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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
22 March 2012
• Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 30330
T. Vermaelen 8'
So that's that folks, Arsenal make it six league wins on the bounce and move one step closer to cementing a top-four finish. Thanks a bunch for joining us, good night!
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME!! It ends 1-0 to Wenger's men, who climb to third place in the league and jump above Tottenham with the three points. Arsenal got off to a fantastic start and should have really added to Vermaelen's headed effort but luckily for them, after Everton had a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside, it turned out to be enough to secure the win.
90' + 2'
Everton are pushing forward but the Arsenal back four are holding firm as Koscielny intercepts an attempted through ball.
Three minutes of added time at Goodison.
Everton looking to pin Arsenal back as they launch a long-ball into the box, the flag is raised though as Jelavic strays offside.
Baines forces a corner off Sagna on the left hand side after a good chase, the delivery is cleared and Fellaini is penalised for a push in the box.
Arsenal come forward again with Gervinho who twists and turns inside the box but can't get enough space to wind up a shot.
Gibbs tries to deliver from deep on the left but Hibbert blocks it and Everton clear.
Full time at White Hart Lane and it's ended 1-1 meaning a win for Arsenal will see them leapfrog their neighbours.
Van Persie then has a decent chance for Arsenal. Gervinho breaks away on the left-flank and cuts it back for the in-form striker, however he has to stretch and can't control his shot, which goes behind.
Free-kick for Everton on the right hand side, it's deep into the Arsenal box but is headed back across goal. Anichebe meets the ball with his head but puts it over the bar.
Update from the Tottenham game with Stoke, and it's Spurs who have equalised. Rafael van der Vaart with the goal.
Jelavic is played in with a lovely chipped ball over the top but the flag is raised, his touch is good but the finish isn't there anyway.
Ferocious strike from Drenthe after an Everton cross falls to the winger on the edge of the box, his effort rises over the bar though.
ANOTHER STOP FROM HOWARD! A ball from the left evades everyone in the box and falls to Rosicky at the far post he takes a touch and hits it but the Everton keeper is equal to it. In fact the Arsenal man has been penalised for handball, still a top stop though.
Arsenal go close again! Gibbs does fantastically to slip Van Persie in after cutting in from the left, the Dutchman hits it with his left from a tight angle but Howard deflects in away from goal.
SAVE by Howard!! Walcott breaks forward through the middle and finds Ramsey on the edge on the box, the Welshman takes a touch to steady himself and fires a low drive towards goal. The American keeper gets down well to save though.
A couple of miss-places passes are coming into the game now as the fluidity is fading. An Everton goal would set up an exciting last 20.
Rosicky tries a clever flick over the top to get Walcott in behind however that linesman on the far side has his flag up again, correctly this time.
Everton look to launch a quick counter-attack but Cahill over-hits his through ball.
Just away from the game at Goodison, it's good news for Arsenal fans regarding Tottenham v Stoke, the Potters have taken the lead through Cameron Jerome.
Pienaar sets up team-mate Fellaini but his effort is just tipped wide of the far post by Szczesny! Again though, the flag was raised.
Yellow Card Steven Pienaar
Handbags are now out as Song and Jelavic square up to each other. Moments earlier Arsenal had a shout for a penalty turned down after Drenthe brought down Rosicky, replays show it was outside of the box though.
End to end at Goodison, Baines beats Sagna and puts a powerful ball into the box, Fellaini nearly gets on the end of it but can't quite grow enough.
Van Persie hits the post after the cross from the right is headed down to him, but the flag is up anyway.
Arsenal have a corner, it's cleared initially but falls to Arteta, the Spanish midfielder hits it on the volley but his shot is blocked.
Yellow Card Tim Cahill
Good play from Everton, Jelavic wins the ball in the air and finds Fellaini but the Belgian's effort is blocked by Vermaelen. The Toffees continue to attack and put the ball into the Gunners' box but it''s dealt with again.
Pienaar is back on his feet and presses forward forcing Koscielny to put it behind. Everton fail to make anything from the corner though.
Pienaar is down clutching his head after a challenge from Vermaelen. The defender's boot catches the Everton man but it's clearly accidental.
Baines puts a ball in the box from a free-kick on the left-flank, Fellaini gets his head on it but it's straight at Szczesny.
Arsenal get the game back underway.
Let's hear from our man Sam Bisby during the break: "The linesman at my nearside will be the most hated man in the stadium right now, with at least four occasions of the official raising his flag for offside when, most times, it was the completely wrong decision. Royston Drenthe and Everton should have a goal to their names at the break after the Dutchman took the ball through the right-channel and straight onto goal, slotting past Wojciech Szczesny in the process, only to have the flag go up when his was about five yards onside. Arsenal meanwhile have dominated for much of the match and their share of possession has rarely dropped below 65 per cent. The Gunners’ midfield is being allowed plenty of time on the ball and are getting forward with every opportunity and if it continues you can only see the visitors doubling their lead in the second-half."
With Tottenham drawing 0-0 with Stoke Wenger's men will jump ahead of their rivals as long as they hang on to this lead. Don't you go anywhere.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME! Arsenal made a brilliant start after Vermaelen headed home from Van Persie's corner and they could have had three or four with Ramsey missing a couple of very good chances. Moyes' side responded well though and should be level after Drenthe had a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside. However, as it stands the visitors are a goal to the good.
Rosicky smashes an effort towards goal from just outside the 18-yard-box, he gets a decent amount of power behind it but Howard parries away comfortably.
The Everton players and fans are getting increasingly annoyed with the linesman on the far-side. Drenthe is ruled offside after being played in by Osman, again he looked level. Very tough call again though.
Jelavic is played in with a delightful ball over the top but is flagged for offside, again it's a very close call but nowhere near as blatant as earlier incident.
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
Sagna then brings down Pienaar with a late sliding tackle and the Frenchman picks up this evening's first yellow card.
Pienaar goes into a challenge for the ball with Vermaelen with his boot raised, the South-African is insisting he had the right to go for it but the referee gives a foul.
Wojciech Szczesny nearly produces a howler as his clearance is charged down by Pienaar, luckily for the Arsenal keeper is goes behind for a goal-kick.
Everton have looked a lot better since conceding, they could well have been three goals down after ten minutes. They've now managed to tighten up in midfield and gain a foothold in possession.
Having seen a replay of that incident, it certainly looks to be the wrong decision. Moyes definitely doesn't agree with the linesman and is giving the fourth-official an ear full.
Everton have a goal disallowed!! Alex Song gives away possession far too easily, Fellaini finds Drenthe with a nice little ball and the winger finishes well. However the assistant's flag is raised.
Pienaar's ball in goes straight out for a goal-kick. Set pieces have been poor all round so far tonight, except from the one that the Gunners scored from of course.
Sagna shows passion to prevent a throw in on the near side but in doing so allows Everton to cross, it's headed behind for a corner...
Walcott shows his lightning pace as he charges forward on the right and wins a free-kick in a dangerous area, after a trip from Steven Pienaar. Van Persie's delivery is poor though.
Laurent Koscielny wastes possession for Arsenal as he hits a long-ball straight out for a goal-kick. The early tempo seems to have fizzled out a little bit.
Arteta surges forward and goes down under a challenge by Fellaini, the Spaniard wants a free-kick but nothing is given.
Patient build-up from the Gunners as the knock it around at the back and look for an opening.
Vermaelen finds himself in an advanced position, he receives the ball from a Walcott cutback and tries a first-time effort which is deflected behind. Arsenal fail to capitaliae from the corner as Howard finally gathers the ball after a couple of attempted crosses.
Poor delivery from Arteta who fails to beat the first man.
Gibbs gets forward on the left-flank and does well to cross, Sylvain Distin heads it behind...
Leon Osman and Jelavic link-up on the edge of the visitors' box but the return ball to the midfielder is slightly over-hit and Gibbs gets back to extinguish any danger.
Everton go close! Marouane Fellaini wins the ball in the air inside the Arsenal box, he sends it Nikica Jelavic's was but the former Rangers man misses the target. Decent chance for the home-side who are managing to get their foot on the ball a bit more now.
Everton look to respond with Royston Drenthe who whips a ball in from the right, but the Arsenal back-four deal with it well.
SAVE from Time Howard! Arteta slips Van Persie in with a beautiful touch, the striker gets it on his favoured left-boot but sees his effort blocked by the Everton keeper, it then falls to Ramsey who can't find the net either. The Gunners could have had three already, Moyes' men need to wake up.
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Thomas Vermaelen
GGGOOOOAAAALLL!! Arsenal take a deserved early lead, and it's the match-winner against Newcastle who heads them in front, Thomas Vermaelen.
More good work from the Gunners, Theo Walcott receives the ball inside the opponents' box, he turns and finds Ramsey who sees his effort deflected over.
ARSENAL should be ahead. Brilliant diagonal ball from Tomas Rosicky into the Everton box, Van Persie does excellently to beat his man and cushion it down to the on-rushing Aaron Ramsey, however the Welshman's effort is wild and goes over.
Everton clear the initial ball but Gibbs manages to put it back into the box. Again, the hosts clear and set up an attack of their own.
Bacary Saga delivers an early cross from the right towards Robin van Persie but it's nodded behind for a corner.
Early possession at Goodison has been all Arsenal's, Kieran Gibbs get an early ball in but it's headed away.
And we're off.
Kick-off is fast approaching and here's some more from Sam Bisby: "As the teams are announced over the PA, Mikel Arteta's is received with a very warm response from both sets of fans and the player himself acknowledges the appreciation with a wave to fans."
As I mentioned earlier the visitors have won their last five league matches. They have also managed 18 goals in those games, which averages to 3.6 per game.
Victor Anichebe is on the bench for the hosts tonight, he'll make his 100th Premier League appearance if he features.
The Toffees are one out of two sides who have failed to score against Arsenal in the league this season, Wigan are the others.
From Opta sports: "80 - Arsenal have scored more goals against Everton than any team against a single opponent in Premier League history. Firing"
Let's have some match facts as we approach kick-off...
Of course the news has been dominated this week by the incident involving former Gunner Fabrice Muamba, the current squad have paid tribute to the Bolton man, Sam Bisby reports: "The Arsenal players have just ran out donning shirts full of support for their former player Fabrice Muamba. The tops have a picture of the 23-year-old back in (even) younger days when he was a Gunner himself accompanied with a simple message of 'in our thoughts, Fabrice.'"
On the subject of Arteta's return to Goodison, Moyes has had some words to say in the match programme: “I would like to welcome Arsene Wenger, his staff and, of course, Mikel Arteta back to Goodison Park. He [Arteta] was, and is, an excellent player who was a big part of things here for a number of years. Everybody here always looks out for Mikel because he was very popular and a big part of the group. But tonight I know he will understand how difficult we will try and make his return to Goodison.”
And more from Mr Bisby: "So, Mikel Arteta makes the Arsenal starting line-up (no surprises there). I’m expecting a fairly warm welcome back for the Spaniard from the home crowd, the midfielder was very much a loved character at Goodison Park and most Everton fans I would think respected his move to the capital as the player tries to make a bigger name for himself. Meanwhile, there’s just one change to either side, with Everton replacing veteran Phil Neville for fellow seasoned defender Tony Hibbert. The Gunners bring in Aaron Ramsey, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is demoted to the bench."
As ever our man at the ground, Sam Bisby being that man tonight, will be providing us with updates and here's his first: "Greetings from Merseyside where Arsenal have traveled up and over to Goodison Park to face an Everton team unbeaten here in eight matches in all competitions, with their FA Cup draw with Sunderland on Saturday ending a run of five games at home where they took all the spoils each time. You have to remember the Gunners are also a side in form and haven’t lost in the Premier League since their 2-1 loss to Manchester United at the end of January. Since then they have acquired 16 points from a possible 18 in their hope of securing at least fourth place, but with Tottenham in “crisis”, Arsene Wenger’s outfit will almost definitely be looking for third."
Everton: Howard; Hibbert, Distin, Heitinga, Baines; Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Drenthe; Cahill; Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Jagielka, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Neville, Gueye, Anichebe. Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Arteta; Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott; Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Santos, Djourou, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Benayoun, Gervinho, Chamakh.
Arsene Wenger has made one change from the victory over Newcastle last week, while David Moyes makes two from the side that drew against Sunderland in the FA Cup at the weekend. Team news in full to follow…
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Everton v Arsenal. The Gunners are on a five match winning streak in the Premier League, coming from behind in four of those fixtures, but can they push on and hunt down Tottenham? They have the chance to jump above their north London rivals this evening, depending on Spurs' result against Stoke, which is tonight as well.
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