Arsenal v Everton
Two second half goals condemned Everton to a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal came from behind to claim all three points.
Andrey Arshavin’s equaliser on 70 minutes was closely followed by Laurent Koscielny’s headed winner as the Blues’ stoic resistance was ended.
The visitors had taken the lead to a chorus of boos in North London as the match officials allowed Louis Saha’s hotly-disputed 24th minute opener to stand.
As Seamus Coleman prodded the ball forwards, the striker had visibly strayed beyond the last man.
But as it ricocheted off the outstretched boot of Koscielny, Saha, playing to the whistle, sent a fierce shot arrowing beyond the grasp of Wojciech Szczesny.
The wrath of the home fans was unleashed upon referee Lee Probert and his linesman as they debated for a moment before giving Saha the nod.
It was a stroke of luck and the Blues proceeded to make the most of it as they produced a near consummate away display.
Saha led the line with strength, commitment and a silky first touch while the midfield worked tirelessly to contain their hosts.
The team defended and attacked as a unit and Arsenal seemed to sorely lack a solution to the Everton gameplan.
Yet having said all of that, David Moyes’ men will be deeply disappointed with the manner in which they conceded - the first goal perhaps a little unfortunate but the second a free header from a corner.
Everton were unchanged following the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday while, in stark contrast, the hosts made 10 changes from the side that had begun against League One Huddersfield.
One of those afforded half a rest - having been summoned from the bench to finish off the plucky Terriers - was midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
And the Spaniard, so dangerous when drifting into space between the lines of midfield and defence, threatened to make the breakthrough as he latched on to Robin van Persie’s exquisite backheel.
The Dutchman, with his back to goal, produced a pass so cheekily disguised it could have come with plastic nose and fake glasses.
The finish from Fabregas, however, was not of the same standard as Leighton Baines thundered across to close the angle.
The chance arrived after a strong opening 10 minutes for the visitors but the glimpse of goal breathed life into Arsenal.
Walcott fired straight at Howard’s legs and Koscielny headed a chance wide.
But with Everton on the back foot they promptly took the lead as Saha’s opener plunged the game into controversy.
A sense of injustice revved up the home support and, with the Blues contingent making themselves heard, half chances began to flow to a raucous backdrop.
Arteta had a goalbound shot blocked and at the other end Koscielny headed another chance wide.
But on the whole the visitors had a solid look about them as they took their lead into the interval.
The midfield, led by the impressive Marouane Fellaini, snapped at the heels of their adversaries, closing space and mopping up loose balls.
The first 20 minutes of the second half went by largely without incident as the Blues continued to hold their own.
Just after the hour Arshavin and Niklas Bendtner arrived and the change certainly gave the Gunners a fresh impetus.
And it was Russian international Arshavin who dragged his team level as Fabregas’ straight ball was inadvertently flicked on by Jack Rodwell for the substitute to fire home.
The goal had a soft feel about it, as did the second, as the hosts made the most of a corner to grab the winner.
Koscielny had been a menace all night at set pieces and he nodded home Van Persie’s delivery to confirm the Blues’ fate.