Report: Everton Denied Arsenal Point As Gomes Returns

Everton left Arsenal with nothing to show for a courageous attacking performance on the day Andre Gomes made his return from the ankle injury which had seemed set to end the midfielder's season.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison’s goals bookended the opening half and sandwiched strikes by Eddie Nketiah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the hosts.

Aubameyang scored his second immediately after the restart and the Gabonese’s headed goal proved decisive despite a stirring Everton rally.

Twice Calvert-Lewin was inches from converting Richarlison deliveries, the same forward headed fractions wide following a Bernard delivery – and home keeper Bernd Leno hared 10 yards outside his box to intercept when Gomes’s pass played in Richarlison late on.

For the second away match in succession Everton went into half-time after sharing four goals.

The way Carlo Ancelotti’s team levelled with the final kick of the opening 45 minutes mirrored what happened at Watford three weeks ago, too.

Otherwise, the first-half script at the Emirates Stadium veered from the Vicarage Road narrative, where Everton fell two goals behind.

Here, Everton hit the front inside 60 seconds, saw their advantage wiped out in six frenetic minutes, then equalised right on the break.

Everton rattled Arsenal in the first passage of play and with their hosts reeling took full advantage.

Dani Ceballos rashly went into the back of Richarlison in a bid to disrupt Everton’s immediate momentum.

The next Arsenal player to err was David Luiz, heading Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick high and backwards.

From there, Calvert-Lewin took control, launching himself of the floor to hook the ball past German Leno.

Everton’s equaliser arrived from a set-piece, too. A corner, this time, swung in from the right by Leighton Baines, in for the injured Lucas Digne.

Alex Iwobi – who had twice come close to scoring against his former club when Everton led 1-0 – got the flick on at the near post.

Aubameyang’s clearance went only as far as Sigurdsson 18 yards out. Yerry Mina was first to react when the midfielder’s slightly awkward strike spat up off the turf, the Colombian helping the ball closer to the target.

Richarlison then employed the striking instincts which had brought him nine Premier League goals before today, the South American on hand to toe past Leno and reach double figures for the season.

Arsenal’s fortunes were transformed with the enforced replacement of Sead Kolasinac, who gingerly left the field after appearing to hurt his shoulder on 19 minutes.

The Bosnian’s replacement at left-back Bukayo Saka brought a whole next dynamic to Arsenal’s attacking play.

And when the teenager was released down the left by Granit Xhaka seven minutes after coming on he served up a delicious cross for Nketiah to apply a gossamer touch on the volley beyond Jordan Pickford.

Everton keeper Pickford was helpless to keep out Nketiah’s effort and the same was true when Aubameyang finished smartly on 33 minutes.

Luiz atoned for his earlier lapse with a pass which sliced open the visitors and invited Aubameyang to run at goal.

He opened up his body and slotted across Pickford to turn the game on its head.

Arsenal’s response to Everton’s opener was limited to a skied shot from Hector Bellerin and Aubameyang’s run into the box halted by a sliding challenge from Djibril Sidibe.

Ancelotti’s team by contrast looked dangerous every time they entered Arsenal territory.

Richarlison drove through the home team with a driving run but Iwobi sidefooted too high from 18 yards after collecting the pass.

Indeed, Everton were routinely making headway. Calvert-Lewin alighted on possession in the box after one long kick from Pickford – Shkodran Mustafi recovering to whip the ball off the forward’s toes.

German Mustafi was suddenly centre stage, fortunate to get away with a heavy-handed challenge on Richarlison and moments later over with a header from Nicolas Pepe’s corner.

Everton, though, were purposeful and confident in possession, working the ball quickly from side to side and choosing their moments to go for Arsenal’s throats.

Ceballos couldn’t help himself rushing out in an attempt to stop one such passage of possession and succeeded only in leaving Iwobi in space for another strike which whistled over the bar.

Pickford saved comfortably from Pepe and tore from his line to narrow Mesut Ozil’s angle either side of Nketiah’s strike.

Richarlison’s goal would have been unpopular with the locals regardless but the home supporters were especially irked given the player’s yellow card minutes previously for a challenge on Ceballos.

If Everton were quick off the draw at kick-off, then it was Arsenal who made the lighting start after half-time.

Xhaka and Ozil combined to feed Pepe down Arsenal’s right. Aubameyang tracked the move and when Pepe switched back onto his left foot to cross the home striker was perfectly positioned to power a header beyond Pickford’s dive to his left.

Calvert-Lewin was inches from scoring a second equaliser for Everton on 58 minutes. Mason Holgate intercepted on the edge of his own box and quickly made tracks before finding Richarlison on the left.

The forward ran at the retreating Mustafi but when he slipped the ball across, the straining Calvert-Lewin – under pressure from Luiz – couldn’t make contact at the near post.

There was an action replay with 11 minutes remaining,    Richarlison scarpering onto a ball from Gomes and squaring. But Calvert-Leiwn, with the same defender at his shoulder, was unable to apply a touch.

Leno dived to his right to hold an effort from Calvert-Lewin soon after the first of those opportunities – and the game was forming a new shape: Everton pressing to equalise and Arsenal aiming to kill off their opponents on the counter.

Sigurdsson was too high after fastening onto a Mustafi clearance to shoot first time and at the other end Ceballos was narrowly wide with a curler after being teed up by Ozil.

Richarlison controlled Fabian Delph’s low drive and spun to shoot but was denied by Leno as close quarters, with Bernard – introduced beside Gomes as Iwobi and Morgan Schneiderlin made way – beaten to the scraps by Aubameyang.

Nketiah clattered the bar after Arsenal swarmed over Ancelotti’s men to claim possession with five minutes remaining.

A goal there would have made Leno’s interception after Gomes had threaded in Richarlison moments later a little less significant.

As it was, Leno's awareness had preserved his side’s advantage.

And still they held on when Calvert-Lewin glanced inches wide following Bernard’s cross in stoppage time. There was time still for Everton final substitute Moise Kean to drag narrowly of target from 20 yards.

Rub Your Eyes

The Emirates Stadium clock was ticking towards the hour when a giant roar emerged from the throng of Evertonians’ packed in a corner opposite this cavernous arena’s dugouts.

Everton were losing 3-2 but those supporters had spied Andre Gomes standing with his toes pressed to the touchline waiting to play football.

There can’t have been many more popular returns to action than this for Gomes, 112 days after his ankle was badly damaged playing against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park.

From the very second Gomes was hurt his recovery has represented a feat of first-rate treatment and tremendous human endeavour and spirit.

Carlo Ancelotti talked in the week of the care Gomes received on the field at Goodison as being fundamental to the player’s staggeringly short recuperation.

Equally, Ancelotti has been consistent in his view that Gomes’s availability would add experience and thoroughbred quality to Everton’s midfield.

And because of Gomes’s application and courage, that is where we are now. Assessing how the 26-year-old can influence Everton on the field in the remainder of this campaign and beyond.

He was comfortable at once here, purposeful on the ball and elegant across the ground, all the things you expect from Andre Gomes in short.

There was one raking pass for Richarlison as Everton hammered at Arsenal’s door late in the day which reminded us of how with one swipe of either boot Gomes can put his side on the front foot.

Another pass to Leighton Baines after taking one touch to control was similarly classy.

Top of the lot, perhaps, was a gorgeous left-footed through pass for Richarlison which would likely have resulted in a late equaliser had Bernd Leno not been alert to the danger and advanced 10 yrds outside his area to intervene.

Gomes looked as if he’d never been away.

DCL’s Dozen

Dominic Calvert-Lewin raced through with only the goalkeeper to beat. The game had barely kicked off and Everton were drawing 0-0 at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Calvert-Lewin hesitated at the clutch moment and the ball was snaffled from his feet.

That was 17 months ago and the keeper was Petr Cech.

How Calvert-Lewin has advanced.

Back at the Gunners’ plush home and with the clock not yet at the 60-second mark, Calvert-Lewin gobbled up his opportunity to put Everton in front.

First, credit the Blues for getting on the front foot from the first whistle, their ambitious start reflecting the bold 4-4-2 to which Carlo Ancelotti remained committed for this contest.

Richarlison is developing quite the reputation which is perhaps why Dani Ceballos rashly swiped through Everton’s Brazilian forward as he gathered the ball on halfway.

The scene appeared set for Leighton Baines to swing in the right-sided free-kick.

Baines, though, vacated the picture for Gylfi Sigurdsson to flight a delivery which had David Luiz at sixes and sevens.

The Arsenal defender’s skewed header looped aerially, returning towards earth in Calvert-Lewin’s arc.

The striker adjusted his body, taking off with his back to goal and getting his foot to the ball ahead of the desperately recovering Luiz to connect sufficiently sweetly to send the ball beyond Bernd Leno’s dive.

It was a 12th Premier League goal for Calvert-Lewin this term – from 20 starts and 25 appearances in all – to add to a Carabao Cup double.

No wonder Ancelotti is a fan, too, the 22-year-old on target seven times in the Italian’s nine matches at the helm.

Holgate’s Half Century

Mason Holgate started for the 50th time in the Premier League here.

In common with fellow Yorkshireman Calvert-Lewin, the 23-year-old’s Everton career has taken flight this term.

Holgate’s first league start for the Club came more than three years ago – on 13 August 2016, against Tottenham Hotspur.

He was tending to feature in fits and starts before coming back this term following a loan at West Bromwich Albion and having to bide his time for a couple of months.

Holgate was unequivocal during that period over his determination to muscle into Everton’s back-four.

When he got his chance against Brighton & Hove Albion back in October, then, Holgate was never going to relinquish his spot lightly.

Sixteen of his previous 49 Premier League starts came in one sequence from that Brighton game under Ancelotti gave the defender a breather against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.

Holgate, playing to the left of fellow centre-half Yerry Mina, demonstrated both his defensive strength and ability on the ball against Arsenal’s collection of fleet-footed forwards.

He was quickly across to shut the door on Eddie Nketiah after reading an early Arsenal attack and later on perfectly positioned to head behind a fizzing cross from Hector Bellerin.

It was Holgate’s head which made contact on the ball amid a dozen-or-so bodies from Nicolas Pepe’s resultant corner, too.

In possession, there was a delicate chip when under pressure to Richarlison in midfield, Holgate swerving the simple option of going long and crossing his fingers.

He lifted a similar pass to Leighton Baines tight to the left touchline to spring Everton on the attack.

Even a chancy ball across the box for Mina came off. More than anything, it spoke to the well of belief surging through Holgate right now.

And that impression was reinforced 13 minutes after half-time. Holgate stepped into check a dizzying Arsenal passing sequence, before skipping clear and lofting a perfectly measure pass to send Richarlison away on the left.

Holgate is steadily receiving recognition beyond Goodison Park for his consistently excellent form – and his reputation will have been further burnished by a polished performance in the capital this weekend.