Deulofeu's late goal stunned the Gunners as their mental toughness in the tough moment coming up will be key.

Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Late breakthroughs cancel as Deulofeu denies Arsenal all 3 points (Video)

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Arsenal thought they’d gone seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table as Mesut Ozil finally broke down the Everton defense with 10 minutes to go.

Unfortunately, Gerard Deulofeu had other ideas, and his immediate answer helped Everton secure a great road point with a 1-1 draw at the Emirates.

The Gunners started well and developed a few half chances but Everton quickly began to stick their foot into the possession statistics.

Everton held 63% of the possession through the first half, but Arsenal were dangerous on the counter.

The Gunners defense was also very organized, cutting out passes and limiting the Everton build-up.  They didn’t press hard, allowing the Toffees midfielders to pass between themselves but getting forward and into the box was difficult.

Ross Barkley, probably Everton’s best player in the first half, created a chance for Kevin Mirallas in the 22nd minute running through the midfield but Mirallas fired over and wide.

The Gunners broke again, and Kieran Gibbs nearly had a chance off a cross from Cazolra in the 27th.

Arsenal pressed hard just before the halftime break, with Olivier Giroud fed through on goal but Howard came out well to give the Frenchman no room to shoot.  It was the best chance by far for Arsenal in the first half.

The second half brought better possession from the home side, and they created more thanks to it.

In the 50th minute Ozil found Santi Cazorla on the other side of the box, and he one-two’d with Jack Wilshere but Cazorla couldn’t finish with the header, instead hitting at Howard.

On the other end just minutes later Barkley again found space at the top of the Arsenal box and forced a diving save from Wojciech Szczesny with a powerful drive.

source: AP
Mesut Ozil thought he’d poached the winner for Arsenal but the Gunners were denied just four minutes later.

Aaron Ramsey then took a cross from Gibbs and volleyed it on goal from a tight angle but again Howard denied the Gunners with an acrobatic stop.

It was an open spell to open the second half, but things closed off again, with Everton’s midfield again moving back to possession play.  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger then made a very risky move, with a triple substitution.  He brought off Whilshere, Cazorla, and Mikel Arteta and swapped them like-for-like with Tomas Rocisky, Mathieu Flamini, and Theo Walcott.

The build-ups went back and forth, and Everton had a chance as Leon Osman threaded Mirallas through but the shot took a deflection wide. The ensuing corner fell to Sylvain Distin for a header.

With both teams picking and prodding away at the opposition defense, Arsenal finally got the breakthrough for the home fans.

Rocisky worked the ball down the left flank and lofted a ball to the far post for Walcott. The England international mishit it, and Olivier Giroud was there. The Frenchman tried a volley at point blank range and also mishit, but Ozil was there to clean up the mess and his tap-in gave Arsenal the lead on 80 minutes.

But it wouldn’t last long. Bryan Oviedo, filling in brilliantly for the injured Leighton Baines at left-back, sent a cross into the box which Romelu Lukaku whiffed at with a bicycle kick attempt. The ball fell to substitute Gerard Deulofeu, and the young Spaniard somehow with no space ripped off a vicious strike that buried into the far top corner.

Deulofeu’s equalizer came just five minutes after coming on for the bright Mirallas.

Both sides pushed for all three points, but it was not to be. Olivier Giroud nearly won it in added time with a filthy volley – a thunderous shot – it hit the crossbar and like Arsenal’s winning hopes, it pinged away harmlessly.

The point does keep Arsenal five clear of Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the table, while remain in fifth, pipping Tottenham by a point.

GOALS:

Arsenal – Ozil 80′
Everton – Deulofeu 83′

LINEUPS:

Arsenal – Szczesny; Jenkinson, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere (Flamini, 68′), Ramsey (Rocisky, 68′); Ozil, Cazorla (Walcott, 68′), Giroud.

Everton – Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Oviedo; McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar (Osman, 71′); Barkly (Naismith, 90′), Mirallas (Deulofeu, 79′), Lukaku.

Klopp hopes for speedy solution in club, fans’ ticket-price dispute

Liverpool's fans wave flags during the English League Cup semifinal second leg soccer match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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From his time at Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp is used to a much more positive, family-like, everyone-pulling-in-the-same-direction atmosphere at his club of employment, so the present goings-on at Liverpool understandably have the Reds’ first-year manager feeling more than a little uneasy.

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Saturday’s late 2-2 draw with Sunderland wasn’t the first time Liverpool fans have headed for the exit before the final whistle, leaving Klopp feeling all alone, but it was the first time the fans have departed from Anfield early in a pre-planned, organized manner (Klopp missed the game himself with appendicitis). The Anfield faithful didn’t walk out on 77 minutes due to their team’s poor performance — Liverpool were 2-0 ahead at the time — but in protest of steadily rising ticket prices, which were unveiled at $111 per game to sit in the 132-year-old stadium’s new main stand next season.

Klopp, coming from the Bundesliga, where a season ticket at clubs the size of Bayern Munich and Dortmund doesn’t cost much more than a single-game ticket at many Premier League grounds, understands the fans’ frustration. At the end of the day, though, he works for the club, which is why he just wants the whole thing settled quickly, for the sake of his squad — quotes from the BBC:

“It’s not what we want. What I know is everyone in the club has a big interest in finding a solution for this. We don’t want people to leave the stadium before the game is finished.”

An LFC TV appearance by Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre, in which he was expected to answer fan-submitted questions, was consequently canceled on Monday due to the ongoing dispute.

West Ham want Payet to sign new contract for fear of losing him this summer

Dimitri Payet, West Ham United FC (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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Dimitri Payet is going to be a red-hot commodity during this summer’s transfer window, there’s no doubt about it.

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Given he’s currently contracted to one of the Premier League’s “smaller” clubs — in comparison to some of the giants which are bound to be interested — West Ham United, there’s a decent-to-good chance he could be wearing a different club’s shirt come August. Especially if the 28-year-old attacker shows up and shows out at this summer’s European Championship in his native France.

If I can foresee the interest in Payet, then so too can the executives at West Ham, which is why manager Slaven Bilic took to the press on Monday to convey his desire for Payet to consider signing a new, increased contract at his earliest convenience — quotes from the Guardian:

“We are moving, the club is moving, with the new stadium, with the revenue and everything. We have to move and the most important move is to keep your best players and to add some new players who are needed and Dimitri Payet is our best player — I have no problem whatsoever to say that. Of course, I would love to have him happy, long term, at the club.”

Of course West Ham want Payet to sign a new deal immediately — doing so would accomplish two things in the club’s eyes: 1) increase the likelihood he remains at the club next season, or 2) insure the club receives a higher transfer fee for the player if he leaves in the summer anyway. The more total money remaining on his West Ham contract, the more they can demand of a prospective buyer.

[ MORE: Ronaldo commits himself to Real Madrid through 2018 ]

From Payet’s side — unless he has absolutely zero desire to move to a club like Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester United, where he’d likely be paid close to $200,000 per week — he’d be crazy to sign a new contract at this point. Not only would it make a move this summer more difficult, but a strong showing at EURO 2016 could be worth another $15,000 or $20,000 per week on a new contract with West Ham (his current contract is rumored to be close to $100,000 per week).

With as many as five seasons still remaining on his current contract (a one-year club option can be exercised at any point), and his stock perhaps at an all-time high, the next six months could hold Payet’s last chance to get really, really paid before he hits the downside of his career.

USWNT players’ union responds in USSF lawsuit

FILE - In this Sunday, July 5, 2015 file photo, the United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The U.S. Soccer Federation’s original lawsuit against the union for its champion women’s national team has been sealed after the governing body realized it had disclosed the home addresses and email accounts of many players, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
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(AP) — The union that represents the Women’s World Cup-winning American national team opposed an expedited schedule in the lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. Soccer Federation last week, insisting no collective bargaining agreement exists.

The federation sued in an attempt to establish it has a contract with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association that runs through this year’s Olympics until Dec. 31. The union maintains the memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time.

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The USSF filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago asking for an expedited schedule, and the submitted opposition papers Monday that claim “facts asserted in the motion are nowhere near accurate and are hotly disputed.”

The union also maintains the USSF knew about the disagreement since July but did nothing about it.

An initial status conference is set for April 4.

Lionel Messi to undergo tests for lingering kidney problems

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi holds the ball during a quarterfinal, second leg, Copa del Rey soccer match against Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says Lionel Messi is to undergo medical tests to assess a recurrence of kidney problems.

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga roundup | Barca win on Sunday

Messi missed the Club World Cup semifinal in December due to a renal colic, an abdominal ailment often related to the presence of kidney stones within renal ducts.

Barcelona says in a statement Monday that the tests to be conducted by Tuesday at the latest, are “to assess the evolution of the kidney problem he suffered last December.”

[ MORE: Champions League returns next week — KO round matchups ]

The statement says Messi will resume training with the squad on Wednesday, when Barcelona travels to Valencia for the return leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals in which it carries a 7-0 lead.