• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:34am
SportSoccer
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Everton within touching distance of Champions League place

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 12:13am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 12:13am

Everton bolstered their hopes of Champions League football next season by moving to within a point of fourth-placed Arsenal after they beat the Gunners 3-0 in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and an own goal by Everton old boy Mikel Arteta saw the Toffees, who have a game in hand over Arsenal, record a convincing victory.

"It was a very good performance," Everton manager Roberto Martinez told Sky Sports.

"The most pleasing aspect had to be the manner in which we defended, our concentration and discipline off the ball."

Was there a lack of fight? You could say that. It is a massive worry to lose a game like that
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was left dejected. "Was there a lack of fight? You could say that," said Wenger. "It is a massive worry to lose a game like that.

"We have to analyse it well and come back with a different attitude, with more personality and stronger challenges. We have to go back to basics."

Naismith gave the home side a 14th-minute lead when, after Lukaku's shot was kicked clear by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, he side-footed the loose ball into the net.

And 20 minutes later, Martinez's side, knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal, doubled their lead.

Lukaku, playing on the wing, collected the ball wide on the right, drove past Nacho Monreal and around Thomas Vermaelen before unleashing a powerful left-footed shot past Szczesny from the edge of the box.

Arsenal, who've always qualified for the European club football's elite Champions League but are now in danger of missing out on a top-four finish that would see them into next term's edition, tried to respond in the second half.

But Wenger's visitors, whose season could hang on the outcome of next weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Wigan, fell further behind in the 62nd minute.

Kevin Mirallas dispossessed Bacary Sagna and sprinted off towards goal before playing in Naismith, who was blocked from rounding Szczesny.

But as the ball came loose Mirallas and Arteta tussled for the ball only for Arteta to get the final touch to divert it into the Gunners' net, with this defeat all but ending Arsenal's slim hopes of winning the league this season.

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