Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti said the Toffees had “returned” After Arsenal midfielder, Bernd Leno gifted his side a crucial win in their quest for a place in the Champions League.
The Merseysiders have failed to win in six games in all competitions. But have moved between three points in the top four with a victory gained during a back-to-back strike.
More than 1,000 Arsenal supporters gathered outside the Emirates Stadium to express their outrage at the role of owner Stan Kroenke in the failed European Super League.
The goal came as Everton striker Richarlison tried to put the ball in the six-yard box. Leno should have scratched it. But the ball slipped into the hands of the Arsenal goalkeeper, hitting his leg on the way.
That was an unusual moment of goalmouth action last night as Everton beat Arsenal in the league for the first time since 1996.
Gylfi Sigurdsson came very close before that when his 30-yard kick hit the bar.
“It was very important to stay attached to the top of the table,” Ancelotti told BBC Sport. “The play was great. All the good news tonight, and this gives us confidence in the next games.
“Finally, I can say we’re back.”
Arsenal was awarded a penalty in the second half after Richarlison cheated on Dani Ceballos – but was replaced by an assistant video referee with Nicolas Pepe. He was present at the time of construction.
Gunners chief executive Mikel Arteta said: “We have always been a better team. But there are some decisions that we cannot control.
“Not accepting a fine 15 seconds before this, we have had eight or nine touches after Pepe was asleep. I saw it ten times, and I didn’t get it. It can be taken the way they want—zero control. Someone has to explain that.
Gabriel Martinelli almost saved Arsenal from injury. But Jordan Pickford defended his shotgun.
Leno also came to the corner of the past but was unable to rectify his costly mistakes.
Can this little fortune boost Everton’s season?
Everton’s victory over the team under them at the table comes at a crucial moment.
The Tories have failed to win in their last six games in all competitions. Eliminating any real chance of error as they seek a place in the Champions League.
The win keeps them eighth in the league. But Everton is now between three points from Chelsea and West Ham, who are fourth and fifth in a row and draw on Saturday.
They had only one chance at the Emirates Stadium – although their goal did not come from it.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin came close to returning from injury in the second minute but put it on foot.
Richarlison forced a low rescue for Leno, with Calvert-Lewin inches from the return.
Sigurdsson’s free-kick at the top of the bar looked set to be their biggest effort until Richarlison’s low ball somehow slipped off Leno.
The VAR check confirmed that the Brazilian – who easily passed Granit Xhaka in construction – was on the sidelines.
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Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for the next season’s Champions League.
Now it depends on winning this year’s Europa League. They sit nine points behind European places in the Premier League, with the first leg Europa League semi-final in Villarreal on Thursday.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were not on the sidelines due to injuries and illness on Friday night. And they had to get to the ground early to avoid protests.
Arteta said: “We have to deal with the frustration and focus on strength. The semi-final is very important for us. I don’t want to use excuses, and I understand the protests.
“On the pitch, doing well, we were a better team. We controlled the game, and we got opportunities and openness.”
They played good football against Everton. But they didn’t create many clear chances.
Buka Saka shot straight at Jordan Pickford, and the Everton goalkeeper blocked out Dani Ceballos’ 20-yard touchdown pass.
They thought they had a fine when Ceballos was cut down. But Pepe’s arm was missing from its construction, so it was replaced.
Even after Leno’s forgetful moment, they had a chance to redeem the previous point as they had done against Fulham in their last game. But Martinelli’sPickford denied Martinelli’s replacement.