Carlo Ancelotti says Everton “are back” after victory at Arsenal ended a five-game winless run – and moved the Blues within touching distance of the Premier League’s top four.
Richarlison’s low cross was deflected in by goalkeeper Bernd Leno with 14 minutes remaining to give Everton their first victory in this corner of north London in 27 attempts.
Manager Ancelotti’s side came to the Emirates Stadium following three successive draws and in urgent need of three points to sustain a European challenge.
They limited the hosts to a handful of opportunities but appeared set for a stalemate until Richarlison dashed onto a long pass from Allan and delivered the ball Leno turned into his own net.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Andre Gomes both started the match following injury lay-offs, while there were returns from the bench for both Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina.
Everton, who welcome Aston Villa to Goodison Park next Saturday, are one point behind Tottenham Hotspur in sixth, and two further adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.
This video is for Season Ticket Holders, Official Members and Hospitality Members
This content is available for free to Digital Members
Free Digital Membership will provide you with the best possible experience when logged into the website, including access to the latest digital content.
Digital members will receive a monthly newsletter and get access to exclusive videos and regular member competitions offering money can’t buy prizes.
Your Digital account will also enable you to buy any tickets on general sale, and if you’re an Official member or Season Ticket Holder, the same login will allow you to access and manage your ticketing account.
To view this content you need to be a Season Ticket Holder, Hospitality Member or Official Member.
HOLGATE CALLS FOR CONSISTENCY TO REACH EUROPE
“It was a good result, important, we are still attached to the top of the table,” said Ancelotti.
“We needed that. I said before this game we had to keep fighting and we played a good game.
“We had difficulties but we tried to play and had some good opportunities.
"Defensively we were good, I am satisfied with the performance.
“It's all good news tonight and this gives us confidence for the next games.
"Finally, I can say we are back. We had a difficult moment with lots of injuries but this victory gives us more motivation for the next games."
Everton came closest to scoring in the opening half.
Gylfi Sigurdsson clipped the top of the bar with a free-kick from 25 yards and, earlier, Leno dived to his right to keep out a strike from Richarlison.
Arsenal were awarded a penalty soon after half-time following a Richarlison challenge on Dani Ceballos.
The decision was overturned by the VAR, who detected Nicolas Pepe inching offside at the start of the attack – but Arsenal seemed energised by their frustration.
Jordan Pickford was forced into his first save of the night when Ceballos took aim from distance and the hosts stretched Everton defensively.
Ancelotti’s side held firm, with centre-backs Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate outstanding, leaving Richarlison – with a helping hand from Leno – to settle the contest.
Pickford saw Everton over the line with a smart reaction stop from substitute Gabriel Martinelli deep into stoppage time.
"Jordan Pickford did really well, with a good save at the end, he was comfortable, good with the ball,” said Ancelotti.
“His performance was really good.
"After five games without a win, it was an important victory against a good team. The [European] race will be decided on the last game.
"It [ending a wait for a win at Arsenal stretching back to January 1996] is an unbelievable gift for our supporters.
“It was a good performance – not top, but solid. We tried to play, if possible, and were lucky to score a goal.
"Arsenal played a good game and maybe they played better with the ball but defensively we were really solid.”
While acknowledging fortune favoured his side on Friday, Ancelotti pointed to recent home games against Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur when Everton were unlucky not to convert draws into victories.
“To be honest it should have been a draw, Arsenal had more control of the ball,” added Ancelotti.
“We were good defensively in the first half but not so no clinical in possession.
"We deserved to win against Tottenham and Crystal Palace, today we got back the points we lost in our past few games, which were draws."