Superior finishing from Arsenal is the difference in competitive Merseyside affair.Cesc Fabregas and Bacary Sagna were enough to give Arsenal the win and keep Everton in the bottom half of the Premier league in what was a entertaining game at the Emirates.
The Toffees started quickly and Steven Pienaar decided to make an early impression as in the first minute he lunged in at Bacary Sagna and drew the foul, bringing Howard Webb to warn him on his further conduct.
Everton’s first foray came via a corner from the right after Squillaci was forced to head the ball out. Mikel Arteta took the set-piece, but it produced nothing as Louis Saha also headed wide of Fabianski’s net.
Everton were given an excellent early chance to take the lead after Gael Clichy brought down Seamus Coleman on the edge of the Arsenal box. The Spaniard Arteta hammered the ball towards the goal but it failed to beat the wall.
The Toffees looked comfortable and dangerous in the opening exchanges and it seemed that David Moyes had told his men to start the game with fervour and enthusiasm.
Arsenal’s first chance came via Samir Nasri who, after making the most of an error by Leighton Baines, ran with purpose towards Tim Howard’s goal but his low right footed shot was blocked desperately by the diving Sylvain Distin deflecting the ball high.
Moyes’ men had a gilt edged opportunity to score after a terrific and powerful run down the right flank from Coleman left Cesc Fabregas floundering but his pinpoint cross was headed high and wide over the Arsenal net by Tim Cahill, much to the chagrin of Goodison Park.
The chances continued for both side as Andrey Arshavin saw his left foot volley from outside the box float wide of Tim Howard’s net.
Only moments later the Russian’s run through the Blues’ midfield produced another opportunity but once again his powerful shot failed to bring a save from Howard.
John Heitenga made himself very known to Howard Webb after a number of needless and niggling fouls caused the referee to speak to him on a number of occasions. These two have previous as Webb sent off Heitenga in the World Cup final in the summer and Webb once again had no chance but to show the Dutchman yellow for repeat offences.
Louis Saha was given a half-chance after 26 minutes when ponderous defending by Arsenal gifted the ball to the Frenchman but his placed left foot shot lacked any real power or precision to trouble Fabianski.
The Everton midfield were nearly made to pay dearly for giving up possession after 30 minutes when Arsenal launched a counterattack which involved Nasri, Sagna and Fabregas, but the cut-back pass from Fabregas must have been directed at the invisible man as no Arsenal support was there to surely take the lead from a fantastic position.
As the half continued Arsenal found their rhythm and looked more dangerous. Everton were allowing distant efforts to rain down on Tim Howard. One such long range shot from Nasri, which the American parried, was pounced on by Arshavin and the Russian sent the ball gently back into the danger area for Bacary Sagna to stab the ball over Howard from an acute angle. Another example of the scoring ability throughout the Arsenal team, and it was a fair reflection on the increasing threat the Gunners were posing.
Everton fans were given much to grumble about just before the half when Alexandre Song brought down Pienaar on the threshold of the box, but Howard Webb was unmoved. Everton could have evened it up in unusual fashion though, when on half time a corner from the Everton left was met unopposed at the back post by Saha who headed goalwards only for Fabianski to block, unwittingly, after the keeper had fluffed his initial lunge for the ball.
As the halftime whistle was blown the boos rang out - directed less at the hosts than at referee Webb - but Arsenal, who started slowly, had improved as the half progressed and perhaps deserved their lead.
Both managers made changes at halftime. Moyes brought off Heitenga and brought on Jack Rodwell, whilst Wenger replaced Jack Wilshire with Denilson.
Denilson made an immediate impact when after 48 minutes his run and pass triggered a moment of slick passing, typical of an Arsene Wenger side, which went to Fabregas. The Spaniard kept it moving to Chamakh, who returned the favour to his captain and Fabregas stroked the ball home to double the lead.
Only a short while later another decision from the referee drew hostility from the Goodison faithful as a marauding run from Saha was stopped abruptly by Squillaci. It wasn’t this act which infuriated Everton, but the decision not to play advantage as Seamus Coleman continued the attack and put the ball in the back of the net. Squillaci was booked, but if advantage had been played a greater form of retribution would have prevailed.
After 56 minutes Everton squandered another chance after a great run down the right from Coleman was sent into the channel for Pienaar to pick up and his squared pass to Rodwell was fired high over the bar. The Everton wastefulness continued.
On the hour mark Arsenal could have but the game beyond the Toffees with another example of clinical counterattacking football when Samir Nasri picked up the ball in his own half and tore towards the Everton goal leaving Phil Jagielka in his wake. Only a great save from Howard kept Everton’s third life intact.
That was threatened again when Nasri, this time on the right wing sent the ball inside to Fabregas who squared it to Chamakh who missed what was in effect an open goal. Shortly after Wenger made a change and brought on Tomas Rosicky for Arshavin.
With a two goal deficit, David Moyes decided to throw on more forwards to try to reclaim something from the game. Captain Phil Neville was brought off for Jermaine Beckford in a positive tactical change and Yakubu replaced Mikel Arteta.
After 80 minutes Beckford could have thrown the lifeline to Everton when a long ball over the top was picked up by the former Leeds man but his shot was wide of the Arsenal goal and another chance slipped through the fingers of Everton.
In a move to protect the lead, Wenger replaced Chamakh with Emmanual Eboue.
As the game drew to a close, Fabianski proved more and more valuable to Arsenal after he kept a string of chances out, but that luck ran out when after 88, from a corner on the right Louis Saha at the back post once more, headed the ball back across goal for Tim Cahill to volley the goal which sprung life back into Goodison Park.
The chances were numerous for Everton but the common theme of the afternoon prevailed as they were not taken and this, ultimatley is why Arsenal sit second in the table and Everton languish back in 13th.