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.

VIDEO: Portugal lead Iran at HT; Spain 1-1 Morocco

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We’re through the first 45 minutes of Monday’s Group B finales at the 2018 World Cup, and things are happening. A quick rundown…

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos combined to commit a disastrous gaffe at midfield, resulting in a goal for Khalid Boutaib in the 14th minute. At this point, Spain would have finished second, behind Portugal, and headed to the far more difficult side of the knockout bracket.

Five minutes later, it was Iniesta who, with a little help from some slightly lesser geniuses, unlocked the Moroccan defense to set up Isco for an emphatic finish. La Furia Roja moved back to the top of the group, on goals scored.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

In the afternoon’s other game, Portugal and Iran appeared destined for a 0-0 scoreline at halftime, until Ricardo Quaresma unleashed a stunning, outside-of-the-foot curler from outside the box to beat the goalkeeper and put Portugal ahead — both on the day, and in the table. As things currently stand, Portugal would win the group and Spain would finish second.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 4

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In the fourth episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England players have been preparing for their next match in an unusual way, Argentina has a huge meltdown, and more.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Click play on the video above to watch the fourth episode in full.

Atlanta leads way with six All-Star Fan XI selections

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It may be hard to believe with all the World Cup festivities going on, but the Major League Soccer season is nearly halfway over.

[ MORE: Toronto FC’s 2018 has been far from their cup-winning 2017 ]

And that means it’s almost All-Star time.

The MLS All-Stars will continue their recent tradition of facing a European superpower in August, with Juventus being welcomed to the United States in early August.

But, which players from MLS will we see in action?

Last season’s expansion sweetheart Atlanta United leads the way in the fan voting with six players from the Eastern Conference side voted into the Fan XI, including attackers Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe and Josef Martinez.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender/captain Michael Parkhurst also made the team from Atlanta.

In all, only five clubs were represented based on the Fan XI, with the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman, Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri each rounding out the squad.


Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)

Defenders: Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Forwards: Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge)

Saudi Arabia steals late win over Egypt in Group A finale

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Saudi Arabia pulled off a late 2-1 win against Egypt on Monday in their Group A finale, as the two nations ended their 2018 World Cup run in the group stage.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Salem Al Sawsari scored in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time to give the Saudis a late winner in the match, as the attacker struck the post in the dying moments before the ball crossed the line.

The Pharaohs took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a tremendous run from Mohamed Salah and lob over the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper.

Salah has two goals at the World Cup for Egypt, who were already eliminated heading into Monday’s match.

Saudi Arabia was granted a chance to equalize prior to halftime, however, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary brilliantly stopped Hattan Bahebri’s penalty kick in the 41st minute to preserve the Egypt advantage.

El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history to appear in a match at the age of 45.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The Egypt keeper wasn’t as lucky the second time around though, with Salmon Al Faraj converting a penalty kick in the 51st minute.

Saudi Arabia finishes group play in third place on three points, while Egypt goes winless in its three matches.