WTTGT Reporter: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne
ARSENAL 1-0 EVERTON
Arsenal celebrated their 125th anniversary with a hard-fought 1-0 win over a spirited Everton side thanks to magnificent strike from Robin van Persie, with goal worthy enough of marking any celebrations.
With Andre Santos out injured, Arsenal made one change to the side which beat Wigan last weekend with Johan Djourou replacing the Brazilian, and Thomas Vermaelen shifting out to left back.
After a cagey opening ten minutes, it was the Toffees who created the first chance as Leighton Baines’s corner caused confusion for the hosts and Louis Saha’s effort was blocked by Per Mertesacker.
Arsenal then missed a glorious chance to take the lead when Theo Walcott raced through on goal but elected to pass rather than shoot, then Gervinho’s effort was deflected for a corner then just before the half hour mark, Aaron Ramsey swivelled on the ball in the area and his left footed shot went just over the bar, moments later the Ivorian forced a good save from Tim Howard.
The gunners could not make the most of their sustained pressure towards the end of the half as the teams went in level at the break, with Arsenal being guilty of wasting a couple of clear openings to take the lead.
The home side, in search of the opening goal, created a few opportunities at the beginning of the second half, with Walcott producing a moment of good skill to get past Baines before seeing his fierce effort well saved by Howard.
At the other end Vermaelen produced an excellent piece of defending to divert the danger as Cahill was waiting to pounce on a threatening cross from the left, before Everton Captain Phil Neville went close with a strike from the edge of the area.
With 20 minutes to go van Persie broke the dead-lock with a truly spectacular volley as he sweetly struck home Alex Song’s floated pin-point pass.
Everton substitute Magaye Gueye sent an effort past the post as the visitors looked to shock the hosts in the dying minutes of the game. They then came very close to an equaliser in injury time as young debutant Conor Mcaleny saw his well taken volley beat Wojciech Szczesny but fly just wide.
But Arsenal held on to seal three points to climb into the top-four for the first time this season and ensure they marked their 125th anniversary with a win.
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