December 14, 2016 11:22:36 am
Ashley Williams scored an 86th-minute winner as Everton came from behind to beat title-chasing Arsenal 2-1 at Goodison Park on Tuesday.
Arsenal’s title credentials took a hit with sloppy defending at the end of both halves, with right back Seamus Coleman heading home unmarked for the equalizer in the 44th minute and center back Williams rising highest at a corner to glance in the winner.
Alexis Sanchez scored from a deflected free kick to put Arsenal ahead in the 20th minute and move level with Chelsea striker Diego Costa as the top scorer in the league this season with 12 goals.
Arsenal would have climbed above Chelsea into first place with a win but lacked dynamism in the final third and missed the presence of injured center back Shkodran Mustafi. They slipped to a first league loss since the opening weekend of the season.
Everton ended the match with 10 men when Phil Jagielka was sent off in the third minute of injury time after picking up a second yellow card and in a frantic finish, Arsenal had two goal-bound shots cleared from near the line.
Arsenal has won more matches against Everton than any other opponent in Premier League history, and a 30th victory since the league’s inception in 1992 looked on when a litany of errors contributed to Sanchez’s opener.
Everton conceded a free kick on the edge of the area after Enner Valencia and then Williams failed to clear the ball, with Williams taking out teammate Idrissa Gueye as part of the defensive shambles.
Things didn’t get any better for Williams, who ended up deflecting Sanchez’s low free kick to wrong-foot Maarten Stekelenburg and the all looped over the line off the legs of the goalkeeper.
With striker Romelu Lukaku isolated, Ross Barkley’s passing awry and the defense jittery, Everton seemed there for the taking but Arsenal conceded a soft goal just before halftime.
Baines was given lots of time and space to size up a cross from the left wing, and his right-foot delivery found Coleman unmarked near the penalty spot to glance a header into the far corner.
Arsenal had more of the ball in the second half but the visitors’ build-up play was slow and they lacked a cutting edge, leading manager Arsene Wenger to bring on attackers Alex Iwobi and Olivier Giroud for the final 20 minutes and therefore moving Sanchez out wide.
In the end, it was a defender who decided the game as Williams made amends for his earlier mistake with the powerful header.
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