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Arsenal 0-1 Everton - Instant Reaction | Toffees seal first win away at Arsenal for 25 years

Is Europe back on?

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League”n Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

European Super what?

Everton secured their first win away at Arsenal FC for 25 years as Bernd Leno’s own goal secured a valuable three points that reignited their European charge.

It is the Toffees’ first ever win at the Emirates Stadium, though there was a huge slice of luck with the goal as Richarlison’s cross-shot squirmed through the goalkeeper’s legs and into the net with 14 minutes left.

The game was played with a backdrop of furious protests from Gunners supporters, who had gathered outside Emirates Stadium to voice their discontent with the European Super League plans and owner Stan Kroenke.

This result is unlikely to improve their mood, but also highlights the sheer audacity of the plan to join Europe’s so-called ‘elite’ in the ESL.

Everton stay eighth despite the win, but they are now just three points off the top four and one point behind Tottenham and Liverpool immediately above them.

A season that looked to be petering away has suddenly been revived. Everton, that.

Carlo Ancelotti made three changes from the side that drew with Tottenham last week, with Seamus Coleman, Andre Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin coming in.

Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi dropped to the bench while Michael Keane missed out with a minor hamstring injury.

Yerry Mina, Bernard and Fabian Delph bolstered what had been a pretty threadbare bench in recent weeks.

Chants, fireworks and a looming police helicopter could be heard as the game kicked off, a jarring contrast to the eerie silence inside the cavernous stadium.

The Toffees had the first opportunity when Lucas Digne sent in a dangerous cross towards Calvert-Lewin who, under pressure from Pablo Mari, sent a diving near-post header wide.

Digne was Everton’s most dangerous attacking threat early on and another cross deflected towards goal but was smartly held by Leno.

Arsenal had their first opportunity when Bukayo Saka found space in the area but his low snap shot was straight at Jordan Pickford.

Another opportunity fell Everton’s way when Allan’s slide-rule pass found Richarlison, who turned smartly before firing off a snap-shot that was parried away by Leno, with Calvert-Lewin just unable to latch on to the rebound.

They went even closer moments later when Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 25-yard free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar with Leno at full stretch.

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

A neat move at start of the second half saw Coleman send in a low cross for Sigurdsson whose effort was well blocked by Calum Chambers.

Arsenal then won a penalty when Dani Ceballos went down under the most gentle of flicks from Richarlison. It was hugely soft, a dive in fact. But Everton were saved by another one of those minuscule VAR decisions.

The frustrations of modern football in the space of 30 seconds.

That near miss seemed to galvanise Arsenal more than Everton, who began to enjoy the better of the game.

Ceballos pinged a sweetly struck shot from outside the area that was pushed away by Pickford.

Delph, who hasn’t featured since December because of a hamstring problem, came on for the ineffective Gomes with 25 minutes left.

He was promptly booked within seconds, as well as wearing the wrong socks - shades of Djibril Sidibe’s no-sock mis-hap from last season.

Then, one of the most ridiculous goals Everton have scored all season.

They had barely been in the Arsenal half in the second period when Richarlison ran on to Allan’s long ball, beat Granit Xhaka and fired in a low cross straight to Leno who somehow let the ball squirm through his legs and into the net.

A huge slice of fortune and a goal the Toffees barely deserved. But, who cares?

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images
Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Ancelotti brought on Tom Davies for James with five minutes left to try and close out the win, no doubt wary of what happened against Crystal Palace earlier this month.

There was little surprise when four minutes were held up on the board, meaning more shredded nerves for Toffees fans.

You always felt Arsenal would have one more chance and they did when Gabriel Martinelli escaped into space in the area, but his effort was superbly stopped by Pickford.

Everton have certainly played better and not won this season, though they were marginally the better team here.

But this could reignite a campaign that was starting to drift and set the platform for a rousing finish.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.