Arsenal, Everton draw 1-1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Arsenal came from behind on Saturday but could only draw 1-1 from a set-play after dominating the game against a stubborn Everton rearguard action.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Arsenal came from behind on Saturday but could only draw 1-1 from a set-play after dominating the game against a stubborn Everton rearguard action. It is the first point the Toffeemen have taken back from Arsenal in a decade, yet Everton boss David Moyes wasn't happy with the result. "We are disappointed because we are not totally convinced it was a free-kick that led to the goal," he said. "We got a goal which was something to hang onto and made it very difficult for them. But Arsenal are fantastic the way they play. I hope someday to bring a team here and be able to play the way Arsenal play. But at the moment we are still in the progressive stage trying to reach that level." The Gunners, hardly mentioned in terms of title contenders, have crept into a challenging position almost unnoticed, and although losing ground this afternoon, have a game in hand on all of the other teams in the top half of the table. If they win that game it will take them to within four points of the leaders. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger warned that he expected Everton to be the most difficult opponents to visit the Emirates because they've scored a lot of goals, yet their tactics Saturday were purely defensive. With skipper David Weir out after suffering a concussion in a midweek victory over Luton Town, Moyes was forced to field a patched up back-four and opted for a strategy designed to contain Arsenal. It had been all Arsenal from the first whistle and Johan Djourou was denied a penalty when he was tripped in the box. But Everton, beaten only once this season in the Premiership, weathered the storm and shocked the 60,000 sell-out crowd by taking the lead. Tim Cahill opened the scoring in the 10th minute on the first corner of the game from the right-hand side. The Arsenal defence failed to attack the ball, and as goalkeeper Jens Lehmann hesitated, Cahill didn't. The Australian World Cup star missed his intended header, but the ball dropped at his feet and he turned it into the roof of the net from close range for his seventh goal of the season. Arsenal, desperately trying to equalise, put pressure on the visiting defence and predictably it was French ace Thierry Henry who came the closest with a rasping rocket shot that was impressively saved by Tim Howard, the US international goalkeeper. Frustrating afternoon It was becoming a frustrating afternoon for the home fans for although Arsenal dominated the play, Everton, dragging 10 men back behind the ball, smothered all their attacking attempts. The Gunners threw everything at Everton, but further appeals for a penalty against Phil Neville for hand-ball were dismissed by Mr. Riley and the Blues went in at the break with the lead. Arsenal put on the pressure on resumption of play and in the opening exchanges created several chances. Henry's goal-bound header was just tipped out for a corner by Howard, then Tomas Rosicky tried a lob that landed on top of the Everton goal netting. But through all of Arsenal's quick running and sharp thinking, Everton stuck doggedly to their defensive task. Mathieu Flamini, on as a substitute for right-back Justin Hoyte, went close with two efforts, one skidding just past the post, the other from the edge of the area screaming over the crossbar. A Robin Van Persie free-kick in the 61st thudded into a defender in the packed area and Rosicky, arriving at the far post, turned the lose ball wide. Van Persie made no mistake in the 63rd, however, scoring from a wonderful free-kick from well outside the penalty area. His left foot propelled the ball straight into the corner giving Howard no chance at all. Howard continued to deny the Gunners' attack and a third penalty appeal, when Gilberto went down in the box in the 93rd minute, met the same response as the previous two from referee Riley as Everton held on. Van Persie summed up the feeling in the Arsenal camp. "Everyone in the dressing room was a bit down because we deserved to win today. They had 10 men behind the ball always pressing us down but because of that fact we had to put more of ourselves in the game and I think we did that. "Even though, in my opinion, they were playing negative, not very nice for the fans, we had a great game and that's why it was very frustrating for us to get only one point." (AP)

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