Video Assistant Referee took a pair of Richarlison goals off the board for razor-thin offside pauses but could do little about a third, and Demarai Gray added a spectacular goal as Everton came back to bear Arsenal 2-1 at Goodison Park on Monday.
Richarlison had a first-half header taken away upon VAR review and then a (seemingly) beautifully-timed run and clinical finish removed by video review in the second half.
Martin Odegaard was Arsenal’s best player in the win and scored its lone goal, also seeing a late effort blocked by a sliding Seamus Coleman.
The Gunners also had Eddie Nketiah head off the goal post and substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang blaze wide of the post at the final whistle, as Arsenal fails to close ground on the top four and sits four points back of fourth-place West Ham.
Richarlison headed an 80th-minute crossbar rebound past a splayed and airborne Aaron Ramsdale to give Everton level footing before Gray’s rip from distance pinged off the far post and over the line.
Everton avoids an eighth loss on this season to move eight points clear of the bottom three a day after sporting director Marcel Brands left the club.
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Everton vs Arsenal final score, stats
Everton 2-1 Arsenal
Goals scored: Odegaard 45’+2, Richarlison 79′
Shots: Everton 11, Arsenal 9
Shots on target: Everton 5, Arsenal 3
Possession: Everton 36, Arsenal 64
Three things we learned from Everton vs Arsenal
1. Arsenal off its game: Cheers to the Gunners for keeping hold of the ball for much of the second half on a day that their inventiveness was not on display, but Everton’s eventual winner was richly-deserved.
Odegaard’s goal was sensational, to be sure, coming off a delicious Kieran Tierney run and cross, but it was one of precious few moments of wonder along with Eddie Nketiah’s header off the post with six minutes to play.
2. Richarlison a menace, but Everton still desperate for DCL: Offsides thrice including two disallowed goals, the Brazilian worked a ton to get into dangerous positions and his passion was on full display during both celebrations of ill-fated goals.
But consider this: Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s been missing since the third match of the season. His three goals are tied for second on the team and his 3.16 expected goals, and 1.12 xG/90 still lead the Toffees. His return to a team full of strong crossers is so necessary, even if Rafa’s men gave them his W.
3. Rafa’s men have his back: There is no doubt that Abdoulaye Doucoure showed the world what Everton’s been missing without him (and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. But the passion was there from the home team in showing no signs that it was not behind Rafa Benitez, even after a staged but small walkout in the 27th minute. Who knows how much Benitez will be able to spend in January, but he’ll point to the spirit and scoring on Monday as a feather in his cap.
Man of the Match: Martin Odegaard. He passed at well over 90 percent and registered three key passes while completing 5-of-6 long passes. Oh, and the goal.
Brazilian star Richarlison had the ball in the goal before halftime but it did not withstand VAR review. A better goal saw the feat repeated in the second half.
A slim offside cost Everton a much-needed lead when Richarlison headed home in the first half, and Rafa Benitez’s headache got worse a few minutes later when Arsenal instead took the lead.
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And the second half VAR intervention was only by the slimmest of margins, as both players had their feet on the white paint of the 18.
But the lines drawn by VAR showed that Richarlison’s superb finish past Aaron Ramsdale would not count, with both decisions coming within a couple of centimeters of staying on the scoreboard.
Not the sort of call that had people buzzing for video review, but an unfortunate side effect. Thank goodness his third goal couldn’t be questioned.
Airborne Odegaard’s supreme technique
One thing Martin Odegaard doesn’t lack for is technique, and Everton gave him enough room to do something special deep in stoppage time.
A sweet strike from the Norwegian put Arsenal on top two minutes into first-half stoppage. He’s a gifted talent.
Kieran Tierney’s run past Seamus Coleman and subsequent cross to the heart of the 18 was near-perfect.
And he might’ve restored Arsenal’s lead come stoppage time with a sliding block of