Arsenal 0-0 Everton
Arsenal's four-match winning run ended with a goalless draw against Everton, a result that did neither side much good in their Champions League quest.
The Toffees, who were fortunate not to have Darron Gibson sent off, started brightly and went close through Steven Pienaar and the lively Ross Barkley.
Olivier Giroud was wasteful for Arsenal, now two points clear of fifth-placed Spurs having played a game more.
Giroud was denied by Seamus Coleman's clearance as Everton secured a point.
The Toffees thoroughly deserved a draw in what was a fiercely contested encounter, and are now unbeaten in six league games.
But David Moyes' side, now within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea but having played two games more, were unable to find the goal that would have really improved their prospects of playing in next season's Champions League.
Nor is Arsenal's own top-four place by any means guaranteed and they will need to start more quickly when Manchester United visit on 28 April than in their last two matches at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners conspicuously failed to carry on where they had left off in their previous match, when Arsene Wenger's men scored three goals in the final five minutes to secure a 3-1 victory over Norwich.
Former Toffees midfielder Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere struggled to get a grip in midfield as the visitors' Pienaar skied a glorious chance from Coleman's excellent seventh-minute pass.
Everton boss Moyes opted to start 19-year-old Barkley in place of injured England midfielder Leon Osman for this crucial game and the teenager typified his team's battling first-half display, playing with a maturity beyond his years.
In a bruising encounter, Wilshere was left clutching a sore ankle after falling awkwardly following a fair challenge with Barkley.
Everton midfielder Gibson was then fortunate to escape a red card when he was penalised for a cynical foul on Theo Walcott shortly after he had been booked for bringing down the England international.
Arsenal, chasing a seventh win in eight top-flight games, struggled to hurt their opponents, and were restricted to just a couple of chances in the first half, full-back Kieran Gibbs failing to take advantage of Marouane Fellaini's 24th-minute botched clearance, and Giroud missing from close range after a fine pass by Ramsey.
Wenger's side improved after the interval but still could not find the breakthrough, although Santi Cazorla forced a fine save from Tim Howard with a powerful attempt after Gibbs had nodded the ball into his path.
In an end-to-end game, the tireless Barkley went close with a curling right-foot attempt before Coleman stopped Giroud from sliding the Gunners into a late lead following a surging run by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"We should have won the game, but it still keeps us in a strong position in the race for the top four.
"I felt that in the first half the referee didn't deal at all well with the intimidating physical challenges, but that we responded well to the physicality.
"It was detrimental to the fluency of our game, but we kept going, had good concentration.
"You have to respect the effort Everton put in. They decided to make it very physical for us to disturb our game and sometimes went a little bit over the edge, but the referee had to make the right decision."
Everton manager David Moyes:
"We went to try and win it. We knew if we got three points we would have a real chance (of the top four), but a point keeps us ticking along.
"I think the result suits Spurs more than anybody, but I don't think we are out of place where we are.
"I would take it (the Europa League), but I am going to try and get the Champions League - if we are still getting that mention in mid-April, then it is not bad for Everton."
- 01 Szczesny
- 03 Sagna
- 04 Mertesacker
- 06 Koscielny
- 28 Gibbs (Monreal - 90' Booked )
- 08 Arteta Booked
- 10 Wilshere (Oxlade-Chamberlain - 68' )
- 14 Walcott (Podolski - 69' )
- 16 Ramsey
- 19 Cazorla
- 12 Giroud
- 24 Mannone
- 05 Vermaelen
- 17 Monreal
- 07 Rosicky
- 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
- 09 Podolski
- 27 Gervinho
- 24 Howard
- 03 Baines
- 06 Jagielka
- 15 Distin
- 23 Coleman
- 04 Gibson Booked
- 20 Barkley Booked (Jelavic - 76' )
- 22 Pienaar Booked
- 25 Fellaini
- 11 Mirallas (Oviedo - 90' )
- 28 Anichebe (Naismith - 90' )
- 01 Mucha
- 05 Heitinga
- 18 Neville
- 08 Oviedo
- 16 Hitzlsperger
- 07 Jelavic
- 14 Naismith
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee ends the match.90:00 +3:41
Bacary Sagna takes the direct free kick.90:00 +3:41 Substitution
Substitution Bryan Oviedo replaces Kevin Mirallas.90:00 +3:41
Steven Pienaar concedes a free kick for a foul on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.90:00 +3:14
Darron Gibson takes the free kick.90:00 +3:14 Booking
Booking Nacho Monreal is booked.90:00 +2:59
Steven Naismith fouled by Nacho Monreal, the ref awards a free kick.90:00 +1:10 Substitution
Substitution Victor Anichebe leaves the field to be replaced by Steven Naismith.90:00 +1:10
Effort by Victor Anichebe from a long way out goes over the target.89:27
The free kick is swung in right-footed by Santi Cazorla, Marouane Fellaini makes a clearance.89:27 Substitution
Substitution Nacho Monreal joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kieran Gibbs.89:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by Leighton Baines.86:42
Kieran Gibbs gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Mirallas. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.86:22
Lukas Podolski takes a shot. Blocked by Phil Jagielka.85:21
Inswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla, Marouane Fellaini manages to make a clearance.83:50
The referee blows for offside. Kieran Gibbs restarts play with the free kick.83:09
Marouane Fellaini fouled by Aaron Ramsey, the ref awards a free kick. Tim Howard takes the direct free kick.81:17
Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line to the near post.79:01
Shot by Olivier Giroud from inside the six-yard box clear the bar.76:38
Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Comfortable save by Tim Howard.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line to the near post, Phil Jagielka makes a clearance.74:15 Substitution
Substitution (Everton) makes a substitution, with Nikica Jelavic coming on for Ross Barkley.74:15
Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Sylvain Distin gets a block in.72:43
Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line, Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Blocked by Sylvain Distin. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Santi Cazorla. Unfair challenge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by Leighton Baines results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.72:12
Foul by Steven Pienaar on Bacary Sagna, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mikel Arteta from right wing, clearance made by Phil Jagielka.69:13
Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.69:13 Booking
Booking Ross Barkley goes into the book.69:02
Ross Barkley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey.67:49 Substitution
Substitution Lukas Podolski comes on in place of Theo Walcott.67:49 Substitution
Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jack Wilshere.64:56
Shot from just outside the box by Ross Barkley misses to the right of the target.63:40
Leighton Baines takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Aaron Ramsey.63:01
Foul by Victor Anichebe on Kieran Gibbs, free kick awarded. Kieran Gibbs takes the free kick.58:04
Ross Barkley produces a left-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.56:51
Santi Cazorla takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post.55:26
Shot on goal comes in from Leighton Baines from the free kick. Leighton Baines takes a shot. Blocked by Mikel Arteta.55:26 Booking
Booking Mikel Arteta booked for unsporting behaviour.55:18
Mikel Arteta gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar.52:48
Jack Wilshere gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Mirallas. A cross is delivered by Leighton Baines, Victor Anichebe has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the target.51:37
Corner taken by Jack Wilshere from the right by-line, clearance made by Marouane Fellaini.51:04
Olivier Giroud produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.48:37
Drilled right-footed shot by Santi Cazorla. Save by Tim Howard. Santi Cazorla takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Sylvain Distin.46:10
Kevin Mirallas takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:00 +2:10 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.45:00 +0:12
Mikel Arteta gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar. Darron Gibson takes the free kick.43:28
Santi Cazorla takes a shot. Blocked by Leighton Baines.41:06
Shot from close range by Olivier Giroud misses to the right of the target.39:28
Victor Anichebe takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a comfortable save.38:47
Kieran Gibbs gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Seamus Coleman. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.38:22
Shot from 25 yards by Ross Barkley. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.37:28
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bacary Sagna on Steven Pienaar. Leighton Baines restarts play with the free kick.34:34
Santi Cazorla crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, clearance made by Sylvain Distin.34:34 Booking
Booking Steven Pienaar receives a caution.34:18
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Steven Pienaar.32:55
Foul by Darron Gibson on Theo Walcott, free kick awarded. Bacary Sagna takes the free kick.31:05
The official flags Kevin Mirallas offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.28:17
Seamus Coleman fouled by Laurent Koscielny, the ref awards a free kick. Phil Jagielka takes the free kick.27:17
Free kick crossed by Jack Wilshere, Marouane Fellaini manages to make a clearance.27:17 Booking
Booking Darron Gibson is given a yellow card.26:44
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Darron Gibson.23:35
Shot from just outside the box by Kieran Gibbs goes over the bar.19:37
Olivier Giroud challenges Seamus Coleman unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.12:15
Foul by Aaron Ramsey on Ross Barkley, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Darron Gibson.8:59
Marouane Fellaini gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.7:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere by Marouane Fellaini. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.5:54
Steven Pienaar produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.3:59
The referee blows for offside. Phil Jagielka takes the indirect free kick.1:56
Free kick awarded for a foul by Marouane Fellaini on Mikel Arteta. Free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.0:00
The referee starts the match.
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