Premier League – Bendtner wins it for Gunners
Nicklas Bendter’s second-half winner saw Arsenal past Everton at the Emirates, and kept alive their hopes of finishing second in the Premier League
Arsene Wenger’s side are now just a point behind Chelsea, and could overtake them with a win at Sunderland on the last day of the season in the unlikely event Chelsea fail to accrue more than a point from their remaining two games.
For David Moyes’s Everton, the chance to secure fifth spot and book their spot in next season’s Uefa cup went begging. With Aston Villa lurking just three points behind, on identical goal difference, Everton need at a point at home to Newcastle United next week to complete the job.
The home side had the first genuine opening on 18 minutes, when Gilberto Silva found Bendtner inside the box with a delightful chipped pass. The Danish striker stretched to head home, but couldn’t get the direction he needed and the ball looped wide.
If the first period began slowly, then the second was positively pedestrian. Everton took hold, however, and began to dominate possession.
The visitors struggled to create chances, however, and with Johnson ploughing a lone furrow up top had little in the way of concerted pressure. Too often the England striker was left isolated and to chase hopeless causes.
The defining moment of the match came with 15 minutes remaining, and owed everything to the exuberance of Walcott.
Bendtner collected the ball and slid the winger away down the left, continuing his run towards the box. Walcott drove forward and sent over a whipped left-foot cross for the striker to head home with authority.
Everton introduced Yakuba and Victor Anichebe in an attempt to respond, but it was too little too late. Moyes had come for a point, and while his team defended resolutely throughout they were ill-prepared to recover from a goal down.
Wenger, meanwhile, took the opportunity to give Jens Lehmann a brief swansong before the Arsenal faithful, who were treated to the traditional lap of honour at the end of their team’s last home game of the season.
Will Tidey / Eurosport