Tuesday 20 March 2018

Everton hit back to stop Arsenal going seven up

Jamie Holland

ARSENAL'S hopes of extending their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points were ended by Gerard Deulofeu's dramatic equaliser for Everton six minutes from full-time at the Emirates yesterday.

After Mesut Özil had given Arsène Wenger's side the lead with 10 minutes remaining, the Barcelona loanee struck from a tight angle to make it 1-1 and give Everton a deserved point.

Everton signed Deulofeu (19) on a season-long loan, and have the option of extending his stay on Merseyside by another 12 months.

"Gerard has come a long way," said manager Roberto Martinez. "He is incredibly arrogant in the right way, has belief in himself and his finish against Arsenal was exactly what he deserved."

The result leaves Arsenal – who face Manchester City and Chelsea in their next two league fixtures – five points clear.

England World Cup hopeful Ross Barkley was at the heart of Everton's forward momentum, but Martinez warned against expecting too much too soon from the club's academy graduate.

"Ross has incredible potential, but we need to give him time and accept he is not ready yet.

"We have to make sure we give him at least another 50 starts to see his evolution," added Martinez, who said that he saw glimpses of Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack in the 20-year-old. "He is developing an incredible awareness."

Irish Independent

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