Arsenal lost in the Premier League for just the second time this season as Everton pulled off a surprising 1-0 win over the leaders on Saturday in its first match under new manager Sean Dyche.
A couple of Dyche’s former players at Burnley did the business for him at a lively Goodison Park.
James Tarkowski headed in an inswinging corner to the far post from Dwight McNeil for the winning goal in the 60th minute, capping a performance of intensity and desire from a team that started the match in next-to-last place.
While Everton climbed out of the relegation zone at least temporarily, Arsenal tasted defeat in the league for the first time since losing at Manchester United on Sept. 4.
Second-place Manchester City can trim the gap to Arsenal to two points with a win at Tottenham on Sunday, though Arsenal would still have a game in hand.
It will go down as one of Arsenal’s worst performances of the season, at a time when Mikel Arteta’s team was looking in prime shape to go on and win the league for the first time since 2004.
Everton showed improved shape and organization under Dyche, characteristics he demanded of his well-drilled Burnley teams over the years and ones he sees as integral if his new club is to preserve its 69-year top-flight status.
Everton had the better of the first-half chances, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin unable to get enough on the ball from two yards out after Amadou Onana surged down the left and sent in a cross before Abdoulaye Doucoure headed wide from McNeil’s cross.
Bukayo Saka had a weak shot cleared off line and Arsenal teammate Eddie Nketiah blazed high and wide, but the visitors were often hounded out of possession in midfield and struggled to keep their composure.
Indeed, frustrations boiled over in stoppage time as Arsenal left back Oleksandr Zinchenko clashed with Everton substitute Neal Maupay off the ball.
Jorginho, signed on Tuesday from Chelsea, came on as a second-half substitute for his Arsenal debut but didn’t make a significant impression.
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