Everton 2 Arsenal 1: Rob Holding own-goal sees Mikel Arteta's side slump to EIGHTH defeat of the season

ARSENAL supporters here’s what you could have won.

One year ago today Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti sat in the Goodison directors’ box and watched these teams grind out a turgid goalless draw.

Arsenal had briefly considered hiring Ancelotti as a replacement for Unai Emery before appointing Arteta.

Meanwhile Everton were interested in trying to lure their former midfielder back to Merseyside until serial winner Carlo came onto their radar.

Twelve months on and the Blues are up to second place in the Premier League while Arsenal drop ever closer to the relegation zone.

The two men might be at opposite ends of the managerial spectrum in terms of games under their belt, but there can be little doubt as to who got the better of that deal after this triumph of experience over youth.

And it’s not just in the manager’s office that Everton appear to have got one over on the team who have beaten them more times than anyone in the Premier League.

Because they have also benefited from the largesse of owner Farhad Moshiri, a former boardroom rival to silent Stan Kroenke at the Emirates where he still owns an executive box.

For while Kroenke has regularly been accused of failing to back his manager with hard cash, Everton’s owner has overseen a £500million spending spree over the past five years.

And now he’s going to pour another £250million of his personal fortune into the club after the Goodison bean counters reported a record annual loss of £140million this week.

Not all of that money has been wisely invested by the four different managers Moshiri has so far hired, but no-one could ever question the value of the £2.4million which they paid for Dominic Calvert-Lewin back in 2016.

The young powerhouse has blossomed beyond all recognition under the guidance of Ancelotti and entered this match with as many Premier League goals to his name this season as the entire Arsenal team.

He thought he had added another to his collection when he got his forehead to Alex Iwobi’s 22nd minute cross.

But the final touch came off stand-in Arsenal skipper Rob Holding, who could only look on in horror as his deflection flew into his own goal.

It was the worst possible start for an Arsenal team who were having to cope without the suspended Gabriel and Granit Xhaka as well as the injured Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

This was the first time top scorer Aubameyang had missed a Premier League game since completing a three-match ban back in January.

Yet even without their superstar striker, there was still no room in the starting line-up for £54million Alex Lacazette.

It was a bold call by Arteta, whose team arrived in Merseyside on the back of a run of one win in nine League games.

That courage appeared to have been vindicated when his team drew level in the 35th minute after Ainsley Maitland-Niles had been felled in the box by a wild swing from Tom Davies.

Nicolas Pepe, just back from a three-match ban of his own, made no mistake from the spot as he took over penalty duties from the absent Aubameyang.

But just when it looked like the visitors were starting to get their act together, they conceded again on the stroke of half-time.

Calvert-Lewin’s 45th minute was heading for the top corner until Bernd Leno threw himself across goal to make a crucial flying save.

But the German keeper was nowhere to be seen from the ensuing corner as Yerry Mina got away from Pepe to head inside the near post.

It was a real hammer blow to Arsenal’s egg-shell confidence yet as long Everton had Jordan Pickford in goal there was always hope.

The England international was back in the starting line-up after being ‘rotated’ for the midweek win at Leicester.

Yet he did his long-term prospects absolutely no favours when he made a complete mess of Willian’s cross and almost gifted Arsenal a 54th minute equaliser.

Fortunately for Pickford, Abdoulaye Doucoure was able to get just enough of a block on David Luiz’s shot to divert the ball against a post.

With James Rodriguez, Allan and Andre Gomes all injured and four central defenders in their line-up, it was almost inevitable that Everton would struggle to dominate possession.

But they continued to threaten on the counter-attack and Calvert-Lewin was inches away from getting on the end of Ben Godfrey’s lung-bursting run the length of the pitch.

The 2,000 supporters inside Goodison were not going to allow their team to ease up against their increasingly desperate opponents.

Gabriel Martinelli was sent on for £72million Pepe as Arsenal sought a late equaliser, the teenager’s first game since suffering a serious knee injury in June.

And Luiz was so eager for Richarlison to get a hurry-on that he frogmarched his fellow Brazilian to the touchline when he dawdled over a stoppage time substitution. 

But nothing could prevent Arsenal from sliding to yet another defeat as their as their worst start to a season in 46 years continued.

It means they will be far more interested in the result of Brighton v Sheffield United today than they will in Spurs v Leicester.

And that says it all about a club who have a “big and beautiful future” according to technical director Edu.

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