Despite taking the lead through Theo Walcott in the opening minutes Arsenal were pegged back by a Marouane Fellaini strike from range against a dogged Everton side.
Everton 1-1 Arsenal
Fellaini returned to the Everton line up after his recent suspension and that was undoubtedly a boost for a side that hadn’t lost at Goodison Park since March which was against The Gunners.
Despite doubts over his future remaining after he was omitted from the club’s 2013 calendar, Walcott returned to the Arsenal starting eleven and that decision was to be vindicated early on as he opened the scoring after just 52 seconds. He started the move cutting in from the right before exchanging passes with Aaron Ramsey before his chipped finish deflected off Tony Hibbert and over Tim Howard into the Everton net.
Fellaini nearly equalised for The Toffees with a header from Leighton Baines’ corner but it was parried off the line by Wojciech Szczesny.
However, Fellaini would get another bite at the apple in the 28th
minute after sloppy defending from Arsenal. A poor pass from Bacary Sagna put Mikel Arteta under pressure and the Spaniard was dispossessed. Sagna then partially cleared the ball but only as far as Fellaini who’s left footed shot from 25 yards beat Szczesny to make it all square.
Everton then nearly took the lead through Jelavic after he controlled Fellaini’s kock down and flicked it past Per Mertesacker but he could only blaze it over from 12 yards.
Arsenal were then fortunate not to go behind just before half time when Baines robbed Ramsey near the half way line. The English left back would have been clean through but Jelavic took possession of the ball when he was in an offside position to deny Baines the chance.
After the break Everton continued to be the better team and were nearly rewarded when Baines and Steven Pienaar linked up down the left but the South African’s shot was saved at the near post.
Szczesny was then forced to make a good save from Sylvain Distin, putting a strong right hand to the defenders goal bound header.
Everton had claims for a penalty just after the hour mark after Pienaar looked to have been felled by Arteta but the referee pointed for a corner much to the home fans annoyance.
Olivier Giroud nearly put Arsenal in front against the run of play when he met Walcott’s cross but his looping header went millimetres wide of the goal.
Arsenal nearly had a fortuitous goal when Ramsey’s pass was mis-controlled by Santi Cazorla but Howard was alert and just managed to stop the ball from sneaking past him.
The final 20 minutes saw Everton begin to tire and with that came another chance for The Gunners. Cazorla was involved again as his fierce left-footed shot from just outside the area was saved by Howard.
Despite Arsenal’s growing presence in the game, The Toffees could have snatched all three points in the final minute of normal time when Jelavic’s low cross went across the face of the goal but Fellaini wasn’t close enough to capitalise and the chance went begging.
It’s a result which sees Arsenal drop down into 7th
, 5 points behind 4th
placed West Bromwich Albion. Everton meanwhile go 6th