Blues Fall To Narrow Arsenal Defeat

Everton endured another afternoon of frustration as Arsenal ran out narrow 1-0 winners at Goodison Park.

A Blues performance that was plentiful in organisation and grit was ultimately undone by Leandro Trossard's second-half strike.

Dwight McNeil and Vitalii Mykolenko were drafted into Sean Dyche's starting line-up as the Toffees boss made two changes from the side that began the 2-2 draw at Sheffield United last time out.

McNeil and Mykolenko came in for their first starts of the campaign having recovered from respective injuries, replacing James Garner and Nathan Patterson, who were named amongst the substitutes.

Summer signing Beto retained his starting berth to make his home debut for the Club, while fit-again Dominic Calvert-Lewin returned to the bench.

Arsenal came flying out of the blocks from the first whistle, enjoying 76.3 per cent of possession in the opening quarter of an hour - but Everton, lining up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, coped well to ensure Jordan Pickford was not required in the opening exchanges.

The contest came to life on 19 minutes when Beto's interception just inside Arsenal territory fortuitously ricocheted into the path of Fabio Vieira, who threaded a pass through for Gabriel Martinelli to control and prod home - but it wasn't to be the opening goal.

As fate would have it, almost the instant Martinelli's effort touched the back of the net, all four sides of Goodison Park rose and applauded to remember Matthew Daulby, who was tragically murdered while out with friends back in July.

Matthew's family were keen to ensure the tribute to Matthew also raises awareness of the devastation caused by knife crime and wish to encourage young people to "choose life, not a knife".

As the clock ticked over to 20 minutes and the applause began to slow, it was confirmed a VAR check was taking place, where it would be revealed Eddie Nketiah had strayed into an offside position and, therefore, the goal would be chalked off.

Goalless again, then - and, as well as providing the crowd with an energy boost, it also seemed give the Toffees a much-welcomed shot of belief.

Beto illustrated that intent, bulldozing through Arsenal's defence with a run that began on the halfway line before eventually being shepherded out of play by William Saliba.

There were shouts for an Everton penalty just after the 30-minute mark, but referee Simon Hooper waved away those appeals after Abdoulaye Doucouré went to ground at the end of a mazy dribble into the Gunners' 18-yard box.

Arsenal made an equally fast start to the second period and less than 60 seconds after the restart Pickford produced a two-handed parry to safety to keep out Martin Odegaard's powerful drive from inside the penalty area.

Mikel Arteta's side remained on the front foot but both managers made brought on fresh attacking options after 65 minutes, with Calvert-Lewin replacing Beto for the Blues and Gabriel Jesus taking the place of Eddie Nketiah for the visitors.

Everton went close next through Arnaut Danjuma, who improvised to control an awkward bounce on the edge of penalty area before looping a shot narrowly over Raya's crossbar in front of the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End.

The deadlock was eventually broken with 21 minutes remaining, as Arsenal opted to go short from a corner - a feature throughout the match - and Bukayo Saka's cut-back was converted by first-half substitute Trossard via the inside of the post.

Everton changed to a 4-4-2 in the closing stages in an ultimately unfruitful late surge for an equaliser, as Trossard's effort would prove to be the match-winning blow.

Next up for Dyche's side is a trip to Brentford on Saturday 23 September (5.30pm BST).