Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Demarai Gray scores stoppage time screamer to ease pressure on under-fire Rafael Benitez
Premier League, Goodison Park: Everton 2 (Richarlison 79’, Gray 90+2’), Arsenal 1 (Odegaard 45+2’).
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Demarai Gray (R) of Everton celebrates with Mason Holgate and teammates after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on December 06, 2021 in Liverpool
The match began in lukewarm fashion with a 27th minute walkout from the Everton fans to protest Farhad Moshiri's ownership proving equally tepid.
But a minute later there was controversy when Ben Godfrey, playing at left-back, planted his right boot into Takehiro Tomiyasu's face yet VAR ruled it was accidental.
Richarlison had the ball in the net in the 43rd minute as he headed in a fine cross from Andros Townsend at a free-kick, but it was chalked off by VAR as the Brazilian was just offside.
And although Arsenal had done little to test the Everton goal, the visitors took a surprise lead on the stroke of half-time with Odegaard sidefoot-volleying in Kieran Tierney's pinpoint cross into the bottom corner for his third Premier League goal of the season.
Richarlison was left frustrated again when he thought he had equalised just before the hour mark with a low shot beyond Aaron Ramsdale, only for VAR to rule out his fine finish as he was inches offside.
Everton continued to push for an equaliser and Richarlison finally had a goal given the green light. Gray's curled effort smashed off the crossbar and he nodded in the rebound with a perfectly weighted looping header.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Richarlison (L) of Everton celebrates with teammate Andre Gomes after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on December 06, 2021 in Liverpool, England
Image credit: Getty Images
Substitute Eddie Nketiah squandered a glorious chance to win it in the 83rd minute as his far-post header from point-blank range crashed off the post. He would be made to pay for his error as Gray found a last-gasp winner in injury-time, cutting in onto his right boot and fired into the top corner.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a gilt-edge chance to equalise in the final seconds of the match, sliding his shot wide of Jordan Pickford's right post to ensure Everton sealed a hugely important three points.
TALKING POINT - Relief for Benitez
Everton's poor recruitment has been well documented in the media and their starting line-up against Arsenal evidently lacked attacking talent, but they did not lack fighting spirit on Monday night.
Benitez's side were better on the night and their goals were thoroughly deserved. Arsenal, meanwhile, will have to reflect on missing two glorious chances in the final 15 minutes of the match.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Demarai Gray
Gray turned the match around with his shot setting up Richarlison for the opener and the second was a piece of individual brilliance.
The 25-year-old has been one of Everton's few bright performers since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen for only £1.5m in the summer and he produced one of the finest performances of his promising career against the Gunners.
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (6), Mina (6), Keane (6), Godfrey (4), Gordon (5), Allan (5), Doucoure (6), Allan (5), Gray (8), Townsend (6), Richarlison (7)
Subs: Holgate (6), Gomes (5), Iwobi (N/A)
Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), Tomiyasu (6), White (6), Gabriel (6), Tierney (6), Partey (5), Xhaka (6), Saka (6), Odegaard (7), Martinelli (5), Lacazette (5)
Subs: Tavares (5), Nketiah (4), Aubameyang (N/A)
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28' - VAR! Godfrey is surely getting sent off here! Godfrey plants his right foot into Tomiyasu's face but somehow he escapes a red card and no punishment is issued by referee Dean! There are stud marks on Tomiyasu's face. Mina is down getting medical treatment and we have another pause in play.
43' - GOAL!!! RICHARLISON PUTS EVERTON IN FRONT! It's a great header from the Brazilian as he meets Townsend's cross to the near post and nods it into the bottom corner! NO GOAL! IT'S BEEN RULED OUT! Richarlison strays offside! He was just ahead of Tomiyasu and as a result we remain goalless.
45+2' - GOAL! ODEGAARD SCORES! Against the run of play Arsenal lead! Tierney's cross into the box finds Odegaard and he sidefoot volleys the ball into the bottom corner off his left boot! It's Odegaard's third Premier League goal of the season and Arsenal are in front on the stroke of half-time!
58' - GOAL! RICHARLISON PUTS IT INTO THE NET! Doucoure slips in Richarlison and he fires his low shot into the bottom corner! It's gone to VAR again... VAR HAS RULED IT OUT! For the second time tonight Richarlison has had a goal ruled out by VAR! He was just offside yet again!
79' - GOAL! IT IS THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR RICHARLISON! Finally Richarlison gets a deserved goal! Gray's vicious curling strike clatters off the crossbar and into the path of the Brazilian who nods in a looping header over Ramsdale! It's no less than Everton deserve!
83' - OFF THE POST! Saka's cross to the far post finds Nketiah and he just has to nod it in but it comes off the post! It's a huge miss!!!
90+2' - GOAL! GRAY SCORES A SCREAMER FOR EVERTON!! Everton have turned this around and it's jubilation in the stands! It's a brilliant strike from Gray who surges in on goal and smashes a vicious right-footed strike off the post and into the net!
90+6' - HUGE MISS! Aubameyang slips his shot wide in the final seconds!