a counter, with Oxlade-Chamberlain playing a pass for Giroud that was cut out by Everton's defense when it might have been a better decision to shoot. A minute later, Giroud found the ball at his feet in the box once again, but hit a shot into Row Z.

Mikel Arteta had the game on his feet in the 90th minute when he made a marauding run forward from his deep central midfield spot, sprinting onto a through ball from Santi Cazorla, but he dwelled on the ball instead of shooting early. That allowed Seamus Coleman to recover and poke the ball back to Howard, who cleared away.

Arsenal wouldn't find another clear chance in the game, and will be rueing the ones that they missed. A draw isn't a terrible result for either team, but the door has been opened for Tottenham and Chelsea to claim the Champions League places ahead of them.

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