Post-Match Report

Report: Arsenal 2-1 Everton

Kai Havertz scores against Everton

Everton -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
                  Tomiyasu (42)
                   Havertz (88)
Tomiyasu (42)
Havertz (88)
2 1
              I. Gueye (39)
I. Gueye (39)

We fell just short in our hopes of winning the Premier League title but Kai Havertz’s late goal ensured we ended a season to remember on a high by beating Everton.

Despite having nothing to play for, the Toffees proved to be tricky opponents and took the lead through Idrissa Gueye’s deflected free-kick, but we instantly replied when Takehiro Tomiyasu found the bottom corner.

We kept pressing for the goal that would give us any hope of the title and it came with a minute left through the German striker, but Manchester City’s 3-1 win against West Ham meant that our result was immaterial as they collected a fourth-straight league title.

They finished just two points ahead of ourselves despite us hitting record hauls for wins and goals in the competition, and amassing 89 points - just one short of the Invincibles’ record 20 years ago.

Setbacks up north, and north London

There was a big-game feel as the players entered their sun-bathed stage amidst a vocal crowd and pyrotechnics, and that contributed to a bright start from the hosts.

Within seconds Havertz had fired just over before Tomiyasu also went close as we tried to seize the initiative in the battle for top spot, but news quickly filtered through that City had opened the scoring after just 78 seconds at the Etihad Stadium, puncturing the atmosphere in north London somewhat.

Despite that, somehow a dominant opening 15 minutes didn’t see us break the deadlock, with Jordan Pickford fortunate to prevent a ricochet off Seamus Coleman from finding the net, before getting down low to deny Gabriel Martinelli after the Brazilian sliced his way through the defence.

However another score update from Manchester saw our rivals take a 2-0 lead, and that seemed to filter its way through to our players as Everton began to find some joy of their own. On the half-hour, they were given too much time to carry the ball upfield and Dominic Calvert-Lewin fired a shot against the post, before tucking the rebound into the side-netting.

And then on 40 minutes, the home crowd were stunned when the Toffees took the lead. Thomas Partey was booked for a foul on Calvert-Lewin, and Gueye saw a free-kick clatter off Declan Rice and leave David Raya stranded as the ball fell into the back of his net.

Glimmers of hope

That meant a four-goal swing would be required to turn the championship odds in our favour, but within a matter of moments that was trimmed to two to reignite hope.

Three minutes after his unfortunate contribution at the other end, Rice slipped a pass into Martin Odegaard who got to the byline and cut the ball back invitingly for Tomiyasu to run onto, and he produced a fine composed finish to draw us level.

The decibel level increased again when the Gooners found out that West Ham had pulled one back against Manchester City, and give us a slither of optimism going into half-time.

The start of the second half saw chances dry up for both teams and we desperately searched for a goal that would get nerves jangling in Manchester, but it didn’t arrive soon enough and instead the holders tightened their grip on keeping their crown with a third goal against the Hammers.

Havertz ends on a high

From then on, both teams were just playing for pride and started to throw a bit more caution to the wind with. Raya made a flying save to prevent Calvert-Lewin curling into the top corner, and then Havertz hit the post with an excellent header before a wonderful moment when Jurrien Timber was brought on, marking his first appearance since the opening league game of the campaign back in August.

Odegaard then seemed destined to finally put us in the lead when he was found in space in the box but took too long before Pickford blocked, and Emile Smith Rowe then saw a shot into the turf bounce up and strike the Toffees’ crossbar as the visitors’ goal began to live a charmed life.

But with a minute to spare of the 90, we finally found a way to have something to celebrate come full-time. Gabriel Jesus broke forward and found Odegaard who saw a mis-hit shot squirt into the path of Havertz to tuck home, and after a VAR check for handball, the goal stood.

The final stages were played out with the home supporters serenading their players and manager for their efforts throughout the campaign, setting records galore and providing memories that would last a lifetime.

Facts and stats

Our 89 points this season is our second most in a single Premier League campaign, after the 90 earned by the title-winning side of 2003/04.

Everton lost their final Premier League game of the season for the 15th time – no side has done so more in the competition’s history.

William Saliba became the first outfield player to play every minute for us in a single Premier League campaign.

Kai Havertz has become the fifth player to register 20 Premier League goal involvements (13 goals, 7 assists) in his debut season with us after Thierry Henry in 1999/00 (25), Santi Cazorla in 2012/13 (23), Lukas Podolski in 2012/13 (20) and Alexis Sanchez in 2014/15 (24).

 Idrissa Gueye’s opener was the first direct free-kick goal we have conceded at home in the Premier League since Philippe Coutinho’s strike for Liverpool in our opening game of the 2016/17 campaign.

Jurrien Timber made his second Premier League appearance, with the other coming in the opening game against Nottingham Forest. He’s the fifth player in Premier League history to make just two appearances in a season with those coming in the first and last games, after Gary Gardner (2012/13), Elliot Bennett (2013/14), Marek Rodák (2020/21) and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi (2021/22).

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