Arsenal and Everton grabbed a share of the points as strong defending won out in a 0-0 Premier League draw at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal were looking to strengthen their grip on fourth place, but were denied by a good performance from Tim Howard and the Everton back four.
David Moyes’ side will be happy with the draw, as it keeps their slim hopes of UEFA Champions League football alive despite Olivier Giroud wasting some good chances.
Everton should have been in front inside six minutes, but the chance was wasted by South African winger, Steven Pienaar. Johnny Heitinga’s clever through ball allowed the former Tottenham Hotspur attacker to fire at goal from ten yards, but he blazed over under pressure from Gunners goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny
Throughout the first half, it was hard for either side to grab a foothold in the game. Marouane Fellaini’s shocking clearance allowed Santi Cazorla to find Kieran Gibbs on the edge of the box, but the England left-back smashed just over with a rasping drive.
With half-time approaching, both sides created a chance to take the lead. Ross Barkley turned brilliantly past Mikel Arteta before he slid the ball through for Victor Anichebe. The Nigeria striker would have scored if it wasn’t for a superb sliding tackle by Gibbs.
Up the other end, Giroud beat Tim Howard to Aaron Ramsey’s low cross, but the former Montpellier striker turned it wide from eight yards. Although he attacked the ball off-balance, Giroud should have scored from the position he was in.
In the second half, Arsenal started brighter and were unlucky to see Howard make a good save to deny Cazorla. Gibbs headed the ball down for the Spain international, who rifled a half-volley towards the Everton goal but the former Manchester United goalkeeper dived to his right to push the ball away.
Barkley was impressive for the Toffees as he pulled the strings in the Arsenal half. He managed to get the ball on his right foot and flash a powerful shot towards goal that flew inches wide of Szczesny’s far post.
The away side had Seamus Coleman’s superb clearance to thank for not going behind in the 78th minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain raced forward on the right wing and squared the ball across the penalty area towards Giroud, who was ready to tap into the empty net. The Republic of Ireland full back made a last gasp challenge to clear the ball away ahead of the Arsenal striker’s certain finish.
The chances kept coming for Giroud, but he continued to disappoint the Gunners fans. He brought down Bacary Sagna’s fierce pass with a superb touch, but blasted well over with a right-footed shot from a tight angle.
In the end, the score remained goal-less and the victory as Tottenham and Chelsea were handed a chance to gain some points in the race for the top four.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)