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Third Gunners defeat in last four league games

Despite a double whammy at the half-time whistle, Everton hit back in the second period against Arsenal to secure a vital victory through Gray’s stoppage-time dream goal

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta made four changes after the narrow 2-3 draw at Manchester United, starting Tierney, Xhaka, Saka and Lacazette instead of Tavares, Elneny, Smith-Rowe and Aubameyang. At the other end, Everton coach Rafael Benitez rotated twice compared to the 1-4 Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool, bringing on Mina and Gordon for Digne and Rondon.

Double whack at the half-time whistle

From the outset, it was evident from both teams that the initial focus was on safety in their own game. An extremely tough opening phase remained completely without highlights, the isolated attempts by Gray (13th) and Doucouré (25th) were almost unworthy of the name. But the hosts got better and better into the game and consequently scored the supposed lead through Richarlison, who, however, was offside with Townsend’s free-kick cross (44th). Shortly afterwards, the Toffees suffered a double blow when Ödegaard converted the visitors’ first and only real chance to take the lead almost at the half-time whistle (45.+2).

Richarlison scores a brace from offside

After the break, the Gunners showed some improvement and created a second good chance through Gabriel – but the Brazilian headed the ball free into Pickford’s arms (53rd). Shortly afterwards, Richarlison scored again, but his second goal of the evening was also disallowed – a millimetre decision (57th). As a result, the game developed at a faster pace, but it became hectic and niggly again and again. Minor and major fouls repeatedly interrupted the flow of the game, which even the referee, Michael Dean, could not maintain with a clear line;

Actual exchange leads to Gray’s long-range strike

In the final minutes, a real exchange of blows developed: Just over ten minutes before the end, Richarlison was finally allowed to celebrate in accordance with the rules after he had headed a clearance over the line (79th minute). Only a few minutes later, however, the Londoners should have taken the lead again when wild card Nketiah headed a Saka cross against the post from close range (84). As stoppage time approached, it was Ödegaard (90.+1) whose shot was blocked by Keane in the greatest of emergencies, before Gray’s long-range hammer beat Ramsdale, who had no chance, to make it 2-1 (90.+2). As Iwobi missed the decision (90.+6) and Aubameyang the equaliser with the last action of the game (90.+8), the result remained as it was;

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