Everton getting closer to Champions League spot after Leno’s blunder

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s blunder allowing a shot from Everton forward Richarlison to squeeze between his legs and into goal was the decider in a 1-0 win for the visitors in the English Premier League on Friday.

The only other fireworks in this otherwise dull match came outside the stadium as hundreds of Arsenal fans protested in front of Emirates Stadium before and after kickoff. They set off pyrotechnics and flares to demonstrate against Stan Kroenke’s ownership amid anger over the club joining the Super League.

Arsenal started the match brightly and seemed to be in control in the early stages. But Everton started to cause problems for Arsenal, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson all going close in the first half.

Everton came close to taking the lead when Sigurdsson’s 20-yard free-kick curled over the wall and hit the crossbar in the 39th minute. The midfielder also nearly scored in the 47th, but Arsenal center back Rob Holding made a crucial block to put the ball out for a corner.

Arsenal thought it had a penalty in the 52nd when referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the spot after Richarlison clipped Dani Ceballos on his shin. VAR confirmed the foul, but Nicolas Pepe was found to be just offside in the buildup.

Arsenal came close in the 64th when Bukayo Saka’s free-kick found right-back Calum Chambers, but his shot bounced into the turf before going wide. Ceballos tested Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford two minutes later, but the midfielder’s strong shot was parried away.

Richarlison finally broke the deadlock in the 76th after being set free down the left. He cut inside and his shot seemed to be covered by Leno, but the shot trickled between his legs and over the line. Richarlison ran to the corner flag and did a celebratory dance.

Everton remained in eighth place, but the team was only one point behind rival Liverpool.

Arsenal stayed in ninth place.

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