Goals from Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas were enough as Arsenal managed a 2-1 victory against Everton despite a late rally by the 'Toffees', in the English Premier League. The win, coupled with Chelsea's shock defeat to Sunderland, leaves Arsenal two points away from the leaders in second place.
Arsenal opened the scoring at 35th minute when Sagna struck powerfully from a tight angle. When Fabregas doubled the lead at the Goodison Park early in the second half, the game looked finished as Everton barely managed a response. However, the Merseyside club produced a thrilling finish when they piled pressure late on and Cahill got one back from a corner.
Everton started the game impressively, pressurizing Arsenal high up their half early in the game. Their first chance came when Louis Saha headed wide off a Mikel Arteta corner. At the other end, Nasri, who looked impressive for Arsenal all afternoon, broke clear and rushed into the box but Sylvain Distin stuck out a leg to block his shot.
Everton countered immediately as Cahill released Coleman down the right. The young Irishman, one of Everton's better players in the whole game, beat Fabregas as he raced into the box but Cahill headed over.
The game suddenly burst into life in the 35th minute when an Arsenal counter landed at the feet of Bacary Sagna who lashed in at the near-post to open the scoring. The move started when Nasri tested Tim Howard with a powerful shot from outside the area. The keeper saved well to his left but Andrei Arshavin teed up the rebound for Sagna to rifle into the top corner from a tight angle.
At the depth of injury time in the first half, Saha almost equalized when he met a corner at the far post only to see his header skim off the post.
Both teams made substitutions at half time with Everton bringing on youngster Jack Rodwell, who was making his return from injury after 11 weeks on the sidelines, for John Heitinga. Arsenal brought on Denilson for Wilshere.
It proved to be an effective substitution for Arsenal as Denilson won the ball shortly after the restart, broke forward from the center circle. Fabregas then released Chamakh into the box and rushed forward for the return before half-volleying across into the right bottom corner of Howard's goal.
Everton attempted to hit back through Saha, who was brought down by last man Sebastien Squillaci.While the Evertonians, both crowd and players, appealed; the French defender was lucky to escape with just a yellow. Fabregas was then booked for a challenge on Distin which had both players on the ground.
Nasri and Chamakh were guilty of missing chances for Arsenal. Nasri broke free only to see his shot saved while one-on-one with Howard while Chamakh should have scored when he shot over from just yards out from a Fabregas cross.
Everton were lacking in attack and David Moyes rung his changes. He put three upfront replacing Arteta and captain Neville for Yakubu and Beckford.
Beckford was an immediate threat with his volley on the turn tipped away by Howard for a corner.
With just two minutes remaining, Everton's pressure paid off. Saha jumped highest at the far post to meet a corner, and his knock-down fell to Cahill who side-footed first time to make it 2-1.
With the referee signaling four minutes of added time, there was enough time for an equalizer. It was a frantic last few minutes with Everton giving everything they could muster. However, Arsenal held on for an important victory.