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

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
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
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

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
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families