Match Report This was massive. Not since the doldrums of the 1990s and two scrapes with relegation has such a sense of impending doom surrounded this football club, as an air of rancour and mutiny threatened to compound a run of daunting December fixtures and leave the Blues in the bottom three of the Premier League by Christmas.During the darkest days under Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman or Marco Silva, there always felt like a way out for Everton— either through the appointment of a new manager or dipping into the transfer market — but at times this past week it has has felt as though the club is running out of options and trapped, with an unpopular manager, precious little wiggle room for player acquisitions, and in danger of going into a tailspin from which it might not recover.Depending on your view of the former Director of Football, Marcel Brands’s departure yesterday might have removed one of the voices of reason — however futile — countering Farhad Moshiri’s wildest impulses. Certainly the news only strengthened the resolve of a group of online campaigners planning the strongest protests against the hierarchy in a decade during tonight’s game; a 27th-minute walkout that seemed to gather like a pall of uncertainty as the first-half progressed.Throw in Lucas Digne’s mysterious absence from the match day squad, a possible signal of discord at Finch Farm, Yerry Mina’s aborted comeback from injury after just half an hour’s play, and two disallowed goals for razor-thin offside decisions after Arsenal had taken the lead and it really felt as though the Blues had fallen into that cycle that appears to afflict struggling teams where everything starts conspiring against you.What unfolded thereafter, once André Gomes had entered the fray with 25 minutes to go to provide the catalyst that fired the Toffees to a pulsating victory, was pure adrenaline; pure Everton. Not so much the overall performance — the hosts produced very little in the first half and had their understandable share of sloppy moments given how much the team has struggled of late and the Gunners might have scored twice themselves in the final 10 minutes — but all that is magical about Goodison Park at its most raucous; seething with a sense of injustice, the “bear pit” driving Everton forward and the team battling out a win by sheer force of the collective will of almost everyone in the building.Richarlison was absolutely magnificent, putting in one of his most important displays in a Royal Blue Jersey to date as he literally ran himself to the ground for the cause. He had the ball in the net three times on the night but only one counted — the third and most cathartic, a handsome reward for ceaseless endeavour and guts.Gomes shrugged off some rust in his early exchanges to add a crucially penetrative force in midfield playing a role in both goals. And Demarai Gray underlined his vastly underrated talent with two sublime strikes — one that came back off the bar to fall invitingly for his strike partner 10 minutes from and the other that rocketed off his boot and off the inside of Aaron Ramsdale’s post in the third minute of stoppage time with the Arsenal keeper only able to watch as the destination of the points switched from red to Blue.With Salomon Rondon ruled out with a hamstring injury, Benitez had to make the anticipated adjustments up front where Gray and Andros Townsend rotated in out of playing a support role for Richarlison but the surprise absentee in the starting XI was Digne.That meant Ben Godfrey moving over to left-back as Mina made his much-anticipated return at centre-half following a number of matches out with a hamstring problem. Unfortunately, the Colombian lasted just half an hour before he was forced off with an apparent calf strain and was replaced by Mason Holgate who went on to have a fine game in his stead.Up to that point, Arsenal, who had travelled to Merseyside in good form and had designs on moving back into the top five, had played the more impressive passing football without really threatening Jordan Pickford's goal. Instead, it was Doucouré who came closest to scoring in regulation time in the first half after Gray had intercepted a poor pass out from the back by Gabriel. The Frenchman was found in the box by Richarlison but could only drag his shot wide while the industrious Anthony Gordon had a shot blocked shortly afterwards.Gray then flashed a dangerous ball across the face of Ramsdale's goal just as the clock was about to tick to that 27th-minute mark and a healthy smattering of disillusioned Blues left their seats on cue. While the demonstration might not have been as far-reaching as the organisers probably hoped – its main target, Moshiri ducked the occasion altogether (although, as noted in the comments below, perhaps he was adhering to the new Covid quarantine rules) – there had been plenty of media discussion of it in the build-up and it largely achieved its goal in that respect. On the night, however, it sparked the Grand Old Lady into its loudest cheers thus far as those who remained behind used the moment to show support for the players.The game itself eventually came alive, though, just before the interval. Richarlison was fouled outside the box in the 44th minute and he thought he had put the Blues ahead with a typically excellent header off Townsend's free-kick. Sadly for him, the VAR adjudged him to have been fractionally behind the last man has he leaned forward to make his run to meet the ball.And two minutes later as the half ticked through a couple of minutes of stoppage time, Everton were undone at the back as Kieran Tierney got beyond Seamus Coleman to centre for the untracked Martin Ødegaard to side-foot home from close range.Everton were undaunted, however, and they had the ball in the net for a second time shortly before an hour's play had elapsed. Allan and played the ball to Doucouré who in turn picked out Richarlison to drill it past Ramsdale and wheel away in vindication but once again VAR returned an even more agonisingly hairline verdict.With Goodison burning with a sense of being hard done-by, though, and Benitez playing his trump card in Gomes off the bench, the Blues dug deep and turned the match on its head in thrilling fashion. It was “Everton., that” in all the right ways.A picture of catharsis. Richarlison finally got his rewards when his third goal of the evening finally countedThe Portuguese's 79th-minute shot rebounded off a defender to Gray just outside the box and he attempted a delicious curling shot with his instep that cannoned back off the face of the crossbar to the waiting Richarlison who looped it deftly over the stranded goalkeeper to finally get his goal.Yet Mikel Arteta's own sub, Eddie Nketiah, came within inches of killing those celebrations dead just four minutes later at the other end when he headed Bakayo Saka's cross from the right off the post from a couple of yards out. And it took two excellent defensive blocks from first Godfrey and then Coleman in the closing stages to deny Ødegaard a winner before Gray took centre stage.Gomes danced through the centre-circle before playing Gray in, who used Doucouré’s run down the outside as a decoy, took two touches outside the Gunners' penalty area before smashing the ball in off the far post to send the home crowd into delirium.There was still time as Everton kept coming forward for substitute Alex Iwobi to put one over his old club with a third but Ramsdale foiled him brilliantly with a one-handed save. It was just as well, then, that when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was served up a gilt-edged chance in the final minute of injury time back down in front of the Park End, the Gunners' top scorer scuffed his shot harmlessly across goal before referee Mike Dean finally blew the full-time whistle.If, when the history of Everton’s 2021-22 season is written, the events of the past week, which saw Merseyside derby humiliation and the departure of one of the club’s supposedly key figures, are seen as the nadir of the campaign then the importance of this stirring match in providing a turning point should not be understated.Where the players’ effort and desire has been criticised, perhaps harshly, of late, by the end there were towering displays all over the pitch. Godfrey toed the fine line between barely controlled aggression and refereeing censure and survived a VAR check for serious foul play when he caught Takehiro Tomiyasu in the face with a wayward boot. Allan largely atoned for leaving Ødegaard open to score the opener with a tireless and purposeful display. Michael Keane showed leadership, resilience and some impressive distribution further up the pitch. And Anthony Gordon grafted ceaselessly for 87 minutes doing vital defensive work up and down either flank to help disrupt Arsenal’s flow.It’s just one game and three difficult challenges await before Christmas but this should serve as the blueprint for the rest of the season and irrefutable evidence that this team is far better than it had shown since its previous win way back in September. It will hopefully have illustrated for Benitez the huge benefits of playing a midfield three, both in terms of defensive cover and attacking versatility. And it must be the platform from which the Spaniard can rebuild confidence and an identity in the squad he inherited over the summer.In the meantime, Evertonians will have another of those memorable Goodison nights to savour and some faith instilled that this season might not end in the disaster some feared during that horrible winless run. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates After two astounding marginal offside calls that denied Richarlison a brace of excellent finishes, he finally got an equalizer and Gray finished things off with a brilliant strike to win the game in added time. Manager Rafael Benitez has overseen a sequence of six defeats in seven games that culminated in humiliation in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday evening. Benitez is still not able to play Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Salomon Rondon is not involved after tweaking a hamstring in the second half against Liverpool.Lucas Digne is not available but is apparently not injured. He was reported to be in Paris over the weekend and may be Covid-restricted — or he has been dropped.Defender Yerry Mina plays for the first time since over-exerting himself in the last International break but André Gomes is on the bench, however, no place for Ellis Simms, while Lewis Dobbin plays for the U23s in Southport tonight.Arsenal kicked things off but Everton did the gegenpress to push back and try to show some much-needed desire to get the Everton fans behind them. But Arsenal increasingly controlled the pace, easily thwarting Everton's laborious buildup until Godfrey overlapped and then slipped over on the slick Goodison turf! Richarlison did well to break from deep only to gift the ball to an Arsenal man on the half-way line... groan! A great 50-50 ball was won on a long run by Godfrey to really get the crowd aroused. Townsend crossed but over everyone. Everton with possession, their build-up play was hopelessly negative, until Keane played a stupid ball straight through to Ramsdale. Everton tried and failed at the awful playing out from the back, but the 3rd time the ball came back to Pickford, he lofted it forward and Gray got himself in range but shot very poorly, well off target. The early zest had pretty much evaporated, Townsend managed to run into four Arsenal defenders. Arsenal looked to slow the pace and increase their control, until Thomas Partey tried to clear both the Gwladys Street and the Bullens Road stands. Godfrey just avoided treading on Saka's foot in challenging for the ball but the Arsenal man collapsed in a heap nevertheless, having perhaps twisted his knee as he fell, but miraculously recovered. Everton finally got inside the Arsenal area, Richarlison to Doucoure but his shot was weak and poorly dribbled wide. Godfrey did better with his overlap and won a throw-in as the 27th minute loomed. Richarlison screwed a half-shot wide, deflected for a corner and a fantastic cross from Grey but no takers. A hndfull of Everton fans started to head for the aisles but most stayed in their seats and started to sing loudly. Meanwhile Godfrey got into an awkward situation, treading on Tomiyasu's neck and face but remarkably no punishment. Mina went off after 30 minutes, Holgate replacing him. Allan headed away the first Arsenal corner, which led to another farcical session of sideways playing out and ultimate surrender of possession to Arsenal, despite some hard running from Richarlison. Everton reverted to Pickford hoofing the ball high upfield and straight out of play. Richarlison and Gordon tried to make something happen but the Brazlison's cross was to a red shirt; however, Gordon lashed at a bouncing ball, Tomiyasu throwing himself in front of the ball to block it away. Everton had to defend a couple of corners, Pickford supposedly impeded as he punched one out. Free-kick. Thankfully, Arsenal were as hopeless in attack as were Everton. Richarlison fell over and somehow won a free-kick wide right that Townsend launched in well and Richarlison headed home superbly with a fantastic touch. But VAR decide it was fractionally offside. But the zonal marking was soon to blame as a cross to Odegaard was easily finished pst Pickford just before half-time. So, a disastrous ending to the first half, after the barest glimmer of elation was snuffed out by the maddening accuracy of VAR.After the restart, a Gordon lob had to be pushed behind by Ramsdale but nothing really came from the corner. Everton needed to get on the ball but Godfrey's bad challenge drew a yellow card. Richarlison was next to be penalized, a free-kick for Arsenal 25 yards out. It was well worked but Gabriel's free header was straight to Pickford. Arsenal were now looking the better side of two rather poor ones judging by the overall quality. But it needed something different from Everton ad it just wasn't happening, while Arsenal continued to build the more threatening moves. Doucouré did drive forward to the edge of the box but then gave up the ball to the massed Arsenal defenders, but then he tries it again and this time releases Richarlison for an excellent finish inside the post by him... but this time just a toenail offside per VAR. Unbelievable. Martinelli then got behind the Everton backline but tried to lob Pickford from a very wide angle, after he had been pushed wide onto the top of the net. Doucoure released Gordon who had a great run until Xhaka rugby-tackled him, yellow card. Townsend swung in this delivery far too deep over everyone. Gomes then replaced him. Doucouré did well to force an Everton corner, Gray put it deep, headed on to Gordon… who was offside. Things then got a bit silly with Arsenal players dropping like flies when they could waste a bit of time and drive the Goodison crowd apoplectic. Everton tried to attack but Gordon's cross was straight to Ramsdale. Gray got in a little closer as Everton were finally starting to compete in the Arsenal area. Gray worked a great shot that hit the bar and who else but Rocharlios was perfectly placed — and not offside — to head in high over Ramsdale to finally score a goal that stood. Nketiah had a tremendous chance but Godfrey threw himself in brilliantly to stop the shot. Richarlins ran through with the ball but then put it the wrong side of Gordon, and Arsenal then attacked, a really end-end finish to the game.An incredible cross in from Saka to the far post that Nketiah headed onto the base of the post, bounces back off him and is then saved by Pickford. Incredibly, Benitez picked Iwobi to replace Gordon with 4 minutes plus to play. Doucoure got forward but his shot was simply pathetic, straight at Ramsdale, with 6 minutes of added time. Another desperate block, this time from Coleman, an outstanding save. Gomes won the ball, advanced well, and slipped it to Gray who had a lot of work to do, but created space brilliantly to lash a tremendous shot in off the far post, an absolutely fabulous strike! Gomes cleared another Arsenal attack, up to Richarlison, who chose to slip out to Iwobi in space who had to score... but no, he somehow saw his shot saved or blocked. Arsenal galloped back the other way, and a fantastic chance was set up for Aubamyang but he drove it wide and the final whistle went on an incredible finish and finally a win. Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton are at home for the second time in less than a week as they try to arrest their worst run of results since 1999 by beating much-improved Arsenal. Manager Rafael Benitez is under mounting pressure just 4 months after assuming the Goodison Park hot-seat having overseen a sequence of six defeats in seven games that culminated in humiliation in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday evening. If Leeds United don't lose at home to Brentford on Sunday, the Blues will start the day in 16th but, more alarmingly, an unlikely win for Norwich City at Tottenham would close the gap between Everton and the bottom three to just 2 points. As a result, the Spaniard is not the only one facing stern criticism. Chants of “Sack the Board” were aimed at the Directors Box after the 4-1 derby defeat and owner Farhad Moshiri has been dressed down by supporters and local journalists alike for electing to send his only communication via TalkSport's Jim White. Moshiri was in the United States in midweek but is expected to be in attendance at Goodison for the clash with the Gunners where an unknown number of fans will participate in a 27th-minute walk-out aimed at bringing awareness to the majority shareholder of their disaffection with the way the club is being run. On the pitch, Benitez will still not be able to welcome back Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who probably won't be available until Boxing Day at the earliest, and his deputy, Salomon Rondon, is rated doubtful after tweaking a hamstring in the second half against Liverpool. Defender Yerry Mina, another much-missed presence in central defence, has an outside chance of playing some part but is unlikely to be risked but, with the benefit of another few days' training with the first-team, André Gomes could see action this time around. Regardless of Rondon's injury, the biggest question among fans has been around whether Benitez will address the porousness of his midfield by deviating from the 4-4-2 system he has been doggedly trying to stick with so far this season. Having just two central midfielders left the Toffees wide open against the Reds in midweek and there is a danger that a mid-section of just Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan could leave them vulnerable to Arsenal's passing game. A 4-3-3 with either Gomes or Fabian Delph in the middle and Anthony Gordon, Demarai Gray and Richarlison up front would be one option but it's more likely that the manager will err on the side of his preferred formation and experience in the form of Cenk Tosun alongside Richarlison if he doesn't partner Gray with the Brazilian. However Benitez lines up his side, the work done on the training ground at Finch Farm has to have been focused on tightening up the midfield and making Everton much harder to play through than has been the case recently, with the exception of the goalless draw against Tottenham. That match against the other North London side should have been the platform from which Benitez could figure how to get his side to be more productive in attack but they were still too open at Manchester City and Brentford before being torn to shreds by Liverpool. Arsenal, who began the season slowly but, after being hammered 5-0 by Manchester City in late August, went on a nine-match unbeaten run that included seven wins before they lost heavily at Anfield a fortnight ago. They got back to winning ways against Newcastle before losing in an entertaining game at Old Trafford on Wednesday but, with Arteta's methods now starting to pay off, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back in goalscoring form, and Bukayo Saka growing into a routinely influential attacking presence, Arsenal will pose a significant threat. Arteta has Sead Kolasinac ruled out with an ankle injury and goalkeeper Bernd Leno is rated as doubtful with a hip complaint but Granit Xhaka and Emile Smith-Rowe will undergo late fitness tests to see whether they can feature. With, hopefully, a bear-pit like atmosphere under the lights and a determination on the part of the players to start putting things right, Everton can replicate what happened in this fixture almost five years ago under Ronald Koeman. That night, the Toffees ended a run of just one win in 11 games, the same record as the one they will take into Monday night, with a stirring 2-1 win. With the team badly needing points to put some distance between them and the relegation zone, a win like that would serve as a massive shot in the arm. Kick-off: 8pm, Monday 6 December 2021 on Sky SportsReferee: MIke DeanVAR: Stuart AtwellLast Time: Everton 2 - 1 Arsenal Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Townsend, Gray, Richarlison, Tosun Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.