Another own goal costs Arsenal in Everton defeat after protests at European Super League farce

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Simon Collings
·3-min read
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Events of the past week will live long in the memory for Arsenal fans, but this match against Everton won’t.

It was a drab affair, devoid of the atmosphere and passion that was on display outside the Emirates Stadium.

Out there, fans had gathered in their thousands to protest against Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, demanding he leave the club.

Inside, though, it was a different story and this game meandered for well over an hour. In all honesty, it was what you’d expect from two teams scrapping in mid table.

The deadlock was finally broken in bizarre fashion in the 76th minute, with Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno somehow turning the ball into his own net.

Richarlison skipped past Granit Xhaka on the right and he fired a cross into the box. It looked easy for Leno to gather, but somehow it squirmed through his hands and into the goal.

In a week where the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ have scored plenty of own goals over the failed Super League, this was probably the pick of the bunch.

The win gave Everton all three points and their first league double over Arsenal since the 1985/86 season. It was also the Toffees’ first ever Premier League win at the Emirates.

For Arsenal, it was a frustrating night and, in a week when they were supposed to be joining an elite Super League, a reminder of how far they have to go.

They are, quite literally, a mid-table side right now, who are capable of fine performances on their day - but equally capable of slipping below the required level.

That was the case tonight and, while Arsenal fans will always remember this crazy week where they almost joined a breakaway competition, they will forget this Everton game in a hurry.

Those fans stuck protesting outside will be happy they couldn’t get in.

Nketiah fails to take chance

Eddie Nketiah hasn’t had many chance to shine this season, but he was handed a rare opportunity against Everton tonight.

In the absence of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the youngster was trusted to lead the line.

As always, he worked his socks off and pressed exceptionally well upfront. That, though, was all Nketiah had to shout about.

He was starved of any real service and left to feed off scraps in what was a frustrating night for the 21-year-old.

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Both Aubameyang and Lacazette are pushing hard to be fit for Villarreal on Thursday in the Europa League and, on this evidence, Arsenal need them back.

Nketiah, meanwhile, might well be wondering when his next chance to shine will come along.

Mari only standout in drab showing

There really wasn’t much for Arsenal fans to shout about after this defeat, but Pablo Mari was a rare bright spark.

The Spaniard came in for Gabriel, who was dropped after giving away a penalty against Fulham, and he did well.

Mari is a calming influence at the back and he certainly seems to have a much better relationship with Rob Holding than Gabriel does.

For whatever reason, the pair just seem to click better and - with Villarreal on the horizon - they have to start.

That semi-final now really is make or break for Arsenal and Arteta as they try to save this season.

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