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Arsenal 2-2 Everton

Tomas Rosicky’s stoppage time equaliser was enough to salvage a point for the Gunners as they were well outplayed by a classy Everton side.

The visitors had taken the initiative through Leon Osman’s headed effort,  only to be pegged back by Denilson’s strike which took a wicked deflection off of the Everton goalscorer leaving Tim Howard stranded.

Steven Pienaar lofted in a stunning second to put the Toffees 2-1 up, but substitute Rosicky buried a deflected injury time equaliser, averting defeat by the narrowest of margins.

For Arsene Wenger, however, it will be two points dropped rather than a point gained after his side missed the opportunity to further close the gap on leaders Chelsea, who’s trip to Hull City couldn’t evade the Arctic conditions.

The only other Premiership fixture of the day could see Manchester United move top of the table if they can hold their nerve against in-form Birmingham City.

Everton began the contest looking a shadow of the side mauled 6-1 by Arsenal on the opening day of the season, showing a considerable desire to commit men forward and press high up the pitch.

 Unsettled by the visitors attacking impetous, the home side failed to claim an early foothold in the game, with the absence of Alex Song leaving a gaping hole in the centre of midfield which the young Brazilian Denilson plugged with relative mediocrity.

The impact of debutant Landon Donovan was instantaneous.

The American striker, on loan from the LA Galaxy, gave the Gunners’ third choice left back Armand Traore a torrid afternoon in the swirling snow until his removal in the 68th minute.

And it was Donovan that orchestrated the opener.

The American swung in a corner from the right which Leon Osman rose highest to meet giving the Toffees the early lead after his side had squandered earlier chances.

How Arsenal could have done with the imposing Marouane Fellaini marshalling their midfield; the towering Belgian commanded the middle third of the pitch throughout, and was a constant burden in the home sides search for all three points.

The Gunners slowly crawled back into contention and eventually claimed an equaliser that Fellaini could do nothing to prevent.

Croatian striker Eduardo teed up Denilson on the edge of the Everton penalty area, who’s strike was wildly diverted by an unassuming Leon Osman leaving Tim Howard confounded in the Everton goal.

Everton, though, continued to be the hotter outfit in sub zero temperatures as the snow – providing almost a third party competitor – swirled around the Emirates Stadium.

And as the snow continued to fall, chances became few and far between – both managers knew that the next strike would be vital in the outcome of the fixture.

Although the Gunners were slipping into gear, they lacked any real conviction in their finishing with the absence of Robin van Persie looking far more prominent now than in recent weeks.

Aaron Ramsey’s cross-come-shot was beaten clear by Howard, before the American punched clear from a Bacary Sagna corner. Eduardo then misjudged Traore’s cross by the tightest of margins as the contest threatened to become all Arsenal.

But it was David Moyes irrepressible side who were to regain the advantage,  when Tim Cahill moved into Arsenal territory before threading in Steven Pienaar who beat Manuel Almunia with a clinical finish to an emphatic breakaway.

The Toffees euphoria could have been doubled just seconds later – Manuel Almunia prevented James Vaughan from piling on the misery after Denilson had collapsed during the move.

The Brazilian was replaced by wantaway Spaniard Fran Merida.

But as the sands of time ebbed away, Rosicky found the back of the net with another deflected goal for the Gunners – Lucas Neill the unfortunate culprit this time.

ARSENAL 2 (Denilson 28, Rosicky 90)

Team: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Diaby, Denilson (Merida 84), Ramsey (Rosicky 65), Nasri, Eduardo (Vela 75), Arshavin

Unused Subs: Fabianski, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas, Silvestre

Booked: Sagna

EVERTON 2 (Osman 12, Pienaar 81)

Team: Howard, Baines, Heitinga, Neill, Neville, Donovan (Bilyaletdinov 68), Cahill, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini, Saha (Vaughan)

Unused Subs: Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Mustafi, Baxter

Booked: Pienaar

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