Arsenal 2 – 2 Everton

By Ian Hughes

Rosicky came off the bench to score a late equaliser
Rosicky came off the bench to score a late equaliser

Substitute Tomas Rosicky scored an injury-time equaliser to rescue a point for Arsenal against Everton.

Leon Osman put the visitors ahead when he headed in Landon Donovan’s corner.

Arsenal clawed their way back into the game with a slice of good fortune as Denilson’s shot took a deflection off Osman to leave Tim Howard stranded.

Steven Pienaar raced clear and dinked the ball over Manuel Almunia to make it 2-1 but Rosicky’s shot was deflected in to salvage a draw for Arsenal.

But the Gunners will be disappointed not have closed the gap further on their title rivals, with all but two Premier League matches falling victim to the big freeze.

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They are now three points behind leaders Chelsea, but no longer have a game in hand on their rivals.

Although Manchester United missed out on the chance to go top and extend their lead over the Gunners to four points when they could only draw at Birmingham.

Arsenal thrashed Everton 6-1 on the opening day of the season but a repeat of that scoreline was never on the cards as a committed Toffees side put pressure on the ball high up the pitch, giving Arsenal no time to settle.

And with Arsene Wenger’s side missing Alexander Song, they struggled to impose themselves in midfield allowing Everton debutant Landon Donovan, in particular, to take advantage.

The American gave Gunners left-back Armand Traore a torrid time throughout, and it was from his corner that Everton opened the scoring.

Osman thumped home his header to give his side a lead they might have had much earlier had Louis Saha not blazed over when well placed.

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But it was not an advantage they were to hold for long, despite the efforts of the tenacious Marouane Fellaini, who did his best to repel the Gunners.

After a spell of Arsenal pressure, Eduardo laid the ball back to Denilson and his effort from outside the box hit Osman and wrongfooted Howard.

Everton, though, kept their composure and for the first 10 minutes of the second half they were the better side.

Chances, however, were scarce and as snow fell heavily the game was in need of heating up.

It was Arsenal who turned up the pressure – Howard scrambled to clear Aaron Ramsey’s cross and then the keeper palmed away Bacary Sagna’s corner as Arshavin shaped to shoot.

Shortly after, Eduardo was inches away from getting a touch on Traore’s superb cross as Arsenal started to raise their game.

Denilson then fired over and Phil Neville magnificently blocked Thomas Vermaelen’s shot as Everton stood firm.

Everton finally got out of their own half when Tim Cahill broke but his ball into the box was misdirected.

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However, Arsenal were not to escape as Everton broke again and this time they were devastating – Pienaar providing a sublime finish over Almunia.

Everton might even have sealed victory as a fast break caught Arsenal out again almost straight from the kick-off but Almunia saved James Vaughan’s low shot.

The chance came after Denilson collapsed in a heap, with no-one around him, gifting Everton possession, and it is unclear what caused the Brazilian to fall.

At that point it was all going wrong for Arsenal, who will wait to see the extent of Denilson’s problem.

But, right at the last, the Gunners grabbed some consolation from the match as Rosicky’s shot came off Lucas Neill and Howard was beaten again.