EVERTON (1) vs ARSENAL (2)
MANAGER Arsene Wenger put aesthetics to one side and toasted a tooth-and-nail scrap after seeing Arsenal cap a successful week that revived their Premier League title chances.
Defender Bacary Sagna was the unlikely source of the Gunners’ opener and captain Cesc Fabregas added a second before the visitors endured an Everton onslaught that included Tim Cahill’s late goal.
Much-maligned goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a handful of crucial saves as Arsenal followed up a midweek win at Wolves and climbed to second place, two points off Chelsea.
“The most important qualities we showed were discipline, commitment, togetherness, desire and a 100 per cent focus for 90 minutes. That is what got us the points,” said Wenger.
“When you come here without those you don’t get the points. We have had two very difficult away games with Wolves and today and we have got six points that put us in a good situation.”
Everton manager David Moyes insisted his side did not merit more than a defeat that left them 13th in the table. “I can’t really feel as if we deserved an awful lot. I don’t think we played all that well,” said Moyes. “I didn’t think Arsenal were great and I don’t think we were.”
Sagna, who had scored just once for the Gunners before yesterday, broke the deadlock nine minutes before half-time when Tim Howard parried Samir Nasri’s shot and Andrey Arshavin scurried after the rebound before teeing up the Frenchman to lash in at the near post.
Fabregas doubled the advantage moments after the break when a neat move was capped by Marouane Chamakh’s dinked pass and the Spain midfielder swept low, first-time into the far corner.
Cahill halved the lead and ensured a nervy finish when he volleyed in Louis Saha’s back post knock-down from a deep corner.