LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Arsenal's dreadful Premier League season continued with a 2-1 defeat to resurgent Everton at Goodison Park leaving the Gunners five points above the relegation zone.
Colombian Yerry Mina grabbed the winner with a header from a corner on the stroke of halftime after a Nicolas Pepe penalty had brought the Gunners level following Everton's opener from a Rob Holding own goal.
Everton move up to second place after their third straight win, following victories over Chelsea and Leicester that has seen them recapture their early season form.
The Merseysiders lost four times in October and November but are unbeaten in four games and back in the hunt at the top of the table.
"We did very well in the last few games. Brilliant performances and fantastic results. We have shown more consistency," said Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.
"This season we started well, then we had a difficult moment, but right now I’m really pleased," said the Italian, who marked his first year in charge of the side.
Everton took the lead in the 22nd minute when an Alex Iwobi cross was met with a header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin which flew in via a deflection from Arsenal defender Holding.
Mikel Arteta's side drew level, against his former club, through a Pepe penalty in the 35th minute, awarded after a Tom Davies foul on Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
But the Toffees restored their advantage on the stroke of halftime when Yerry Mina timed his run to perfection to angle in a near post header from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner.
It was a goal which again highlighted Arsenal's struggles at set-pieces and Calvert-Lewin confirmed that was an area they had looked to exploit.
"We targeted the near post, that's where their weakness is and we got a goal from it," said the Everton striker.
David Luiz had a deflected shot hit the post and Everton keeper Jordan Pickford had to make a last gasp save to keep out a close-range effort from Bukayo Saka as Everton faced a late push from the visitors.
Everton are second, on 26 points, five behind leaders Liverpool while the Gunners, who have eight losses from 14 matches, are 15th on 14 points.
Arsenal’s start is their worst since the 1974-75 season but Arteta, who has lost 13 and won 13 from his 34 games in charge, said his team were still up for the fight.
"The boys are absolutely still fighting. They’re hurt right now," he said.
"We lost the game on two key moments. We dominated the game. We created enough chances at least to not lose," he added.
"We are in a big fight. We lost against Burnley without them having a shot on target, and now we lose because of a couple of chances. We need to generate more to win football matches. When it comes to small details, the other team wants it more."
(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar)