Arsenal’s unbeaten Premier League run has ended as Everton came from behind to dramatically secure a 2-1 victory – their first win since October.
The Gunners, who had won their previous three games, started impressively in the first half and were rewarded as Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick deflected in off Ashley Williams.
Though underperforming, Everton managed to find an equaliser just before half-time when Seamus Coleman glanced home Leighton Baines’ excellent cross.
As Arsenal slowly faded from the game, Williams’s almost textbook header in the 86th minute sealed a spirited comeback by an Everton side who had won only once in 11 matches.
But there was still time left on the clock; as captain Phil Jagielka was sent off in the dying minutes for a second bookable offence, Arsenal had two shots cleared off the line in a frantic finale which also saw both goalkeepers were standing in the same net.
Ronald Koeman, who called for more aggression before kick-off, was rewarded not only with three valuable points but vastly improved contributions from Ross Barkley, James McCarthy and Enner Valencia, the latter of whom was making his first league start for the club.
The Everton manager had asserted that his squad was unbalanced and lacking both physically and mentally on the eve of Arsenal’s visit and his concerns were borne out during a poor opening.
It had exactly been the case for Everton in the opening thirty minutes. But with encouragement by a vocal crowd in Goodison Park and players mustering spirited performances, the Toffees dominated thereafter as Williams made amends and powered home a textbook header late on to complete the turnaround.
The result lifted Everton to seventh place, four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham and one behind Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Arsenal remained three points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand against bottom-placed team Sunderland.