Arsenal hold off Everton fightback to claim points

Everton 1 Arsenal 2

Goals from Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas proved decisive as Arsenal held off an Everton fightback to claim second in the Barclays Premier League this afternoon.

Sagna opened the scoring after 35 minutes at Goodison Park with a ferocious strike from a tight angle and Fabregas doubled the lead early in the second half.

Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh spurned glorious chances to add to the lead but Everton produced a thrilling finish and deservedly pulled one back through Tim Cahill late on.

The Gunners also had Lukasz Fabianksi to thank for their three points, the goalkeeper having produced fine saves to deny Jermaine Beckford, Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha.

Jack Rodwell also blazed a fine chance over as Everton refused to surrender their seven-match unbeaten run without a fight.

The Toffees had their first chance of the afternoon from a set-piece as Mikel Arteta swung in a corner but Saha, impeded as team-mate Cahill jumped for the same ball, headed wide.

Nasri broke clear for Arsenal but opted not to pass as he reached the box and Sylvain Distin stuck out a leg to block his shot.

Everton countered swiftly from the resulting corner as Cahill released Coleman down the right. The exciting Irishman beat Fabregas as he raced into the box but Cahill headed over.

Jack Wilshere almost found a way through for Arsenal after intricate play involving Chamakh and Nasri but Phil Jagielka slid in at the cost of a corner.

Everton probed forward and Saha curled a shot over after Cahill failed to control the ball on the edge of the area.

After a subdued period, the game came to life as Sagna opened the scoring with a ferocious strike in the 35th minute.

Nasri first tested Tim Howard as he cut in from the right and unleashed a powerful left-foot shot from outside the area. The American saved well to his left but Andrey Arshavin retrieved the ball and teed up for Sagna to rifle into the top corner from a tight angle.

Webb courted controversy on the stroke of half-time when he refused Pienaar a free-kick just outside the area after an apparent push by Alex Song.

Saha then headed against the post from a corner but Webb caused further ire when he pulled up play to give a goal-kick having apparently felt the initial cross swung out of play.

Rodwell made a welcome return for Everton in the second half after 11 weeks out with an ankle injury, the midfielder replacing John Heitinga.

Arsenal also made a change with Denilson coming on for Wilshere and the Brazilian was soon involved.

Denilson won the ball after Arteta was fed a poor pass in the centre circle and broke forward. Fabregas then worked the ball on to Chamakh in the box and the Spaniard took a quick return pass to swivel and shoot beyond Howard.

Everton attempted to hit back and Arsenal were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men as Saha was hacked down by last man Sebastien Squillaci.

Fabregas was booked after a challenge on Distin which left both players on the ground but the incident appeared accidental, then Rodwell shot over.

Arsenal should have had a third after Nasri broke the length of the field but Howard stood up until the last moment to block the Frenchman's shot.

Chamakh then put another glorious chance over from a Fabregas cross but Saha was unlucky at the other end when Song got in the way of a fierce shot.

Everton sensed the need to attack and manager David Moyes went with three up front as he replaced Arteta and captain Neville for Yakubu and Beckford, who immediately went close as he turned sharply in the area but Fabianski tipped around the post.

Yakubu then picked out Pienaar with a low cross but again Fabianski was alert - and the goalkeeper did brilliantly to tip away a Saha shot.

Everton finally got on the scoresheet with two minutes remaining when Saha jumped high to reach a cross at the back post and Cahill fired past Fabianski - but four minutes of injury time did not produce an equaliser.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick