Everton continued their recent resurgence with a 2-1 win over a struggling Arsenal with all three goals coming in the first half.
The Blues started the season in excellent form before going on a run of only one win in seven games to see them slide away from the top of the table. However, they have bounced back to winning ways in impressive style in recent weeks, beating Chelsea and Leicester in their last two outings.
Everton got themselves in front in this one after 22 minutes, former Arsenal player Alex Iwobi receiving the ball on the right before putting a cross in towards the dangerous Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and as the England international attacked the ball, his effort was deflected past his own goalkeeper by stand-in captain, Rob Holding.
The Gunners would be handed an opportunity to level the scores after Tom Davies’ attempted clearance saw him bring down Eddie Nketiah in the box, with Nicolas Pepe stepping up and sending Jordan Pickford the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.
However, the hosts would retake the lead on the stroke of half, Yerry Mina once again utilising his aerial presence to power home a header from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner.
Arsenal improved after the break, but in all honesty, rarely looked like threatening Pickford’s goal, the north London side failing to get a shot on target after the break, with Everton happy to sit back and surrender possession.
3 – Everton have won each of their last three Premier League games, guaranteeing them a spot in the top four at Christmas for the first time since 2004-05 (3rd). Building. pic.twitter.com/Qjn2FE8SL8
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 19, 2020
The result moved the Toffees up to second in the table, and speaking afterwards, Carlo Ancelotti said he was pleased with his side’s recent ‘consistency’, but urged them to ‘keep fighting’ with the season not even at the halfway stage.
“We did very well (in our) last few games. Brilliant performances, fantastic results. We showed more consistency,” he told Match of the Day.
“This season we started well, then we had a difficult moment, but right now I’m really pleased.
“We have fantastic players on set-pieces we score lots of goals. We work on this because we are very dangerous.
“We are pleased; the position in the table is really good. But as I said last week it is not the end of the season, we have to keep fighting.
“But it was a top, top performance today.”
Next up, Everton host Manchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in midweek before travelling to face the league’s bottom side Sheffield United on Boxing Day.