Arsenal 2-1 Everton: Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny send Gunners top
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 25/10/15 10:38am
Arsenal capped off an excellent week with a 2-1 home victory over Everton that moves them to the top of the Premier League.
Olivier Giroud followed up his goal in Tuesday's Champions League win over Bayern Munich by heading the Gunners in front after 36 minutes of Saturday night's Emirates Stadium encounter.
Laurent Koscielny doubled the advantage shortly afterwards, but a deflected strike from Ross Barkley pulled Everton back into contention before the break.
Giroud, Romelu Lukaku and Mesut Ozil all hit the woodwork in the second half but Arsenal held out for a fourth straight win, with Gareth Barry sent off late on for the visitors.
The result continues a fantastic month for Arsenal after victories over Manchester United, Watford and Bayern and sees them move a point ahead of Manchester City, who play at rivals United on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger made three changes from the side that beat Bayern in midweek, handing starts to Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gabriel.
Gerard Deulofeu replaced Steven Naismith for the visitors on a rain-soaked night in north London.
The Toffees' last win at Arsenal was almost 20 years ago but they had the best chance of a quiet opening half hour as Petr Cech could only push out a cross and John Stones volleyed the rebound over the bar.
Arsenal had looked most threatening from corners and when they did take the lead in the 36th minute, it came from a header.
Ozil clipped a ball into the box and Giroud beat Tim Howard to flick into the net.
Before Everton could regroup, they were 2-0 down.
This time it was Santi Cazorla with the pinpoint ball in, whipping a free-kick on the left through the six-yard box where Koscielny again got ahead of Howard to nod in a second goal.
Everton were, however, handed a way back into the match a minute before the break.
Barkley broke down the left and drilled in a shot which took a wicked deflection off the trailing leg of Gabriel and flew past Cech.
The match remained open in the second half as both defences were stretched on the break.
Giroud was inches away from a second goal on 68 minutes when Ozil delivered another slide-rule pass and the France international forward fired past Howard, but was denied by the crossbar.
Lukaku also hit the bar at the other end with a header from Gareth Barry's cross.
As the clock ran down, Everton continued to press and Deulofeu found himself in space on the right side of a crowded penalty area - but Cech was out quickly to make a superb block.
In stoppage time, Ozil struck the base of the post from the edge of the area before Barry was shown a second yellow card for a trip on substitute Kieran Gibbs as Everton finished with 10 men.
Arsenal's next assignment is the Capital One Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday, live on Sky Sports on Tuesday night, when Everton host Norwich at Goodison Park.
Arsenal: Cech (7), Bellerin (7), Gabriel (7), Koscielny (6), Monreal (6), Coquelin (6), Cazorla (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Ozil (7), Sanchez (6), Giroud (7).
Subs: Gibbs (5), Flamini (5).
Everton: Howard (5), Coleman (6), Galloway (6), Jagielka (5), Stones (6), Barry (4), McCarthy (5), Lennon (5), Deulofeu (6), Barkley (7), Lukaku (4).
Subs: Kone (5), Mirallas (5), Funes Mori (5).
Man of the match: Olivier Giroud.