Everton 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal moved up to third in the table after claiming their sixth successive Premier League win courtesy of a battling display at Everton.
Thomas Vermaelen headed the only goal of the game from a corner during a period of early Arsenal dominance.
But Everton rallied and were denied an equaliser when Royston Drenthe's finish was wrongly ruled out for offside.
The Toffees had further chances to get something from the game but the Gunners showed great resilience to hold on.
What is clear from this is that early February reports of Arsenal's demise were greatly exaggerated.
Following a 0-0 draw at Bolton seven weeks ago, the Gunners were seventh, 12 points behind third-placed, north London rivals Tottenham, bringing the doom-mongers out in force.
However, their last six games have seen them take 18 points, score 19 goals, rediscover the confident swagger for which they are synonymous under Arsene Wenger and demonstrate a resilience many thought they lacked.
At Goodison Park, the opening 15 minutes were a testimony to the north London side's attacking prowess as the reborn Tomas Rosicky, the supremely prolific Robin van Persie and the recalled Aaron Ramsey all threatened to put the game beyond the home side.
This period should have yielded greater reward than Vermaelen's solitary headed goal from a Van Persie corner.
Everton are a potent force on their own turf, though, as Champions League-chasing trio Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham have all discovered recently, and they stemmed the tide before turning it in their favour for much of the remainder of the game.
That the Toffees got nothing from the match is because of a combination of three factors - their own inefficiency in front of goal, Arsenal's newfound defensive solidity and an erroneous assistant's flag.
The latter came shortly after Vermaelen's goal as Drenthe's finish from inside the box was ruled out for offside, only for replays to show he was two yards behind the last defender at the time of Tim Cahill's pass.
This could have been the platform the home side needed to go and potentially win the game but, instead, they were unable to convert long periods of possession into enough clear-cut chances to hurt the visitors.
Their best chances fell to Marouane Fellaini, who headed across goal and wide, and Drenthe, who fired over from the edge of the area.
Earlier in the season, Arsenal would not have won this game, but a settled back five has given them a new robustness.
It was this that ultimately earned them a three points that sees them move above rivals Spurs - who drew 1-1 at home to Stoke on Wednesday - for the first time since September.
- 24 Howard
- 02 Hibbert
- 03 Baines
- 05 Heitinga
- 15 Distin
- 10 Drenthe (Anichebe - 78' )
- 17 Cahill Booked (Stracqualursi - 87' )
- 21 Osman (Gueye - 78' )
- 22 Pienaar Booked
- 25 Fellaini
- 07 Jelavic
- 01 Mucha
- 06 Jagielka
- 18 Neville
- 11 Stracqualursi
- 14 McFadden
- 19 Gueye
- 28 Anichebe
- 13 Szczesny
- 03 Sagna Booked
- 05 Vermaelen
- 06 Koscielny
- 28 Gibbs
- 07 Rosicky (Djourou - 87' )
- 08 Arteta
- 14 Walcott (Gervinho - 79' )
- 16 Ramsey
- 17 Song
- 10 Van Persie
- 21 Fabianski
- 11 Santos
- 20 Djourou
- 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
- 30 Benayoun
- 27 Gervinho
- 29 Chamakh
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +1:51
Tony Hibbert fouled by Robin van Persie, the ref awards a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.90:00 +1:17
Denis Stracqualursi is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.90:00 +0:12
Nikica Jelavic is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.87:40
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Leighton Baines played to the near post, Marouane Fellaini challenges Laurent Koscielny unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.86:21
Sylvain Distin takes the indirect free kick.86:21 Substitution
Substitution Johan Djourou replaces Tomas Rosicky.86:21 Substitution
Substitution Tim Cahill goes off and Denis Stracqualursi comes on.86:21
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nikica Jelavic by Laurent Koscielny.81:55
Shot from deep inside the area by Robin van Persie clears the bar.80:32
Victor Anichebe fouled by Mikel Arteta, the ref awards a free kick. A cross is delivered by Steven Pienaar, Header on goal by Victor Anichebe from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.79:07
The official flags Nikica Jelavic offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.78:21 Substitution
Substitution Theo Walcott leaves the field to be replaced by Yao Gervinho.77:37 Substitution
Substitution Victor Anichebe is brought on as a substitute for Royston Drenthe.77:37 Substitution
Substitution Magaye Gueye is brought on as a substitute for Leon Osman.76:51
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Leighton Baines, Effort on goal by Royston Drenthe from just inside the area clears the crossbar.76:11
The referee gives a free kick against Aaron Ramsey for handball. Indirect free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.75:16
Tomas Rosicky is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Tim Howard takes the indirect free kick.73:40
Unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Tim Cahill results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.72:48
Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Johnny Heitinga gets a block in.
Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard. Corner taken by Mikel Arteta from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Nikica Jelavic.71:11
The assistant referee flags for offside against Robin van Persie. Tim Howard takes the free kick.70:47
Leighton Baines takes a shot. Blocked by Theo Walcott.68:55
Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Pienaar on Bacary Sagna. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.68:36
The referee blows for offside. Tim Howard takes the indirect free kick.67:36
Marouane Fellaini challenges Alex Song unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.67:00
Foul by Robin van Persie on Tony Hibbert, free kick awarded. Johnny Heitinga takes the indirect free kick.62:12
The assistant referee flags for offside against Marouane Fellaini. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.60:06
Free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.60:06 Booking
Booking Steven Pienaar is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.59:59
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Steven Pienaar.58:24
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nikica Jelavic by Alex Song. Indirect free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.57:38
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Tim Cahill. Free kick taken by Robin van Persie.56:40
The offside flag is raised against Kieran Gibbs. Tim Howard takes the indirect free kick.56:19
Shot by Robin van Persie from inside the box hits the post.53:53
Corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, clearance made by Tim Howard.53:07
The referee blows for offside against Marouane Fellaini. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.52:30
Marouane Fellaini takes a shot. Thomas Vermaelen gets a block in.51:41 Booking
Booking Tim Cahill is booked.48:53
Corner taken by Leighton Baines from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.46:08
Unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar by Bacary Sagna results in a free kick. The ball is sent over by Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.45:48
Aaron Ramsey concedes a free kick for a foul on Royston Drenthe. Johnny Heitinga takes the indirect free kick.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +1:07 Half time
Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.45:00 +0:42
Marouane Fellaini concedes a free kick for a foul on Thomas Vermaelen. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.44:47
Tomas Rosicky takes a shot. Tim Howard makes a save.41:32
The assistant referee signals for offside against Royston Drenthe. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.40:41
Nikica Jelavic is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.38:43
Leighton Baines takes the indirect free kick.38:43 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Bacary Sagna for unsporting behaviour.38:38
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar by Bacary Sagna.37:05
Steven Pienaar challenges Thomas Vermaelen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.35:50
Free kick awarded for a foul by Tim Cahill on Kieran Gibbs. Indirect free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.35:07
Headed effort from inside the area by Nikica Jelavic misses to the left of the target.30:40
Royston Drenthe is ruled offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.27:19
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Pienaar.26:47
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tim Cahill by Kieran Gibbs. Johnny Heitinga takes the free kick.25:24
Steven Pienaar gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott. Free kick crossed left-footed by Robin van Persie from right wing, clearance made by Steven Pienaar.24:01
The assistant referee flags for offside against Marouane Fellaini. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.22:04
Nikica Jelavic is caught offside. Laurent Koscielny restarts play with the free kick.20:40
Foul by Johnny Heitinga on Robin van Persie, free kick awarded. Robin van Persie restarts play with the free kick.18:23
Tomas Rosicky takes a shot. Blocked by Johnny Heitinga.17:41
Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Blocked by Johnny Heitinga. Corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta from the left by-line, Sylvain Distin makes a clearance.16:20
Corner taken by Mikel Arteta from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Leon Osman.13:32
Headed effort from inside the area by Leon Osman misses to the left of the goal.13:02
Free kick awarded for a foul by Thomas Vermaelen on Nikica Jelavic. Johnny Heitinga restarts play with the free kick.10:00
Kieran Gibbs gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Royston Drenthe. Royston Drenthe crosses the ball in from the free kick, Kieran Gibbs makes a clearance.9:42
Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Tony Hibbert gets a block in.9:20
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.7:21
Assist on the goal came from Robin van Persie.7:21 Goal scored
Goal! - Thomas Vermaelen - Everton 0 - 1 Arsenal Thomas Vermaelen scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Everton 0-1 Arsenal.6:47
Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Sylvain Distin gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie played to the near post,5:24
Effort on goal by Aaron Ramsey from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.3:03
Robin van Persie takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Sylvain Distin manages to make a clearance.0:00
The game kicks-off.
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