Starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Alexis
Subs: Ospina, Holding, Gibbs, Iwobi, Elneny, Lucas, Giroud
Arsenal slumped to their first Premier League defeat since the opening day of the season as Everton bounced back from Alexis Sanchez’s opener to win 2-1.
The Gunners looked to be cruising when the Chilean scored from a deflected free-kick on 20 minutes, however, they paid the price for taking their foot off the gas.
Seamus Coleman’s header ensured the sides entered the break level and Ashley Williams, who scored a winner for Swansea at the Emirates last season, crashed home a corner with his head to win it for the Toffees with five minutes left.
Arsenal started with the swagger you’d expect of a team fighting for top spot keeping the ball for long periods as the home side sat deep and invited pressure. Persistent probing by the Gunners was followed by the occasional break, Sanchez pounced on a loose Barkley pass and nearly fed Walcott. Soon after Monreal found Ozil who fired over.
Clear chances were few and far between, but even so, there was only one side that looked likely to break the deadlock. On 20 minutes Arsenal made their dominance count as Sanchez found the net with a set piece from just outside the box.
Francis Coquelin had won the free-kick having been unceremoniously taken out by Phil Jagielka and the Chilean fired goalwards with a low effort that took a big deflection off Ashley Williams that left Maarten Stekelenburg wrong-footed. It was all the more galling for the Welshman who’d accidently taken out teammate Idrissa Gueye with a horrible studs-up tackle on the Senegalese midfielder. (1-0)
The home side didn’t react immediately, indeed a muted Goodison Park seemed resigned to more goals, however, slowly but surely they raised the tempo. Enner Valencia headed over a corner, then Aaron Lennon and Lukaku both shot high and wide. The attacking impetus of the home side slowly roused the home terraces. Lennon again shot wide.
Two minutes before the break, Everton got the equaliser they deserved. Leighton Baines skipped past Walcott with ease and curled in a ball from the left with his right foot that Seamus Coleman flicked past Cech with his head. (1-1)
The half-time whistle was greeted by tepid handbags from both sets of players. Ozil and Xhaka looked like they wanted to pick a fight, but not with the type of menace that made you think they meant it.
The German should have restored Arsenal’s advantage ten minutes after the break only to curl a clear-cut chance over the bar following great work by Coquelin and a cut back by Sanchez.
Within five minutes Barkley twice threatened. First his free-kick was blocked by a wall of yellow, then he fizzed a low effort on the diagonal past Cech’s post.
The game ebbed and flowed as both sides pressed for a winner. It required diligent defending from Gabriel, who stopped Lukaku, and Koscielny who blocked a series of crosses to keep the home side at bay. In response, Iwobi, on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, nudged wide.
As the game edged towards its conclusion, Everton found a winner. Cech first denied Jagielka with a decent save, however, from the resulting corner Ashley Williams crashed home a header. (2-1)
Alex Iwobi had a golden chance to net an equaliser in the dying moments of stoppage time but his effort was cleared off the line. The final insult was Clattenburg waving away Alexis’ claim for a penalty as the Toffees cleared their lines.