Wenger's side move above rivals after sealing their sixth win a row in the Premier League as goal from Belgian international gives them the three points at Goodison Park
The Gunners took the lead as the defender headed home Robin Van Persie’s corner as he leapt highest amongst many bodies from the home-side to place his effort into the net.
David Moyes’s side were under pressure for most of the game but though they had got back into the match when Royston Drenthe fired his shot past Woiciech Szczesny only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Replays suggested this was the incorrect decision by the linesman.
This proved to be crucial as the teams couldn’t find a way through again in the match as the Gunners sealed a vital three points to secure their sixth win a row in the Premier League.
Moyes made two changes to his team that drew 1-1 with Sunderland at the weekend asTony Hibbert replaced Phil Neville who dropped to the bench while Steven Pienaar who was cup-tied for the game against the Black Cats came back into the side for Seamus Coleman.
Arsenal made just one change to their team that beat Newcastle 2-1 last time out as Aaron Ramsey replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the starting line-up. As the Gunners kept their three pronged attack with Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott playing just behind Van Persie.
The Gunners started the game at a rapid pace and got into their passing game immediately, which lead to an early chance for Theo Walcott who was put through down the middle. He twisted and turned and his shot was blocked only as far as Ramsey who saw his effort deflected over.
From the resulting corner, Vermaelen rose the highest in a crowded area to head Van Persie’s pinpoint cross past a stranded Tim Howard to give Arsene Wenger’s side the a deserved lead in the eighth minute after a great start.
Arsenal had the home-side well and truly on the back foot and could have gone further ahead when Mikel Arteta slipped a ball through to Van Persie who saw his effort blocked, the ball then fell to Ramsey who saw his shot well saved by Howard.
The Toffees were restricted to counter-attacks in the first-half as they struggled to get any control over the game but they went close through Nikica Jelavic as he was put through Marouane Fellaini but he failed to get his effort on target.
Moyes’ side took confidence from that attacking surge and should have been level if not for a poor decision from the linesman who wrongly disallowed Drenthe’s strike when it appeared he was well onside following a wonderful pass from Fellaini to set up the Dutchman.
In the second-half Arsenal were struggling to find the tempo they had before the interval and Everton were taking advantage pressing the Gunners midfielders whenever they had the ball. The pressure carved out a chance for Fellaini but he could only head his chance straight at Szczesny.
The Gunners regained their composure and should have doubled their lead through Van Persie who he was found unmarked in the area. The Dutchman composed himself and struck the ball well, despite it being slightly behind him, but saw his shot smack the post and bounce to safety.
After Van Persie’s near miss Arsenal began to regain control of the game and used their accurate passing game to keep the ball away from Everton which was working to great effect and helped run down the clock as well.
As the Toffees tried to press Wenger’s side in possession it opened up the field and space in behind which was nearly exploited in a good move between Walcott and Ramsey.
The England international broke free down the right then drifted infield and found the Welshman who let fly with a powerful shot which was well saved by Howard as he got down well to his right to make the stop.
Moyes’ side kept plugging away at Arsenal however and came close to getting an equaliser when Drenthe shot from the edge of the area after the Gunners had failed to clear their lines from a corner fortunately for them his shot went just over the bar.
Both teams pushed for a goal, as the home-side pressed to get back into the game while the visitors looked to kill the match. Van Persie and Ramsey had chances but both couldn’t convert them while Fellaini and Jelavic couldn’t find their way past a stubborn Arsenal defence.
Wenger’s side held on for all three points despite a late onslaught and sealed their sixth win in a row in the Premier League to move above rivals Tottenham into third place while Everton remain in 10th place.