Arteta magic keeps Everton's home fire burning

Everton 2 Bolton Wanderers 0

Mikel Arteta's influence on the game, his opening goal the one moment of genius in a somewhat mundane encounter, served as another painful reminder to his manager, David Moyes, of why this campaign counts as Everton's great lost opportunity.

Making his sixth start after the best part of 12 months out with a knee injury, the Everton playmaker curled in a superb 20-yard free-kick after Gretar Steinsson had been penalised, and sent off, for hauling down Ayegbeni Yakubu as the forward chased a through-ball from Steven Pienaar.

The goal clinched Everton's seventh straight home win in the League, their best run in two decades, and lifted the game above the end-of-season mediocrity it had featured over the preceding 72 minutes. It also demonstrated that Everton's season might have been radically different had Arteta, among others, been available from the outset. "Of course I wish it was three months ago, with the players we have coming back," said Moyes. "And that was a terrific free-kick. I said I didn't want Mikel to do things too soon when he came back but he's improving all the time. He's feeling more like his old self."

Everton rounded off the victory in the closing minutes when Leon Osman did well to keep the ball in play and pulled it back for Pienaar to score into an open net from 15 yards, a goal which was rough justice on a Bolton team who had more than matched Everton in the first period.

Indeed, their manager, Owen Coyle, had a number of complaints, not only about Steinsson's dismissal but also the fact that Arteta apparently moved the ball closer to the Bolton goal prior to his free-kick, and referee Alan Wiley's failure to send off Tim Cahill.

"My initial impression was that Yakubu was offside but, if there was contact, it was minimal," said Coyle. "Mr Wiley, in his wisdom, decided it was a red card, which sometimes happens, but my issue then is that he allows Mikel Arteta, who is a world-class player, to move the ball four yards closer to our goal. I would suggest he's far more dangerous from four yards closer to our goal."

Cahill, booked in the first half, might have been dismissed, either for deliberate handball or a studs-up challenge on Lee Chung-Yong. "I've had players booked and sent off for similar offences," added Coyle.

Of a number of chances Bolton carved out in the opening period, a superb flowing move ended with Jack Wilshere slipping the ball to Kevin Davies, whose shot was kept out by Tim Howard's outstretched leg.

Attendance: 36,503

Referee: Alan Wiley

Man of the match: Arteta

Match rating: 5/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea