Kocielny put Arsenal ahead when he was unmarked at the back post
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at the Emirates
Arsenal recovered from Louis Saha's hotly disputed goal to come from behind and beat Everton at the Emirates.
Everton took a first-half lead when Saha scored from what looked like an offside position - but the officials ruled that the intervention of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny made the goal legitimate.
Arsenal struggled long and hard to make the breakthrough in the face of discipline and organisation from David Moyes's side, but ensured they maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United with two swift strikes in the final 20 minutes.
Substitute Andrey Arshavin drew them level when Jack Rodwell unwittingly headed Cesc Fabregas' pass into his path before Koscielny took advantage of poor Everton marking at Robin van Persie's corner to head the winner five minutes later.
It was a crucial victory for Arsenal, who faced a potentially damaging defeat as Everton protected the lead given to them in contentious circumstances for so long.
Arsene Wenger's side showed little of the style and fluidity that is their hallmark but this was about digging deep and getting the job done, qualities they demonstrated and that will serve them well as the season reaches its climax.
For Everton and Moyes there was only frustration in defeat, despite holding Arsenal comfortably for long spells, inspired by outstanding displays from midfield man Marouane Fellaini and goalscorer Saha.
Arsenal remain five points behind United and emerge unscathed from what they believed was a real injustice after Saha's strike threatened to give Everton only their fifth win in 32 meetings with the Gunners under Wenger.
Everton enjoyed more of the possession in the opening exchanges, in which Jack Wilshere was booked for a foul on Mikel Arteta, who was also the victim of a nasty challenge from his fellow Spaniard Fabregas.
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As Arsenal established a measure of composure Fabregas was narrowly off target and Theo Walcott could only hit the legs of Everton keeper Tim Howard with a shot from an angle.
Everton took that disputed lead in a moment that caused anger to sweep around the Emirates.
The French striker was undoubtedly in an offside position when Seamus Coleman's pass was played, but the intervention of Koscielny persuaded referee's assistant Stephen Child that Saha had been played onside before he drilled a fine low finish past Wojciech Szczesny.
Referee Lee Mason, under pressure from Arsenal's players and against the sound and fury of the Emirates, consulted his assistant at length before allowing the goal to stand.
Arsenal responded and Johan Djourou flicked on Van Persie's corner but Koscielny was inches away from applying the crucial final touch.
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Wilshere then opened up Everton's defence, but Van Persie lifted his finish over the onrushing Howard and also over the bar.
The half-time whistle was met with a predictable chorus of jeering, setting the scene for a tense second period as Arsenal set about rescuing the situation.
It took changes from Wenger and a rare defensive lapse from Everton before Arsenal finally turned the game around with two goals in the space of five minutes.
With 20 minutes remaining, Everton's Rodwell could only stretch to direct Fabregas's pass into the path of Arshavin, who beat Howard comfortably.
It was the breakthrough Arsenal craved and they grasped the opportunity fully.
Howard saved in routine fashion from substitute Nicklas Bendtner's overhead kick, then quite brilliantly from Van Persie's rising 25-yard free-kick.
Everton could not hold on and Arsenal took the lead when Koscielny rose to meet Van Persie's corner, sparking wild celebrations with his team-mates.
Even then Everton were not finished and Rodwell was only a whisker away from an equaliser with a header from Arteta's corner.
It was the last anxious moment for Arsenal and referee Mason's final whistle was met with a mixture of elation and relief.
90:00+5:03 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+2:42 Marouane Fellaini gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Johan Djourou. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the
86:17 Louis Saha is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.
84:33 Leon Osman takes a shot. Comfortable save by Wojciech Szczesny.
83:55 Vassiriki Diaby challenges Victor Anichebe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Johnny Heitinga takes the direct free kick.
82:22 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta, Foul by Jack Rodwell on Nicklas Bendtner, free kick awarded. Wojciech
Szczesny takes the direct free kick.
78:24 Inswinging corner taken by Leighton Baines from the right by-line, clearance by Johan Djourou.
77:46 Substitution Phil Jagielka replaces Phil Neville.
77:46 Substitution (Everton) makes a substitution, with Victor Anichebe coming on for Seamus Coleman.
74:59 Corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, assist by Robin van Persie.
74:59 GOAL - Laurent Koscielny:Arsenal 2 - 1 Everton Laurent Koscielny finds the net with a headed goal from close range. Arsenal 2-1 Everton.
73:43 Foul by Leon Osman on Theo Walcott, free kick awarded. Strike on goal comes in from Robin van Persie from the free kick, save
by Tim Howard.
73:43 Booking Leon Osman is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
72:31 Nicklas Bendtner takes a shot. Save made by Tim Howard.
71:46 Booking Booking for Tim Howard.
71:09 Outswinging corner taken by Leighton Baines from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Robin van Persie.
Correction - 70:46 Booking Tim Howard is shown a yellow card.
69:49 Francesc Fabregas provided the assist for the goal.
69:49 GOAL - Andrey Arshavin:Arsenal 1 - 1 Everton Andrey Arshavin finds the net with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-1 Everton.
68:00 Substitution Nicklas Bendtner comes on in place of Jack Wilshere.
67:46 Shot from outside the area by Vassiriki Diaby misses to the left of the target.
66:48 Seamus Coleman fouled by Robin van Persie, the ref awards a free kick. Johnny Heitinga restarts play with the free kick.
64:12 Substitution Leon Osman replaces Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
62:46 Effort from deep inside the area by Robin van Persie misses to the left of the target.
62:31 Foul by Louis Saha on Johan Djourou, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
61:48 Substitution Andrey Arshavin is brought on as a substitute for Tomas Rosicky.
59:39 Robin van Persie gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta. Tim Howard restarts play with the free kick.
59:39 Booking Booking for Robin van Persie for unsporting behaviour.
Correction - 58:40 Foul by Mikel Arteta on Francesc Fabregas, free kick awarded. Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.
58:40 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Mikel Arteta. Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.
58:40 Booking The referee shows Mikel Arteta a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
55:40 Free kick awarded for a foul by Laurent Koscielny on Louis Saha. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.
54:32 Effort on goal by Robin van Persie from 18 yards. Comfortable save by Tim Howard.
52:28 Gael Clichy has an effort at goal. Blocked by Sylvain Distin. Corner taken by Tomas Rosicky from the left by-line, Vassiriki
Diaby produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
51:25 Leighton Baines takes the outswinging corner, Francesc Fabregas makes a clearance.
49:40 Johnny Heitinga concedes a free kick for a foul on Robin van Persie. Strike comes in from Robin van Persie from the free kick.
48:27 Seamus Coleman fouled by Gael Clichy, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.
47:57 Effort from outside the penalty area by Tomas Rosicky goes wide left of the goal.
45:25 Foul by Jack Rodwell on Theo Walcott, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
45:25 Booking Jack Rodwell is shown a yellow card.
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:01 Substitution Vassiriki Diaby comes on in place of Alex Song.
45:00+1:54 The ref blows to signal half-time.
44:28 Tomas Rosicky challenges Marouane Fellaini unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Tim Howard.
44:28 Booking Tomas Rosicky is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
43:28 The offside flag is raised against Theo Walcott. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
41:08 Corner taken left-footed by Leighton Baines to the near post, Robin van Persie manages to make a clearance.
39:24 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Jack Rodwell, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Gael Clichy.
38:27 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov takes a shot. Blocked by Wojciech Szczesny. Mikel Arteta takes a shot. Laurent Koscielny gets a block
37:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Bacary Sagna on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Sylvain Distin takes the direct free kick.
36:52 Foul by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov on Bacary Sagna, free kick awarded. Bacary Sagna takes the direct free kick.
36:14 Robin van Persie produces a right-footed shot from close range that goes over the bar.
34:38 Effort from deep inside the area by Francesc Fabregas misses to the left of the target.
33:30 Marouane Fellaini is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Gael Clichy takes the indirect free kick.
32:41 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Louis Saha by Theo Walcott. Free kick crossed left-footed by Leighton Baines
from left wing.
31:25 Corner from the right by-line taken by Robin van Persie, Close range headed effort by Johan Djourou goes wide of the left-hand
29:55 Johnny Heitinga concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
27:02 Corner from the left by-line taken by Seamus Coleman, clearance made by Alex Song.
Correction - 23:52 Seamus Coleman provided the assist for the goal.
23:52 Assist on the goal came from Seamus Coleman.
23:52 GOAL - Louis Saha:Arsenal 0 - 1 Everton Louis Saha fires in a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 0-1 Everton.
22:33 Theo Walcott fouled by Johnny Heitinga, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jack Wilshere.
21:28 Short corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line. Bacary Sagna produces a drilled right-footed shot from 25 yards.
Blocked by Johnny Heitinga.
21:11 Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.
16:50 Unfair challenge on Leighton Baines by Robin van Persie results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.
15:47 Effort from inside the area by Francesc Fabregas misses to the left of the target.
14:35 Corner taken right-footed by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, Close range headed effort by Laurent Koscielny goes
wide of the left-hand upright.
13:33 Sylvain Distin challenges Bacary Sagna unfairly and gives away a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Robin van Persie
from the free kick, Phil Neville gets a block in.
13:33 Booking Sylvain Distin goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
12:03 The referee penalises Marouane Fellaini for handball. Wojciech Szczesny takes the direct free kick.
11:38 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Leighton Baines, clearance made by Johan Djourou.
10:15 Foul by Jack Rodwell on Alex Song, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.
9:45 Foul by Alex Song on Jack Rodwell, free kick awarded. Sylvain Distin takes the direct free kick.
5:42 Jack Rodwell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free
Correction - 4:17 Unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Jack Wilshere results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.
4:17 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack Wilshere on Mikel Arteta. Free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.
4:17 Booking Jack Wilshere goes into the book.
3:09 Louis Saha is adjudged to have handled the ball. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.
2:46 Johan Djourou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Rodwell. Sylvain Distin restarts play with the free kick.
0:00 The game begins.
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