Everton helped make it a great week in the Premier League for their rivals Liverpool as they added Arsenal to the list of top teams dropping points this weekend after late goals from either side saw a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium.
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After a tense and nervy game where both sides had gone close, Mesut Ozil appeared to snatch a late winner for the hosts before Gerard Deulofeu struck back instantly for Everton.
Arsenal would have been expected to start on the front foot given the opportunity afforded to them by results elsewhere at the weekend, but instead it was Everton who dominated the early stages, as they clicked into their passing game long before the hosts did. Yet despite their possession, clear chances were at a premium and the closest the visitors game was a well-worked set-piece which the Arsenal defence stood firm to clear.
With Everton not making the most of their dominance, they almost paid the price in the final minutes as Arsenal created a flurry of chances out of nowhere. Jack Wilshere twice played in Olivier Giroud, but the Frenchman was denied first by the linesman's flag and second by the newly-shaven Tim Howard. But with neither teams able to score, the first half ended in stalemate.
Arsenal came out with more intent in the second, but it appeared to resemble the first in inverse, with Arsenal seeing more of the ball and Everton having more space and thus better opportunities. Arsenal had a half-chance with a trademark Giroud near-post run at one end, but Everton counter-attacked smoothly to tee up Steven Pienaar on the edge of the area, with Wojciech Szczesny making a fine save to keep out his stinging shot.
Aaron Ramsey was then presented with a decent chance as he escaped onto the right of the Everton defence, but the Welshman couldn't get a clean connection on his shot, which he hit into the ground to allow Howard to save. Arsene Wenger was clearly not impressed, and made a triple substitution to attempt to force a victory, with Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Mathieu Flamini for Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere respectively.
Everton then began to grow into the game once again, although their best chance fell to Ross Barkley following a counter-attack, and the otherwise-impressive youngster went for power rather than placement, smashing his shot directly at Szczesny and wasting the chance. Just afterwards, the substitute Mathieu Flamini had a half-chance at the other end, picking up the ball with time and space but hit his shot wide without having a clear sight of goal.
Arsenal were looking out of ideas, but then found a new one with some direct play, Tomas Rosicky playing in Theo Walcott with a long ball to cut across the area. Olivier Giroud completely missed the ball, but fortunately poor Everton defending allowed Mesut Ozil to tap in at the far post. Replays however showed the goal owed a huge amount to fortune, as Walcott appeared to be offside.
That should have been enough for Arsenal to seal victory, but just afterwards they suffered a bad blow. Everton once again made hay down the left, but the cross into the box eluded the disappointing Romelu Lukaku's ambitious attempt at an overhead kick, but found substitute Gerard Deulofeu on the far side of the area. The winger tricked his way closer to goal before, with a pass looking a far better option, smashing a brilliant effort past Szczesny from a tight angle to silence the home fans.
Everton were given a fortunate offside call of their own that could have seen them win it when Lukaku was played in late on, but the Belgian pondered and allowed Szczesny to come out and clear the ball off his toe. Incredibly, there was almost another twist after Giroud hit the bar with almost the last kick of the game with a swerving self-made volley, but there was to be no winner on the day - a fair result for both sides, but a big missed opportunity for Arsenal.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere (Flamini 58'), Ramsey (Rosicky 58'), Ozil, Cazorla (Walcott 58'), Giroud.
Goals: Ozil 80'
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Oviedo, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas (Deulofeu 80'), Barkley (Naismith 90+3'), Pienaar (Osman 71'), Lukaku.
Goals: Deulofeu 84'