Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Gunners too strong for Everton

Bacary Sagna

Goals from Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas proved decisive as Arsenal held off an Everton fightback to claim second in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park.

Sagna opened the scoring after 35 minutes with a ferocious strike from a tight angle and Fabregas doubled the lead early in the second half.

Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh spurned glorious chances to add to the lead but Everton produced a thrilling finish and deservedly pulled one back through Tim Cahill late on.

Everton had the first chance when Cahill released Seamus Coleman down the right. The exciting Irishman beat Fabregas as he raced into the box but Cahill headed over. After a subdued period, the game came to life as Sagna opened the scoring with a ferocious strike in the 35th minute.

Nasri first tested Tim Howard as he cut in from the right and unleashed a powerful left-foot shot from outside the area. The American saved well to his left but Andrey Arshavin retrieved the ball and teed up for Sagna to rifle into the top corner from a tight angle.

On the stroke of half-time Louis Saha then headed against the post from a corner but referee Howard Webb pulled up play to give a goal-kick having apparently felt the initial cross swung out of play.

Just after the break substitute Denilson won the ball after Arteta was fed a poor pass in the centre circle and broke forward. Fabregas then worked the ball on to Chamakh in the box and the Spaniard took a quick return pass to swivel and shoot beyond Howard.

Arsenal should have had a third after Nasri broke the length of the field but Howard stood up until the last moment to block the Frenchman's shot. Chamakh then put another glorious chance over from a Fabregas cross but Saha was unlucky at the other end when Alex Song got in the way of a fierce shot.

Everton finally got on the scoresheet with two minutes remaining when Saha jumped high to reach a cross at the back post and Cahill fired past Lukasz Fabianski - but four minutes of injury time did not produce an equaliser.

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