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Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Demarai Gray stoppage-time goal earns victory for Rafael Benitez's men

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport at Goodison Park
Martin Odegaard
Martin Odegaard scored his third goal of the season from Kieran Tierney's cross

Demarai Gray's superb injury-time strike earned Everton a first win in nine games to end a bruising week with a stunning comeback against Arsenal.

After being thumped 4-1 by Liverpool and director of football Marcel Brands leaving the club, Rafael Benitez's team responded with a much-improved display that showed the character and resilience fans were looking for.

Richarlison had brought Everton level with 11 minutes of normal time remaining after Martin Odegaard scored the game's opener from Kieran Tierney's cross in first-half stoppage time.

That the winner came after Richarlison had also had two goals ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee before getting the equaliser will only have added to the home fans' delight.

The scenes at the final whistle were a complete turnaround from last Wednesday, when the mood turned ugly after a 4-1 defeat by their city rivals.

Victory lifts Everton to 12th in the table, eight points above the relegation zone.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Rafael Benitez pleased with "perfect" Everton reaction

Gray proves cut-price talisman again

Few fans can have expected such a performance after recent showings - had Everton failed to win this would have been their worst run of form since 1994.

Instead it was reminiscent of the club's early season form when they chalked up successive comeback wins at home and climbed to fourth.

And it was the perfect response to dozens of fans who left their seats after 27 minutes in protest about how the club is being run, with the timing a reference to the club's 27-year wait for a trophy.

The result also vindicated Benitez's insistence that the club would return to winning ways once injured players returned, even if Lucas Digne was left out as Yerry Mina returned to the side.

In keeping with their success earlier in the season, it was Gray who was Everton's most dangerous player, but he was aided by Richarlison, who showed great perseverance to score at the third time of asking.

His header in a poor first half, moments before Odegaard scored for Arsenal, was narrowly offside but the frustration for the Brazilian and the 35,000 Everton fans inside a raucous Goodison Park was palpable when a second goal was ruled out because his toe was inches beyond the Arsenal defensive line.

When his headed goal eventually came after Gray hit the bar, it changed the mood among a set of fans who have been angered by a familiar run of form under majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, despite the British-Iranian spending close to £500m over the past six years.

But there was further delight to come when Gray found the top corner for his fifth goal of the season.

Having arrived for only £1.7m in the summer, he is proving to be a cut-price talisman.

Arsenal show discipline but lack inspiration

Mikel Arteta's return to a club where he spent five years as a player proved a fruitless one.

Having made four changes from the loss at Manchester United last Thursday, including the return of Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette up front in place of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he was rewarded with a disciplined performance.

But a third defeat in four games, following an eight-game unbeaten run, will lead to further questions about his side, who were outfought and looked uninspired for large periods of the game.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta disappointed with "inconsistent" Arsenal

There was a welcome return for Tierney, who in his first game since mid-October was instrumental in Arsenal taking the lead, while Saka was a threat down the right in place of Emile Smith Rowe.

There was little else to show for a first half in which the Gunners came up against a solid Everton defence, typified by some robust challenges by Ben Godfrey, who was also subject of a VAR check for a red card after his boot came into contact with Takehiro Tomiyasu.

After sitting on their lead in the second half, they were only stirred into life again after Everton's goals.

Late chances fell to Odegaard, whose shot was blocked by the brilliant Godfrey, Eddie Nketiah, who hit the post, and Aubameyang, who skewed wide after Gray's eventual winner.

The defeat means the Gunners remain seventh and missed out on a chance to go above Tottenham into fifth.

Player of the match

GrayDemarai Gray

with an average of 8.08

Everton

  1. Squad number11Player nameGray
    Average rating

    8.08

  2. Squad number7Player nameRicharlison
    Average rating

    7.74

  3. Squad number16Player nameDoucouré
    Average rating

    6.64

  4. Squad number23Player nameColeman
    Average rating

    6.58

  5. Squad number21Player nameAndré Gomes
    Average rating

    6.55

  6. Squad number6Player nameAllan
    Average rating

    6.37

  7. Squad number5Player nameKeane
    Average rating

    6.36

  8. Squad number24Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    6.27

  9. Squad number14Player nameTownsend
    Average rating

    6.19

  10. Squad number22Player nameGodfrey
    Average rating

    6.06

  11. Squad number1Player namePickford
    Average rating

    5.91

  12. Squad number4Player nameHolgate
    Average rating

    5.88

  13. Squad number13Player nameMina
    Average rating

    5.74

  14. Squad number17Player nameIwobi
    Average rating

    5.27

Arsenal

  1. Squad number3Player nameTierney
    Average rating

    5.91

  2. Squad number8Player nameØdegaard
    Average rating

    5.63

  3. Squad number32Player nameRamsdale
    Average rating

    5.44

  4. Squad number18Player nameTomiyasu
    Average rating

    5.18

  5. Squad number7Player nameSaka
    Average rating

    5.04

  6. Squad number4Player nameWhite
    Average rating

    4.99

  7. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães
    Average rating

    4.76

  8. Squad number35Player nameGabriel Martinelli
    Average rating

    4.73

  9. Squad number34Player nameXhaka
    Average rating

    4.00

  10. Squad number5Player namePartey
    Average rating

    3.89

  11. Squad number9Player nameLacazette
    Average rating

    3.85

  12. Squad number20Player nameNuno Tavares
    Average rating

    3.57

  13. Squad number30Player nameNketiah
    Average rating

    3.49

  14. Squad number14Player nameAubameyang
    Average rating

    2.70

Line-ups

Everton

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Pickford
  • 23Coleman
  • 13MinaSubstituted forHolgateat 31'minutes
  • 5Keane
  • 22GodfreyBooked at 51mins
  • 24GordonSubstituted forIwobiat 87'minutes
  • 16Doucouré
  • 6Allan
  • 11GrayBooked at 90mins
  • 14TownsendSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 66'minutes
  • 7Richarlison

Substitutes

  • 2Kenny
  • 4Holgate
  • 8Delph
  • 15Begovic
  • 17Iwobi
  • 20Tosun
  • 21André Gomes
  • 25Gbamin
  • 32Branthwaite

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 32Ramsdale
  • 18Tomiyasu
  • 4White
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3TierneySubstituted forTavaresat 65'minutes
  • 5Partey
  • 34XhakaBooked at 63mins
  • 7Saka
  • 8ØdegaardBooked at 74mins
  • 35MartinelliSubstituted forNketiahat 71'minutes
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forAubameyangat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 14Aubameyang
  • 16Holding
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 19Pépé
  • 20Tavares
  • 23Sambi Lokonga
  • 25Elneny
  • 30Nketiah
  • 33Okonkwo
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
38,906

Match Stats

Home TeamEvertonAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home36%
Away64%
Shots
Home11
Away10
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Everton 2, Arsenal 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Everton 2, Arsenal 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Eddie Nketiah.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alex Iwobi (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Richarlison.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Martin Ødegaard with a cross.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Thomas Partey (Arsenal).

  7. Post update

    Richarlison (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Booking

    Demarai Gray (Everton) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Everton 2, Arsenal 1. Demarai Gray (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by André Gomes.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eddie Nketiah.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Everton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Everton. Alex Iwobi replaces Anthony Gordon.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal).

  14. Post update

    Mason Holgate (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Takehiro Tomiyasu.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaces Alexandre Lacazette.

  17. Post update

    Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) hits the left post with a header from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Bukayo Saka with a cross.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eddie Nketiah.

  19. Goal!

    Goal! Everton 1, Arsenal 1. Richarlison (Everton) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Demarai Gray (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

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